2010 World Monuments Watch
Opened in 1823, St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 is located in the Faubourg Tremé, a neighborhood developed in the early 19th century and occupied predominantly by the city’s “free people of color.” Preceded by the smaller St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, built in 1789, the second is the largest early Creole cemetery in New Orleans. Above-ground tombs dot the urban setting following European Enlightenment ideals and architecture prominent in both France and Spain. St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 is one of the finest collections of antebellum mortuary art arranged in an orthogonal grid. Tomb design, carved sculpture, and the ironwork surrounding the tombs and cemetery offer a glimpse into the artistic and cultural hybrids of the Creole community. Notable architects such as James Gallier and J. N. B. de Pouilly designed some of the grave sites, and those interred include significant jazz musicians and local war heroes. Vandalism and natural elements have critically damaged many of the tombs throughout the cemetery. Water lines linger, reminders of the destruction and flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 is a vital symbol of Creole history and community, and requires open and thorough dialogue regarding its preservation in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.