Mike Chowla

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

New Orleans' Cemeteries are a fascinating window into its past. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the city's oldest cemetery. The cemetery can only be visited with a licensed tour guide. I recommend Save Our Cemeteries which is a non-profit group dedicated to cemetery restoration. Their tour guides are knowledgeable and have orient their tours around how the cemeteries fit into the history of New Orleans.

The most famous tomb is that of Marie Laveau who is known as the "Voodoo Queen of New Orleans". Some claim her tomb is the second most visited tomb in the United States after Graceland. There are also the tombs of famous historical figures such as Homer Plessy who was the plaintiff in Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court decision from 1896 that created the "separate but equal" doctrine that unpinned racial segregation for nearly 60 years. The Supreme Court has been making terrible decisions for a long time.

My favorite tomb was the Italian Benevolent Society Tomb which is a stunning momument.