St. Louis Cemetery No. 2, New Orleans. Photograph by Infrogmation
In 1820, the City Council, following the belief that the contagions of yellow fever, cholera and other pestilential diseases were spread by “miasmas” emanating from cemeteries, wanted to find a new site for a cemetery farther removed from the center of population. The Council insisted on locating a new cemetery at least 2,400 feet from the city limits and the nearest practical site, on what is now Claiborne Ave. between Canal, St. Louis and Robertson Streets, was only 1,800 feet from Rampart Street. The matter was finally settled by an enabling act of the State Legislature. The city deeded it to the wardens of the Cathedral and the site was fenced. The church consecrated it for burials in August 1823.
From contemporary maps, the cemetery is shown as one continuous piece of property running from Canal to St. Louis Streets. The division into squares was done when Iberville, Bienville, Conti and St. Louis Streets were cut through.
Four-fifths of the square once facing Canal Street, though fenced, was only used for a few scattered burials; it adjoined the property of Newton Richards, a builder of tombs and monuments who had bought it in 1840. In 1845, Increase Stoddard Wood bought out Richards and succeeded in getting the New Orleans City Council to sell him the rest of the square for $11,400 in March 1846. To do this, the Council had to annul the City’s gift of the land, made 23 years previously to the wardens of St. Louis Cathedral on the grounds that to extend the cemetery to Canal St. at that time would endanger the health of the rapidly growing city. The City set aside the money to be used to create another cemetery, which eventually happened with the establishment of St. Louis Cemetery No. 3.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 is well laid out with a straight center aisle and parallel side aisles. All three of the squares are surrounded by wall vaults except one side of the middle square.
Location and Hours
Location: 300 N Claiborne Ave New Orleans, LA 70112
(Claiborne Avenue between St. Louis and Iberville Streets)
Entrance gates at Bienville and Conti Street.
Monday – Saturday: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Sunday: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Holiday closings vary
For more information, contact:
Archdiocese of New Orleans
1000 Howard Ave., Ste. 500
New Orleans, LA 70113-1903
504-596-3050 (main office)
Map and Directions
St Louis 2 Square 1 Map
St Louis 2 Square 2 Map
St Louis 2 Square 3 Map
For cemetery property research: Archdiocese of New Orleans Cemetery Office
For genealogy research: Archdiocese of New Orleans Genealogy Office
St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 was the site of SOC’s first restoration project, the wall vaults surrounding the cemetery. In 1974, the Archdiocese of New Orleans proposed to tear down the wall vaults and replace them with a chain link fence. Preservationists in the city were appalled, and SOC was founded in response. Over the next 10 years, working with the Archdiocese, the City, the local mason’s union, and other preservation organizations, SOC was able to restore the wall vaults.
In 2011-2012, Save Our Cemeteries restored the ironwork surrounds and gates of 12 tombs.
Save Our Cemeteries offers special tours of St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 held on the fourth Sunday of each month, and on the second and fourth Monday of each month, at 10:00 am. Tour departs from the cemetery entrance at Conti Street. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Tickets may be purchased online by clicking here.