Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Saint Roch's Cemetery

Unlike the other cemeteries I visited, this cemetery has a chapel. After doing some research, I noticed that the ceiling of the chapel was once white and not blue how it is today. The cemetery was founded in 1868, in honor of St. Roch of France. The chapel was finished in 1876 and the second part of the cemetery in the back was added in 1895. The small room in the chapel is designated for mementos, shoes, braces, prosthetic, and other little trinkets.

Lafayette Cemeteries No 1 and No 2

The Lafayette Cemetery No 1, founded in 1833, is the most popular cemetery to visit in New Orleans, located on the 1400 block of Washington Avenue in the Garden District. It is the most popular I think because it is the most beautiful, and has also been used in a few movies like Double Jeopardy and Interview with a Vampire. Many of these cemeteries have been used in movie productions, it is legal to shoot movies and photography here. It was named after General Lafayette, and New Orleans first planned cemetery. Unlike the Saint Louis Cemetery, the Lafayette has retained its original size since it was built. It has many different kinda of tombs and vaults with their own uniqueness. My favorite parts of this cemetery are the magnolia trees. They bring a lot of life to the cemetery visually. I also really enjoyed photographing the beautiful sculptures and destruction of the tombs.  I also recommend taking a tour of the cemetery with Save Our Cemeteries Inc. They have a lot of good information to learn about. My tour guide was the very friendly Gayl Pearson.

Lafayette No 1...

Below is a tomb that has be restored. Because of technology, we can laser the paint and see previous colors. The owners of this tomb decided to paint it an older color.

This tomb was used in the movie Interview with a Vampire. The empty lot below that was where the tomb in Double Jeopardy once was. It was torn down because it was a prop.

Lafayette No 2...

 A lot of tomb get looted like the one below, it is very unfortunate. However, for a student like me, it is interesting to see the inside to learn how they are kept.
Most cemeteries are lined with tomb walls. They not only provide a place for the deceased, but also act as a protective wall. The Lafayette No 1 is not. Which may be the reason the above tomb got broken into.

Saint Louis No 1

Saint Louis No 1 Cemetery was the first cemetery in New Orleans, founded in 1789 outside of the city walls. It is located at 425 Basin Street New Orleans, Louisiana. It was an unplanned cemetery, meaning that it was not in straight lines like the rest of the cemeteries. It had diagonal 'streets' as you can see in the very last image. The top image is said to be the tomb of the famous queen of voodoo Marie Laveau and her daughter. People draw three X's and then knock three times to make a wish, however, there are many different versions of this ritual for other various reasons as well. The pyramid is actually Nicolas Cage's tomb he had built for himself. The only real visitors I ever encountered while photographing any of the cemeteries was the cats.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

First Graveyard Shoot

The first graveyard I visited is called Cypress Grove. It is very simple to get to. Peach and I took the street car all the way down to the last stop and there it and a few others were. It was the only one open at the time. Let me tell you, these graveyards are nothing like Minnesota's graveyards! The 'Cities of the Dead' mimic the small skinny houses in neighborhoods of New Orleans because of the house like tombs and even street names. They are massive, so I am guessing that is the reason for the street signs inside the graveyards. The tombs and burial sites are above ground because of the high water table. If they dug too deep, the caskets would actually float and/or come back up above ground. They used to try and put heavy stones over them, but during any flooding they would just pop back up out of the ground. Most recently this had occurred during Katrina. The damage to some of the tombs is still very evident. Also, the majority of tombs are filled with numerous family members. Sometimes, if it is a small singular tomb, made for one person, multiple family members can still be put into that same tomb. This can only be done if the previously deceased person had been dead for at least two years. Then their remains are put into a special burial bag and put to the side of the inside of the tomb while the newly deceased person replaces their spot. If the two year rule can't be met, the graveyards have temporary holding vaults.

Unfortunately, my first graveyard visit was cut short due to closing hours. But, I will be returning to shoot more this next week. I will also be shooting at several graveyards across the streets from this one, and at the most popular Saint Louis No. 1 and Lafayette No. 1 graveyards as well during the week.

These are a few favorites from Cypress Grove Cemetery