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There is no architecture in New Orleans, except in the cemeteries… white roofs and gables stretching into the distance on every hand, the phrase "city of the dead" has all at once a meaning ...

Mark Twain, 1875



St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
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A Rich and Fascinating History

The history of New Orleans under French, Spanish, and finally as part of the Louisiana Purchase, United States rule, is rich and fascinating. The environment and the city's constant battle with water, the mix of cultures and the almost yearly yellow fever or plague epidemics, have all impacted to define these cemeteries. Historical maps and archival documentation of these many factors have played an important role in our efforts to map the cultural geographic context of the cemetery and the surrounding neighborhood.

Owned and managed by the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, built in 1789, is the oldest surviving urban cemetery in New Orleans, Louisiana, and is of national, as well as local, significance. Among the many reasons for its importance are the cemetery's unique and early design, its reflection of New Orleans social diversity, and the high quality and integrity of its architecture and landscape. Follow the links on this page or click on the four colored buttons above to explore different levels of information on the history of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.


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Historic Preservation Program, Graduate School of Fine Arts
University of Pennsylvania, Copyright 2002/2003