An excerpt from the book, Spirits of the Bayou: Sanctuaries, Cemeteries and Hauntings

It is an elite estate filled with stellar statesman, master musicians, heralded heroes and royal restaurateurs. And with it samples of architecture from every corner of the world.

The Parisian style cemeteries flourished across New Orleans inviting the traditions of elegance and costly funerary architecture. As noted in the book, New Orleans Architecture: The Cemeteries, the designers and architects employed a collusion of nineteenth-century designs creating a delightful unpredictable fusion of ornamentation and freely interpretative works of art.

In essence, a stroll through Metairie Cemetery is like a tour of the world’s finest cityscapes and art galleries. From a blank canvas grew an eclectic musing of ancient Greece and Rome dashed with exotic lines of India, Egypt and the Orient.

The book further adds that the greater availability of marble and granite invited the designers to move from standard simplicity to elements of grandeur, and with it the entry of professional architects rather than skilled craftsman.


Romanesque and Gothic revival styles were a dominant influence in the early builds of Metairie Cemetery. An obvious example of the gratuitous designs of the European influence is the Bentinck Egan family tomb that resembles the ruins of a small Gothic chapel.

Another popular theme is the Gothic tombs mirroring miniature versions of medieval churches with spired canopies and pointed arches. An obvious association as it represents a Godly structure and harkens back to the middle ages and the custom of burying notable parishioners in the church. The David C. McCann mausoleum designed by Charles Orleans is a perfect example with the immense spire shooting into the sky.

More photos and excerpts about Metairie cemetery on future posts.

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