There’s an interesting mix of famous female people in the cemeteries of New Orleans.
The cemeteries in New Orleans are known for being visually stunning. So much so that there are several tours of the many grounds on offer in the city. With specific tours honoring specific themes or topics, it’s a great way of learning about NOLA’s extensive history and influence.
New Orleans is known for embracing its dark side, so this is one of the many creepy things to do that you can experience in the city.
Here’s a guide exploring the ‘herstory’ in the cemeteries of New Orleans:
St Louis Cemetery
St. Louis Cemetery attracts more than 100,000 visitors each year. Split into three grounds across the city, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the only section where a guided tour is needed for access. This is due to the vandalism that’s been collected over the years. Tickets are only $20 at Basin St. Station.
Many people come to New Orleans for the pilgrimage to Marie Laveau’s tomb in St. Louis Cemetery No 1. People visit to leave offerings for the undisputed Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. It was her tomb that initiated the guided access, as three X’s marks the spot of this voodoo legend’s tomb.
As well as being a dedicated practitioner of Voodoo, she was also a healer and herbalist. Laveau died on June 15, 1881, aged 79. She died peacefully at home and now rests in power, as NOLA’s most visited tomb.
“Sweet” Emma Barrett
St. Louis Cemetery No. 3 is one of the largest of New Orleans’ “cities of the dead,” nearly half a mile long from its entrance on Esplanade Avenue. It opened in 1854 and is still active today. Several fixtures of the city’s music community have been laid to rest here. This includes Emma Barrett, who was an incredible pianist. She learnt entirely by ear and had professional experience playing and singing with the Original Tuxedo Orchestra between 1923 and 1936.
Known as the most evil woman in New Orleans, Madame LaLaurie starved, tortured, chained, and even killed her slaves. She fled to France after the discovery of her torture chamber in the attic, but in the late 1930s, a copper plate was found indicating the terrifying NOLA villain may be buried in Alley 4 of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Although records indicate she died in France on December 7th, 1849, according to some, she is actually buried in this haunted cemetery in New Orleans.
This part of the New Orleans metropolitan area is also home to many lost female souls from NOLA. We’ll be checking out Metairie Cemetery and the Providence Memorial Park and Mausoleum.
Mahalia Jackson was an American gospel singer, widely considered one of the most influential vocalists of the 20th century. Born and raised in New Orleans, she now rests in Providence Memorial Park and Mausoleum following her death in 1972. Her music had such an influence on the culture and sound of New Orleans, that there’s a theater materializing her lasting legacy in Louis Armstrong Park.
Eve Denise Curie was a French and American writer, journalist and pianist. Ève was the younger daughter of Marie Curie, the famous scientist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity.
This American actress may have been born in Ohio, but she’s buried in New Orleans. The silent movie star settled in the city after her illustrious career. She’s most famous for her role as Snow White in the 1916 adaptation. She moved into a New Orleans mansion with her husband, and the grounds are now the Milton H. Latter Library.
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