Islands of memories
Cities of stone,
Sentinels of silence
In the great all-alone.
The St. Louis Cemetery Number One is the oldest cemetery in New Orleans,
yet many are still buried there every year. It's the resting place of many famous figures
of Louisiana history, including Homer Plessy (the plaintiff from the landmark "Plessy v. Ferguson" Supreme Court decision on civil rights), renowned voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, and the evil Madame LaLaurie.
The crypts in this cemetery are above ground. Each one holds more than once person; they are designed as family crypts. You may be wondering how exactly that is possible? Well, these crypts actually function like ghastly pizza ovens. When a person dies, their body is placed on a ledge inside the crypt. They are then left inside for at least one year and one day (so says the law), where their body cooks in the hot New Orleans sun until it decomposes. When it is time to bury the next member of the family, the previous occupant of the crypt has broken down into a skeleton. The skeleton is pushed off the ledge, falling into the back of the crypt, dropping into a big pile of family bones.
How's that for spooky?
And if you're keeping count, here's a second piece of Nic Cage NOLA trivia: see that huge, hideous pyramid style tomb in the photos? Well, that's Nicolas Cage's tomb. And, yes, he's still alive and well. The pyramid sits solemnly in the center of this historical space, awaiting his demise.