On Saturday, I took the Save Our Cemeteries tour of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.
I may be the only one, but I liked it a lot more than St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in the Quarter.
Facts that I learned: the way family tombs work. They put one person in a wooden coffin into the tomb for a year and a day. Then, they are taken out of the coffin and their remains are pushed to the back of the tomb to make room for the next person’s coffin who dies. Also, the flatter tombs are those of Protestants or Jewish people. Jewish people especially have to be buried in the ground, but since the water table is so high they raised the ground in order to bury them. Another interesting fact: when Double Jeopardy was filmed, they built a fake tomb right in the middle of this cemetery – I always wondered how they were allowed to break into someone’s tomb!
I also would have loved the tour guide – who actually had a family tomb in the cemetery – except that she did not know how to reign people in and shut them up when they were acting inappropriate. Not that adult people should need to be told how to act appropriately.
Long story short: it was a tour, not a forum on how to fix all New Orleans cemeteries and yes, it is rude to liken the burial practices in New Orleans to recycling old tennis shoes right after the guide said her relatives were buried there.