New Orleans cemeteries.
People come from all over to see them. They are part of our heritage. They are a part of the landscape. They are a tourist attraction.
So, when a friend of mine who was visiting asked if we could see a cemetery if I didn’t think “that was too weird,” I sort of chuckled and took him to Lafayette Cemetery No. 2. Since we were already in Central City to see and photograph a second line, it took about three minutes to get there.
He didn’t know that I enjoy photographing cemeteries until we got there. But, I think he got that idea when I started making pictures as we walked through both sides of Lafayette No. 2. Aside from trying to be a good host, I couldn’t help myself. The light was just great. Silvery, with sunlight peaking in and out of some pretty dramatic storm clouds.
Turn me loose with light like that and you know what is going to happen.
One picture lead to another, which lead to another. Finally, I made enough pictures to make a little portfolio to show you. The real trick is to make enough different views and scenes so that the overall presentation doesn’t get boring. Sometimes more isn’t more. Most of the internet is packed with more. Way too much more.
Let me tell you a little bit about the cemetery. It is located in Central City, north of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. It is believed that the area first saw informal burials around 1850. The City of Lafayette buried about 120 bodies on the land prior to being annexed by the City of New Orleans in 1858. Got that? Good.
The cemetery as we see it today was surveyed, planned and constructed in 1865. The neighborhood around it has gone through good times and bad. The condition of the cemetery reflected that. For years, it was considered to be very unsafe. Today, the neighborhood is slowly coming back. The cemetery, which was flooded following Hurricane Katrina, is also coming back. The city repaired the outer fences and cleaned up a lot of the walkways within the grounds. It doesn’t look new. But, it looks better.