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Lafayette Cemetery- A New Orleans' Garden District Destination

Updated on June 6, 2013
A NOLA favorite
A NOLA favorite
This cemetery is easily seen on foot.
This cemetery is easily seen on foot.

Hours and Info

Location: 1400 Washington Ave

Hours: M-F 8:00am - 2:30pm

Saturday: 8:00am - noon

Sunday & Holidays: closed

Established: 1833


*All photos were taken by and are the property of the author*

The gates of Lafayette No. 1, with a hanging plaque dedicating the cemetery to Theodore Von LaHache, the founder of the New Orleans Philharmonic Society
The gates of Lafayette No. 1, with a hanging plaque dedicating the cemetery to Theodore Von LaHache, the founder of the New Orleans Philharmonic Society
Lafayette No. 1's oak shaded lane in morning fog
Lafayette No. 1's oak shaded lane in morning fog

From humble beginnings...

The cemetery, and indeed the entire Garden District, were originally part of the Livaudais Plantation. Like several other plantations in the area, it had been sold to developers and cut into small parcels to accommodate the rapid growth of New Orleans.

The Garden District and Uptown areas were settled by incoming Americans who did not get along with their Creole neighbors in the French Quarter but still required access to the Mississippi River for trade. The most affluent settled around the previous plantation and decided they wanted their own township, founding both the city of Lafayette and its cemetery in 1833.

It was a short lived experiment, however-- New Orleans growth absorbed the new city only 19 years later.

While most cemeteries in New Orleans use their exterior walls for oven vaults, in Lafayette No. 1 they were added after the fact, in 1858 and only in a few sections.
While most cemeteries in New Orleans use their exterior walls for oven vaults, in Lafayette No. 1 they were added after the fact, in 1858 and only in a few sections.

A few luminaries of Lafayette No. 1

Several prominent Confederates are buried here, Captain Charles W. McLellan being the best known. Strangely, he was a native of Maine who fought for the South, yet wanted to be buried in his native Maine soil. Legend says that's why the grave is raised as it is.

The broken column reads:

IN MEMORY OF
CAPT. CHAS. W. McLELLAN
CO. F 15TH REGMT. LA. VOL. INFTY.
SON OF
W.H. & LEONORA McLELLAN
BORN MAY 8, 1842
KILLED IN DEFENCE OF RICHMOND, VA.
JUNE 1ST, 1864
AGED 22 YEARS & 22 DAYS

HE FELL WITHOUT FEAR
AS MANY LOVED ONES FELL
IN DEFENCE OF OUR RIGHTS

Jefferson Fire Company Number 22

One of the few society tombs in Lafayette No.1, this tomb was opened in 1852 for the local fire company and features an amazing pumper car in relief.

Society tombs served a unique function in New Orleans. For many organizations in the city, part of what your dues covered was maintenance and availability of a group tomb. If you didn't have a family tomb to be buried in (or maybe if you just didn't like your family!) you could be buried in the "society's" tomb, be it a club, a fraternal organization, a church or other affiliation.

Society for the Relief of Destitute Orphan Boys

Another society tomb, and boy, didn't they just call 'em as they saw 'em?
Another society tomb, and boy, didn't they just call 'em as they saw 'em?

Anne Rice & Lafayette No. 1

It's quite possible that Anne Rice is the cemetery's most famous patron these days- she doesn't have a family tomb there, but the cemetery came up again and again in her books. Best known for her vampire series, main character Lestat hides property here in the cemetery, and one of the tombs was used in the movie "Interview With the Vampire" as where Lestat recovers after being gravely (ha!) injured.

Less widely known, but beloved by fans, her Mayfair Witches series was based on her own Garden District house, just down the street. Not surprisingly, she put their family tomb inside this cemetery.

Her connection to the graveyard is even more personal than that, however- in 1995 she held her own funeral here! For the release of one of her books, she dressed herself in a century old lace wedding gown and lay down inside a casket, which was closed, placed in a horse-drawn hearse and brought from the cemetery to the Garden District Bookstore, where she had a book signing and was greeted by thousands of fans as she rose from her coffin like one of her vampires.

Lestat's Tomb

This gothic revival style tomb is one of the few cast iron tombs in the city. Owned by the Kastendiek family, it was loaned out for the shooting of the movie.
This gothic revival style tomb is one of the few cast iron tombs in the city. Owned by the Kastendiek family, it was loaned out for the shooting of the movie.

Where is Lafayette No. 1?

A marker1400 Washington Ave, New Orleans LA -
1400 Washington Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
get directions

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    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Duh~sorry about that. Anyhoo, love the mysterious feel of the photo's.

    • PaigePixel profile image
      Author

      Paige 4 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Aw, thanks! All the photos in that Hub are from the cemetery, actually. :)

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Interesting information on the garden district. You have some really wonderful photo's. I especially like the one in the cemetery.