Metairie Cemetery, NOLA : slightly expired Fuji Neopan in the Yashica MG-1

This weekend was rainy and thus no good for photography; I spent a good chunk of it uploading photos that were taken over a period stretching back to last September. These were taken a few days after last Christmas, when I took my sister to New Orleans. If you’re ever in the city and only have time to visit one cemetery, I recommend Metairie (which yes, is actually in NOLA and not Metairie). St. Louis No. 1 is more famous, but for sheer volume of weirdness, you can’t beat Metairie–it’s one of those enormous cemeteries that you can drive around in. And you don’t have to pay to get in there, unlike St. Louis.

Egyptian tomb

Sphinx

Angel in the trees

Grieving woman with wreath

Tomb of shipwreck victims

Tomb of Josie Arlington

I always found black and white film to be particularly well-suited for graveyard photography. The grain really goes with photographs of carved stone, and the subjects don’t have a lot of color anyway.

Neopan was my go-to 35mm B&W for years, and when Fuji announced they were discontinuing it, I panicked and bought a few dozen rolls. Which I then felt like I didn’t want to use, but of course film doesn’t have an infinite shelf life and now it’s all expired, although it’s been in the fridge since the day I bought it. Anyway, I need to just let it go and actually use it before it gets too much older.

When I went to that camera shop in Lynchburg last November, I was delighted to find that they carried Ilford, the film (and paper) that I cut my teeth on back in high school. I bought a few rolls, since I knew I’d need to find a new black and white film soon. I need to shoot a roll of that and see if it’s as good as I remember it.

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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+.

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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.

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This is definitely the weirdest crypt in the cemetery.

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