Volunteers needed for Lafayette Cemetery cleanup

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Lafayette No. 1 is the oldest city-operated cemeterPresident Rhapsody via commons.wikimedia.org

Once a popular tourist destination, Lafayette No. 1 has been closed since 2019.

The Garden District Association is calling for volunteers to clean up the historic Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 at 1400 Washington Ave. The cemetery has been closed to the public since 2019.

The annual cleanup on Thursday morning (Oct. 5) will help prepare the 19th century “city of the dead” for All Saints’ Day.

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 was founded in 1833 and still in use today, although the city closed it to visitors four years ago to make repairs and to protect the delicate tombs. Officials have characterized the closure as temporary, but no opening date has been provided.

The padlocks will briefly come off for the community service on Thursday between 9 a.m. and noon. Cleanup will include leaf removal, wall vault clearing, and vegetation removal.

Volunteers are asked to wear sturdy closed-toe shoes and bring work gloves. Refreshments and tools will be provided.

Volunteers should register at 504-658-3672 or via email at emily.ford@nola.gov. Attendance is expected to fill up, as the cleanup provides a chance for neighbors to visit the cemetery.

Mayor's Office

The city issued these photos of Lafayette No. 1 in December 2019, when it announced repairs were slated to begin in 2020.

Family members of those interred in Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 may make an appointment to visit their family tomb by calling 504-658-3781. An index of the Lafayette No. 1 plaques and tombs is available here.

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 — bounded by Washington, Sixth, Prytania and Coliseum streets — is listed as a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places and is the oldest city-governed cemetery.

The cemetery takes its name from its location in what was once the city of Lafayette, a suburb of New Orleans that was annexed by the larger metropolis in 1852.

Nicholas Reimann, Uptown Messenger file photo

This sign, photographed in November 2019, greeted visitors trying to enter Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.

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