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St. Louis Cemetery Number 3

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small St. Louis
Sharon Keating

St. Louis Cemetery Number 3 is the most accessible of the St. Louis Cemetery group, and the easiest to get to by car, taxi, or bus. It is located at 3421 Esplanade Avenue.

Historically Speaking:

See photos of St. Louis 3.

Formerly known as Bayou Cemetery, (where it is believed that those with leprosy were buried), St. Louis No. 3 was created in 1848 on the high stretch of land known as the Esplanade Ridge. Reverend G. L. Duquesnay bought the land to be used as a cemetery for the St. Louis Cathedral after an outbreak of yellow fever. The cemetery had three main aisles and four smaller alee's (aisles). In 1865, the depth of the burial grounds was extended to provide for less crowding. This cemetery is larger than both St. Louis Nos. 1 and 2 combined.

Layout:

The main aisles are called St. Louis, and named after other saints, while the cross aisles are named for various clerics in the church. There are several large and interesting "society tombs," tombs owned by individual groups to allow their members access to affordable burial prior to the advent of burial polices. These societies, such as the Hellenic Orthodox Community Tomb, were often formed to help immigrants in their new country; sometimes, they were formed to foster common occupations or interests. The Young Men's Benevolent Association, and the Loggia Dante-Dante Masonic Tomb are other society tombs. In St. Louis #3, many notables are buried.

Who's Who:

We are all equal in death. Storyville photographer E. J. Bellocq is buried here, along with the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, an order founded by St. Francis Cabrini. In fact, this is a favorite cemetery for burial of religious in New Orleans, with several tombs for different orders of nuns and priests. There is a wonderful tomb for the Little Sisters of the Poor on St. Peter aisle. The tombs of the New Orleans restaurateur families of Tujague, Prudhomme, and Galatoire lay near to one another in the "Chef's Corner." The wealthy and well-known, such as famed architect James Gallier, has a monument here as does the United Slavonian Benevolent Society.

Tours can be arranged with a tour company, or a visitor can go on their own. I recommend a guided tour, so that you can get more detailed information and ask questions. Tourists are forewarned that this cemetery is very much in use, and your private tour must be conducted with respect for any burials underway. There is a waiting list for persons seeking to be buried in St. Louis #3. It's fascinating.

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