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Sunday, July 21, 2024
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New Orleans Cemetery: Why You Have to Pay Admission

New Orleans Cemetery Tour is part of Freddie Awards to New Orleans Binge Weekend Trip Report which covers:

The first time I went to New Orleans was to see Michigan win a bowl game, a rarity. Overwhelmed with Bourbon and bourbon (one being the street, the other being the poison), I didn’t make it to the St. Louis No. 1 cemetery. This time, despite my binge of food and drink, I made time to visit. When I arrived, I was surprised to learn that there is a $20 charge per person for a guided tour. I was told that the Catholic Archdiocese imposes the charge and that regardless of my Catholic faith, I would have to pay. While I was able to negotiate for Jazz Fest tickets, I didn’t get far with Gabriel, the doorman. Hopefully, I will have better luck on judgment day.a sign on a wall a cemetery with a white square and a stone structure a stone building with a statue in front of it a brick wall with a white tower in the background a man standing on a tire on a brick wall a horse drawn carriage on the side of a road

Skeptical that the charge was valid and put off by paying so much when I paid nothing to visit La Recoleta in Buenos Aires, I left, but not before a feeble attempt to see what was inside.

Later in the day, I stopped at a tourism office to ask if there is a charge to enter. The woman confirmed that it is $20 and that it was imposed after Hurricane Katrina to prevent further vandalism. Someone had actually painted the tomb of Voodoo queen Maria Laveau Pepto-Bismol pink. Though I am technically Catholic, I am more superstitious than religious and would not dare to disturb the tomb of a voodoo queen.

a street sign with graffiti on it
Pointless vandalism

TPOL’s TIP: Other cemeteries in New Orleans do not charge an entry fee, but they are not within walking distance of the French Quarter.

Enjoy the New Orleans Cemetery Tour post? Then read the entire  Freddie Awards to New Orleans Binge Weekend Trip Report.



  1. We did this cemetery tour with Free Tours by Foot. its is a pay what you feel it is worth tour but this one does have a small fee. We felt the tour was worth while and we had wanted to see the cemetery so I was happy to book the tour. Sometimes you need to jump through the hoops and play tourist.

    This is on the tour page for Free Tours by Foot “* *Please note that the Catholic Archdioceses of New Orleans, the custodians of St. Louis Cemetery #1, in response to recent vandalism inside the cemetery, has closed the cemetery off to regular tourism and decided to charge an entrance fee for guided tours only. Therefore, we are unable to offer this tour with no upfront costs, and need to charge a $2/person fee at booking time. Fees collected by tour companies on behalf of the Archdioceses will go to the preservation of this historic cemetery.”

  2. Went to Lafayette cemetery. It’s across from Commanders Palace and a few blocks from a trolley stop so not a bad location.

    It’s very cool, some of the crypts are so damaged you can actually see inside. My son took some pics of bones inside one (I hope that’s not bad karma-apologies to the departed). There are what seem to be “independent” tour guides and you can hear some of their spiel while your walking around on your own, if you don’t want to pay to go on their tour. Very interesting.

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