Cities of the Dead Part 2: Lafayette Cemetery

The second of this two-part series takes us to one of the oldest cemeteries in New Orleans. Built in 1833, Lafayette Cemetery doesn’t have the “tour-guide escort only” policy, although the church is working towards changing that. This cemetery held many beautiful monuments to the dead and looked to be less vandalized than St. Louis Cemetery Number 1. (To see pics from last week’s story on St. Louis Number 1, click¬†here.) I suspect Lafayette has been left alone due to the fact that there is no one particularly famous buried there, however pedestrian traffic is still taking its toll on the grounds.

We took the streetcar over and enjoyed the sunny streets with trees and phone poles draped in colourful Mardi Gras beads.

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Upon arrival we had free reign to explore as we wished and so we did. I’ll let the pictures walk you through.

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Right across the street from Lafayette Cemetery is a restaurant called the Commander’s Palace. We were intrigued by the teal and white striped awnings and went over to check it out. We discovered the structure was built in 1880 by Emile Commander for his daughter. No one seems quite sure what the building hosted for its first 3 years but as of 1883 it was officially an upscale creole restaurant. Some say it was always a restaurant, while others say it may have been a brothel during those first murky years.

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However it came to be a place of nourishment, it remains an absolutely stunning place to enjoy fresh seafood and fine dining. A note to travelers, casual clothing is acceptable for lunch but dinner service prohibits jeans and t-shirt attire. Entrance to Lafayette Cemetery is free but if you dine at the Commander’s Palace prepare to drop some dollars.

Next week we’ll visit another slice of New Orleans and this time I promise to take you somewhere with a pulse. Until next time, be well Dear Readers.

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