Wednesday, April 13, 2016

St. Louis Cemetery #1 Rules

It is extremely important to keep in mind that St. Louis Cemetery #1 is an active, functioning, consecrated, Catholic cemetery.  The world seems to think that it is a playground for goth games and voodoo rituals.  Marie Laveau's tomb (officially known as The Glapion Tomb) has been desecrated again. As of March 1, 2015 The Archdiocese of New Orleans required all tourists to be on a tour with a tour company which is registered with the Archdiocese and a tour guide who holds a valid permit.  Even with imposed restrictions people manage to find a way to leave offerings and markings - pennies, shells, graffiti, lipstick kiss prints and the famous X's left in the name of voodoo.  When one is coming to visit New Orleans to experience our culture, one needs to understand that respect for our dead is paramount in our beliefs.  Anyone who tells you "New Orleans put the 'fun' in 'funeral' " is not one of us and does not belong here.  Even our jazz funerals are for the benefit of the bereft family - not a party to be celebrated - and have become rare due to invasion from people who confuse consoling with a drunken Bourbon Street party.  (This is why I discourage people from attending jazz church services, as well.  A church service is for worship - not a jazz fest.)
Please help preserve the culture of New Orleans by encouraging the world to give this culture dignity and respect.  Not everything is a party.  Here is a communication from the Archdiocese regarding the rules of the cemetery:

I would like to welcome the new tour operators who have registered with us this year, and take this time to review some basic rules.

1. There are markings on the Glapion tomb again. A restoration crew will be attending to this in the next couple of weeks.

2. Please alert your tour groups that any markings on tombs is vandalism and illegal; it also contrary to our Catholic cemetery practices and rules

3. Any tour guide encouraging or not discouraging the markings on tombs, will have their ID badge to enter St. Louis #1 void permanently

4. There are also numerous, miscellaneous items being placed on the ground and on tombs. This is litter and also against our Catholic cemetery practices and rules.

5. Other than flowers/plants in vases or pots (no glass), there should not be any items including but not limited to candles, coins, shells, rocks, food, unauthorized statues, etc. placed on the ground or on top of tombs. All items will be disposed of and any tour guide encouraging or not discouraging this practice, will have their ID badge to enter St. Louis #1 void permanently.

We all know the city ordinance states tour groups should be a certain footage from each other and that footage is quite difficult inside of St. Louis #1. We ask that you all work together patiently on this while touring St. Louis #1. Please be courteous and respectful of other groups.

There should not be any solicitation of tourists in front of St. Louis #1 by anyone. Any tour guide soliciting tourists near our front gate or in front of St. Louis #1 cemetery will have their ID badge voided.

Please keep in mind that while our Catholic Cemeteries are full of history, our number one priority is our Ministry to serve our Catholic families and maintain the sacredness and reverence of our Catholic Cemeteries through Christ’s guidance. We perform a Corporal Work of Mercy interring the dead and ministering to the living.

After a recent incident during a funeral at St. Louis #1 with the family being intruded on by a tour group, all tour groups will be stopped at the gate while funerals are being conducted. There are only approximately 5 – 10 funerals a year in St. Louis #1 so this should not be a burden to anyone to be respectful of these families during a funeral service. We can send an email alert to inform you when a funeral will be taking place.

Thank you for your cooperation.

God bless,

Sherri Peppo
Executive Director
New Orleans Catholic Cemeteries