In New Orleans, the dead walk among us.
At least, so they would have us believe at Marie Laveau’s. I’m not a believer, so I can’t say for sure. But if the dead do stroll this city of fragrant, beautiful decay, I’d say you’re most likely to encounter them in line at Mother’s, hoping for one last taste of a dripping Ferdi Special po-boy, or in the courtyard at Napoleon House, waiting an eternity for a Pimm’s cup.
Non-belief aside, I spent a blustery gray afternoon yesterday strolling among them, at Lafayette Cemetery #1 (circa 1833) in the Garden District, just across Washington Ave. from the fabled Commander’s Palace. It was a perfect setting: roiling turbulent skies, quiet rows of weathered marble tombs, brick shrines with crumbling plaster and roofs of lush ferns—ruined monuments to people long dead, but still remembered by families who drop off vases of cheap silk flowers, painting splashes of garish color against the careworn black-and-white stone canvas. Beautiful decay.
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