Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans, LA

A lot of people think Metairie Cemetery is in Metairie, but it is actually within the city limits of NOLA. It got its name because it’s on Metairie Road. I think now that I’ve photographed it, the only major cemetery in NOLA that I haven’t yet photographed is St. Louis No. 2. (Major cemetery; there are probably dozens of smaller ones yet to be discovered.)

It’s one of those enormous cemeteries you can drive around in, and I nearly couldn’t find my way back out. The land used to be a racetrack, and the perimeter of the cemetery still retains the oval shape, so the streets aren’t laid out in a straightforward grid. Instead they snake all over the place, and the place is full of roundabouts. It’s worth it though, the cemetery is famous for huge and bizarre monuments and crypts. Some of these were taken with the digital Polaroid, and some with the Lomo LC-A+.



This is probably the most famous crypt in the cemetery, it was originally the final resting place of Josie Arlington, who ran a brothel in Storyville. But her family sold it to a family named Morales and re-interred her in a more discreet crypt. Apparently this tomb drew sightseers and her family was mortified by it. Partly because they didn’t like it to be known that there was good money in whorin’, partly because a story got around that the girl represented Josie being turned away at her father’s door. Another version has it that Arlington intended it to represent a virgin being turned away at the doors of the brothel, as she always claimed that no girl ever “lost her virtue” in her establishment. The monument is said to walk around the cemetery at night, visiting other graves; and although Arlington hasn’t been buried there in nearly 100 years, you still often find coins at the feet of the statue.




This is definitely the weirdest crypt in the cemetery.



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