Nola Ghost Riders is the only cemetery tour offered under the cover of night. We will visit multiple cemeteries. We will discuss our unique burial rituals and practices during our strolls as we offer visitors an up close and personal look at some of the most popular cemeteries!
On our Cities of the Dead cemetery tour, you will step inside the mystique-laden history of New Orleans in a fascinating, entertaining way. Enter one of New Orleans’ oldest and most diverse cemeteries where you will see everything from the above-ground monument tombs to early wall vaults.
Frequently Asked Questions about NOLA Cemeteries
Some of our New Orleans cemetery tours focus on one graveyard, while others include a few over a two- to three-hour experience. Select a specific tour for more information.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is only accessible on a licensed, guided tour. Because of the graveyard’s notoriety, it has been subject to vandalism over the years and is no longer open to the public unless they visit on a tour. Other New Orleans cemeteries are open to visit without a tour guide.
Many of New Orleans’ graveyards are considered haunted. Ghosts and spirit sightings have been recorded for hundreds of years, especially in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and St. Roch Cemetery. However, it’s important to remember that the city’s cemeteries should be treated with respect and cannot be visited at night.
Tour New Orleans’ Historic Graveyards
There is no shortage of fascinating stories and striking sights to uncover in the city’s cemeteries. Explore some of the best cemetery tours in New Orleans and see for yourself why these sites are so well-known around the country.
Home to over 40 cemeteries – and attractions like Voodoo shops and the Museum of Death – it’s safe to say that New Orleans has a bit of a fascination with death. Of course, that might just have something to do with the city’s 300-year history of natural disasters, gruesome murders, bloody battles over territory, and legends of ghosts and vampires.
But beyond the unseen curiosities around the city, New Orleans’ many cemeteries have been an intriguing destinations for tourists and locals alike, especially the above-ground tombs of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Many of NOLA’s cemeteries date back to the 1700s, identified by elaborate tombs, large mausoleums and ornate crypts and sculptures. Cemeteries like St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 are characterized by their crosses, decorative ironwork, white tombs, and hauntingly beautiful surroundings.
Cities of the Dead
The rows upon rows of above-ground tombs were once called “cities of the dead” by Mark Twain, and the name has stuck ever since. But why are the tombs above ground in the first place? The reason for these cities of the dead can be traced back to the 1700s, when early settlers struggled to bury their dead due to environmental conditions.
The New Orleans water table is very high (the city was built below sea level), making it impossible to keep coffins weighed down in shallow graves – dig any deeper and you’re guaranteed to hit water. Early NOLA residents often had to contend with floating caskets and exposed remains of loved ones. Based on the Spanish custom of using burial vaults, the city’s residents arrived at the solution of using above-ground graves. But as the city grew and space became harder to come by, graves were stacked on top of one another and families shared crypts.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
Wondering who is buried in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1? It should come as no surprise that the city’s oldest cemetery is home to its most noteworthy residents like Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau and chess champion Paul Morphy. Even Nicolas Cage – who is not yet deceased, we might add – has already secured his final resting place in the cemetery: a tomb shaped like a white pyramid that stands out from the other tombs in the graveyard. You can’t miss it!
Best Cemeteries to Visit in New Orleans
Other famous New Orleans graveyards are St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 and St. Louis Cemetery No. 3. They both opened in the 1800s after outbreaks of yellow fever and cholera caused a demand for burial space. You’ll see Greek Revival-style tombs, impressive ironwork and carved stone angels. Lafayette Cemetery 1 is well known for being the burial site of immigrants from over 25 different countries. These are some of the best cemeteries to visit in New Orleans.
Guided Cemetery Tours in New Orleans
On a New Orleans cemetery tour, you’ll learn all about NOLA’s respect for the dead, as well as the detailed history of these impressive graveyards. Tour guides will point out famous tombs and even share stories of hauntings and other paranormal experiences in the graveyards. You don’t want to miss the chance to visit these ethereal cities of the dead for yourself…they just might give you a new respect for life and how we lay to rest our deceased loved ones. Book a New Orleans cemetery tour online today.