The cemetery is located at 3421 Esplanade Avenue. Established in 1853 on the former site of a leper colony St Louis #3 was built as a response to the yellow fever epidemic of 1852. St. Louis #3 is in one of New Orleans’s oldest neighborhoods, Bayou St. John near the end of Esplanade Avenue.
The graves found in St. Louis #3 tend to be more elaborate and decorative with stunning examples of marble 19th-century tombs and crypts. You can see a bit of everything in the cemetery including family tombs, coping tombs, wall vaults and even more modern multi-burial mausoleums. There are also many tombs with architectural influences from Greek and Roman, Gothic, Egyptian, Baroque, and Byzantine made up of granite and pre-cast concrete. There is also a plethora of timeless sculptures that can be found throughout the cemetery. By the early 20th century, St. Louis #3 continued to grow with tombs from all walks of life being built by the city’s best architects. The first modern mausoleum, the St. Mark Memorial, was constructed in 1966. Since then, the St. Teresa Garden Mausoleum and the Serenity Garden Columbarium were added in 2015.
Easily accessible via the Canal Street car, check out the RTA’s Website for more info.
One of the most notable features in New Orleans cemeteries is the above-ground tombs. Unlike other major cities, New Orleans sits near the Mississippi River and has a high-water table. Historically, this made burying the dead a difficult task. The graves would often flood. To combat this, New Orleans residents built intricate tombs, raised above the water table. This solution helped combat the flood threats and the problems with digging in the river mud. The cultural practices of the French and Spanish initially influenced how the dead were honored. As the 19th progressed, cemeteries were planned out like city parks and people sought to honor their dead with elaborate memorials. These unique graves would later become a part of the iconic New Orleans that we see today