During my New Orleans city tour, we did get off the bus at a cemetery and were allowed to walk around. I have read that since these cemeteries are above ground and have the house-like structures, that muggers like to hide behind them, and I was told by several people to not go there alone, so all the more reason to be on a tour! I knew they were entombed above ground because of the water table, but I really didn’t give any more thought to it. I found myself very impressed with the system they have set up, especially when I heard that they do not embalm. I’ve never liked that idea, nor do I like the idea of spending all that money on a casket but I guess they still use those.
In the picture above, all the names of the nuns that you see listed there are laid to rest in this one tomb. When someone dies, the body is laid to rest on racks inside the tomb for a couple of years, and then the tomb is sealed shut and no one can be buried there. After two years, it can be re-opened for another body, and the bones are put into a special bag in the back or side of the tomb. I suppose for the squeamish this sounds horrible, but I just find it so natural. I love the idea of a family vault.
Now, if you don’t have money and can’t pay for the cemetery to take care of your vault forever, the below picture happens which is definitely not as pretty.
Walking around rows of vaults, I see where the phrase “city of the dead” came from, because the paths through the rows did resemble streets in front of houses.
I like the idea of honoring our dead and sharing memories of our loved ones so in our hearts the deceased do in fact live on.
Link that explains New Orleans cemeteries: here