In the heart of one of the world's most haunted cities, there lies an array of beautiful above ground cemeteries. These are two of my favorites located in Mid City and Lakeview, New Orleans.
My apartment is located in a part of New Orleans that is about 5 minutes away from over half the dead people in the city. While most towns would bury their dead on the outskirts, we’ve done the opposite: our largest graveyards are literally in the center of the city, and our deceased are not buried. You see, when New Orleans was originally settled, they tried to bury the dead, but the water table is so high that the air-filled coffins would float back up! So they did what many Spanish and French cities had done before them, and kept the dead in tombs and vaults above the ground.Today, these cemeteries are all over the city, with the highest concentration right around the corner from me. How could I resist taking a trip or two to visit these lovely monuments?
A couple years ago, I visited a large cemetery called Greenwood. It was a crystal clear day and I took crystal clear pictures with my Canon Rebel 2000 on normal Kodak film from the grocery store. I wanted to keep it friendly and low-risk. I wanted to illustrate how lovely and peaceful and unique these tombs could be, instead of the usual spooky, dark portrayal they get. The brighter the blue in the sky, the better! Why can’t death be a nice place?
Recently, I got the itch to do another graveyard series. This time, I wanted to go in a different direction. I decided to embrace the spook. After all, having the dead at eye-level is undeniably creepy. I used my Diana+ this time, because I knew it would give the photos a more haunted look. I decided to go to an older, smaller cemetery called Saint Louis #3. And I didn’t just want a grey sky, I wanted solid, dark, better-bring-an-umbrella, intense cloud-cover. This opportunity came to me in the form of Tropical Storm Lee. With Lee looming above, I grabbed my camera and tripod and hurried over to the graveyard. Wind whipping my hair and drops starting to fall, I took what became some of my favorite pictures.
I highly recommend St. Louis #3 to any Lomographers visiting New Orleans. It’s one of the oldest cemeteries in the city, and the final resting place of photographer E. J. Bellocq. However, if you want to spend an afternoon getting lost in a city of the dead, Greenwood is an excellent place as well.
5200 Canal Blvd
New Orleans, LA 70124
Saint Louis Cemetery No.3
3421 Esplanade Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70119
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