Rainy Day in the New Orleans Cemeteries


Finally!  A day out of the house and on the road for my husband and me.  Well, more like an afternoon by the time we got rolling.  Of course, this IS Louisiana, the land where the weatherman is certain to be certain, but most often certainly at least a bit “off” in his predictions. It is just how it is here.  The rain comes when it wants, usually after one has thoroughly watered the lawn and/or garden or washed one’s vehicle/s.  It never seems to arrive, though, when it is blistering hot out and I need a good excuse not to have to mow, or weed. Ah…well, the good news is that unless we are in the throes of hurricane season, the rains may come and go just as quickly.

We packed the essentials-snacks, drinks, gassed up the vehicle and headed to the Big Easy from Baton Rouge, me with a firm grip on my camera, ready to shoot whatever presented itself.

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This was my first opportunity.  A thunderstorm.  We looked at one another dubiously then decided it was bright in the distance, meaning this would pass over us, leaving us to swelter in the humid remains. We were still hopeful. We love road trips.

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See…there was hope.

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It didn’t seem to affect anyone else in their decision to proceed. Of course we were on the Pontchartrain Causeway, so…and look! There’s the sun, and it looks like it is shining right down on New Orleans. Yay! I tightened my grip on the camera and let out a sigh of relief.

We arrived to sunshine and I was SO ready. We had been through here so many times and never had I been able to stop in to take photographs and wander through any of the many cemeteries in New Orleans. This day we would only visit two. And it took over thirty minutes to get into the first one, although we could have pitched stones out the window at the crypts if we wanted to. One thing to understand about New Orleans and most of Louisiana, is that these towns and cities were designed not for logic or for future growth.  Buildings and communities were put up and roads laid out going to and from. Often ancient trees are left standing and roads were only built as far as they needed to go-at that time. So you will have a road that appears to go from one end of the city to the other, but when you try to navigate, you might find yourself face to face with a dead-end road or a huge shopping center in your way.  You either need a great updated GPS;  or, God forbid, stop and ask directions. OK, guys, I understand it is in the top five all-time no-no’s of the manly man’s handbook to stop and ask for directions, but really, I think it takes a true sense of obstinate willpower to want to drive around aimlessly for thirty minutes, just “knowing” there has to be a way in and you are going to find it. WITHOUT anyone’s help, dammit. :S

Lo and behold we finally made it inside those grand gates and our journey began. The rain drizzled here and there; but I managed to get some nice shots and I will share them with you now.

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This little canal runs the length of the Lakelawn Cemetery somewhere in the middle.

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Shot across the canal.

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As you stand and look at the rows and rows of crypts, knowing that entire families are laid to rest there, then think of the thousands of cemeteries around the state, the millions around the world, it brings a whole new dimension to the idea of overpopulation. My quirky mind quickly thought, “If there is no such thing as reincarnation, my how crowded eternity must be with all these souls there now!”

Did I mention I am a very broad thinker? I love to ponder possibilities.

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If you have never visited a cemetery with crypts or above ground vaults, it is a unique experience. Due to the very wet earth here and the hazards of sinking, flooding and general havoc wreaking weather, this method has long been used in many areas of the state. It makes for great photos, eerie ambiance and terrific stories and haunted tours for the city. I simply love the architecture, seeing the expressions of the individuals who lived-and died-doing what meant the most to them. Their imprint on those in their lives is evident in the way they are memorialized. The above couple appears to have been immigrant and he a sculptor, while she worked with flowers. It was a beautiful memorial to their contributions and I felt, to their devotion.

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The crows were with us all the way, cawing and flitting here and there. It was a real Edgar Allen Poe effect. Glad it was daylight and not too stormy.

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Some statues just call to me.

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This vault appeared to have a pair of guardian angels keeping watch.

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This was one of the most unique areas of the cemetery.  Very international in the style of the crypts.

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I’m sorry…a frigging pyramid.  It was awesome.

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Did I mention my man is crazy? ha.

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I loved this as the angels appear to be looking to the crow.

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Mourning at the door.

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Many of the crypts have stained glass windows on the rear walls which catch the sunlight, making beautiful colors within. Sadly, some had been broken by vandals or weather.

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Yeah, he looked at me.  I.I.I’m not superstitious though. :O

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This was a beautiful crypt with a rising spire.

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Another stained glass window.

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Bet you thought I was kidding about the crows huh?

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So many…

We had driven down every turn and decided we were hungry, so we took off in search of a local favorite food palace. Parkway Bakery and Tavern.  Turn on iPhone GPS, drive, look, drive, bad GPS, drive by the place, don’t see it, drive some more. FINALLY find a good “trail” and we make it to the tavern. Now I’m needing beer too.

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Welcome to Parkway Tavern.  Home of the Gravy Poboy, the gravy covered french fries and much, much more. Although we gave up that gooey heart stopping fare quite awhile ago, we needed a treat.  So, we stepped through the enticing, intimate bar setting into the noisy kitchen area where there was some seating, but most of the large tables were in a covered outdoor area, much like a grand picnic. It seemed friendly and fun so we were in. We grabbed some menus and got in the order line.

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And don’t worry, that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  Hubby opted for a roast beef poboy while I chose a fried shrimp variety, a treat I have very seldom indulge in,  but was more than ready for. Along with it we chose our respective favorite brews. I would have my favorite cocktail later as well.

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Sorry, I was so hungry I didn’t think about photos (uh, I KNOW) until I had already taken the dive into my poboy. It was so very delish.  This place was all it had been touted to be and more for us.  I often wonder what role hunger plays in our objective assessment of a dining experience. But seriously, do check it out if you get to New Orleans. It is in Metairie and located at the corner of Toulouse and Hagen. Please-just ask……Image

These next shots were random as we drove through parts of the city, near City Park.

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Yes, those guys were in red dresses. This is New Orleans, folks. Anything is possible.

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The live oak trees in Louisiana are magnificent and are everywhere. This is what I miss most when we live somewhere else. These trees are so enveloping and comforting, especially if you grow up among them.

And we decided to cruise through the Greenwood Cemetery on our way out.

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This one was very Gothic looking, more foreboding with less greenery. It was a stark contrast to Lakelawn.

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This may have been my favorite shot of the day.

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This one appeared to be very old so I had to get a close up.

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You can barely make out the detail but can see the date of 1894.

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And so we had to leave.  Thank goodness there are other cemeteries to explore. On other days. Maybe with no rain. Maybe in the evening. Or maybe not. 🙂

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We had to stop by my hubby’s favorite grocery in New Orleans, Robert. (pronounced the french way) If you are visiting and want goodies for the hotel or for your day trip, this is the place. They have an amazing variety of fresh and organic products as well as specialty foods, a deli and bakery that create amazing treats.  It was my first time to visit. He used to bring home goodies when he worked in New Orleans for the day. I loved those days. They also have a great wine and liquor selection.  So, until my next little adventure, keep looking up for miracles and down for lost money. My son once found a twenty that way. 😉

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I’ll keep my “eye” out for something amazing.

Pura Vida!

10 thoughts on “Rainy Day in the New Orleans Cemeteries

  1. What a thrilling day out that must have been! Your pictures really captured the contrasts to different parts of the day. The cemetery pictures are quite breath-taking, and could no doubt inspire countless stories, not to mention the real life stories behind the many crypts and statues. Speaking of the crypts, they reminded me very much a famous cemetery we have here in London, Highgate cemetery, the final resting place for the likes of Karl Marx, Douglas Adams (Hitch hiker guide), and Michael Faraday (the physist) to name but a few…

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    1. Well, if my dream comes true and someday I am able to visit the UK I will have to visit that cemetery. There is so much history, romance, suspense, and often mystery written on the stones in a cemetery. I often imagine the lives of those who have passed just by reading the epitaphs from their loved ones. We have these tombstones in New Orleans due to ground over saturation and flooding during hurricanes. I recall one year when I was very young, hurricane Betsy I believe, when a traditional cemetery flooded so badly the caskets became dislodged from the earth and were floating down streets. I wouldn’t have wanted to see that at the age of six!

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  2. These are great pictures. I love cemeteries and I like the way you weave the text around the images. It’s a great way to experience a place I will probably never visit. I’ve been to NO, but this strikes me as something off the beaten path.

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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the “tour”. I love to visit cemeteries and the older the better. I had been nagging my husband for years to get into some of the numerous cemeteries in the greater NOLA area. There is so much history and architecture within them. I will even have him pull over to small country graveyards. He doesn’t mind. He likes to read the epitaphs on the grave stones. One place we stopped at seemed so simple but there was a wealth of history in it with some stones dating back to the 1700’s as far as birth year. I wasn’t taking many photos back then. I used to take paper and pencil and trace some of the more interesting stones. Galveston has the most heartbreaking cemetery I have ever seen, due to the 1900 storm. There are entire sections with no names, just simply stating, “Family, lost in the storm..” Thanks for checking out the post.

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  3. Great pictures. Although, I liked all, but the statue pictures are truly amazing and the live oak trees on the streets. You are truly gifted and creative. Great photographer, artists, writer, poet and I am just starting to discover more and more in you. I will need to catch up with you guys in the group in terms of creative work 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much for taking a look. I love to take photos more than just about anything else. I would have loved to be a photojournalist. Instead i chose to be a mother and worked at clinics for eyes. But I am happy I can still take photos and write about them. I’m glad you liked them. Next time you take a look around here, go back to my posts of last March and April and you will see Costa Rica. I miss it so much!

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  4. The second cemetery is spooky-looking. Like in a horror movie, with something about to rise out of them. A real Edgar Allan Poe kind of atmosphere. And those crows, do they eat dead people? They are so many and they were not scared of you. Wow! Aren’t those crypts majestic? It’s hard to believe they are built for the dead. Your photos are so beautiful. Including the spooky ones. I am scared cemeteries; you are not. I think the dead might just come out and give me a chase.

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    1. Haha! Peter, no I am not afraid of the dead in cemeteries.but I am mindful to not go in alone for I am more afraid the living who are not so nice. Thank you for your kind words. I photograph a lot of birds and sometimes they show up, out of nowhere, and stay until I have taken my pictures. I think the word is getting around that I will make them famous all over the world! Im glad you liked them.

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