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New Orleans Cemeteries: Life in the Cities of the Dead Hardcover – June 15, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Just as Tennessee Williams' legendary heroine Blanche duBois followed the advice of strangers who suggested she 'take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to one called Cemeteries,' those who read "New Orleans Cemeteries" will be taken on a fascinating ride through places where memories of loved ones are still very much alive." -- The Times Picayune, New Orleans, September 28, 1997<br /><br />"New Orleans Cemeteries: Life in the Cities of the Dead by brothers Robert and Mason Florence is a lavish volume overflowing with wonderful photographs of thirteen of the city's wonderful graveyards, as well as historical accounts of each site. Painstakingly assembled, this book is a must for anyone fascinated with this city's aboveground tombs. Yes, Anne Rice does pop up in the chapter on Lafayette Cemetery #1." -- Anne Rice's Vampire Lestat Fan Club Newsletter, Fall, 1997<br /><br />"One doesn't need a sense of the macabre to appreciate the beauty of the cemeteries that constitute one of the Big Easy's distinguishing features. Filled with color and black and white photographs by Mason Florence of the area's above -ground tombs, the book explores the history, art and architecture of 13 burial grounds, as well as the people and traditions that bring them to life." --USA Today, Oct. 31, 1997

From the Author

What struck me most as I researched and wrote this book was how "alive" these remarkable cemeteries really are. In the book, I profile five very unique people who have touching and amazing stories to tell about their experiences and relationships with cemeteries. I wanted this book to be about people, and life, rather than the macabre aspects of death. Although the cemeteries in New Orleans are one of the city's biggest tourist attractions, I have been thanked by locals for documenting monuments which are such an integral part of the life of the city. Fifty-eight photographs from New Orleans Cemeteries: Life in the Cities of the Dead will be on display at the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans for one year so that visitors can see how extraordinary these burial grounds truly are.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Batture Press; 1 edition (June 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965708519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965708517
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.5 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #461,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By M. Clark on November 7, 2002
I would never have went to New Orleans without visiting at least one of the famous above ground cemeteries - I was not disappointed! The history behind them is fascinating. They're built above ground, so that when there is any kind of flooding, the bodies don't float away since New Orleans is 700?ft below sea level. What was really neat to me though, is that one tomb, could and would be used for many generations of the same family. I thought it was a comforting thought to know that you wouldn't be burried alone, but in the exact same place as your ancestors. I think New Orleans people celebrate death, not that they're glad someone is gone, but that they're glad they had the chance to live and love them! There is just a kind of magic about the cemeteries, especially St. Louis #1, the oldest cemetery in the area. The photo's in this book capture that magic! Unfortunately, the section on #1 is small. This book includes many of the cemeteries including St. Louis 2 and 3, and Metairie, which is one of the nicest and most [costly] ones. I highly recommend this book for it's information and photography! If you go to see #1, it is in a not-so-good crime area that is improving, but make sure you go with a tour! The tour guides always have some interesting extra info!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 6, 1999
Filled with lovely photographs, this book is both entertaining and educational. It gives a brief history of the whys and wherefores of the burial practices in southern Louisiana, as well as describing how the tombs are cared for in the present. It also makes a great guide, if one is planning to visit the cemeteries in and around New Orleans. Easy to read, but never insulting to one's intelligence, this book gives a fascinating view of the cities of the dead.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Minda Powers Douglas on January 3, 2005
Rob Florence's book is hands-down the best book on New Orleans cemeteries I have found--and, believe me, I've looked. I'm researching cemeteries. Not only is there tons of information, but he has also included personal stories of people who have loved ones entombed as well as of some who are entombed. I had the pleasure of meeting Rob Florence recently, and he is a walking and talking encyclopedia of knowledge. If you're taking a trip to New Orleans, sign up now to take one of his tours through Historic New Orleans Tours. You won't be disappointed. Before you do that, though, BUY THIS BOOK to take along with you!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Leslie on February 27, 2003
I was very pleased with this book and read it from cover to cover.Besides having a fascinating text it's loaded with beautiful pictures, including a set of pictures of Anne Rice doing a publicity shoot in one of New Orleans's cemeteries.I really wasn't that familiar with the history of the burial grounds in New Orleans and I learned a LOT from this book. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who's into cemeteries, funeral history, and Anne Rice!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 27, 1999
As close to a definitive look at New Orleans cemeteries as there can be, full of fascinating anecdotes and extremely well-researched facts (rare for a city as swamped by legend and myth as water). Shows that New Orleans reality is as fascinating as its fiction and calls attention to the serious problem of cemetery decay, calling out for preservation of these remarkable places. One of the best buys for a visitor to New Orleans.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By apoem TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 5, 2001
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We travel to and through Louisiana quite a bit. Because of this, I tend to pick up books about Louisiana, particularly Louisiana history. I bought this book because I liked the pictures. However, once I began reading this book, I realized that there was much more to the cemeteries than interesting statues. I can honestly say that I enjoyed reading this book and found it as informative as it was interesting.
This book begins with an introduction about cemeteries in Louisiana and then covers different cemeteries in Louisiana. Generally there is a history of the cemetery, an accounting of some of the more famous people buried in each cemetery and a lot of information.
For someone visiting Louisiana, particularly someone who is considering a tour of the cemeteries, this book is a must.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Colleen M. Schneider VINE VOICE on May 24, 2011
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During our stay in New Orleans my husband I decided to take a cemetery tour (well, in actuality, we actually took two tours, one of the Garden District which included a cemetery and also one of the cemetery/voodoo tours). We find history fascinating and for some odd reason, cemeteries equally so. New Orleans takes much of it's above ground cemetery sylings from both the Spanish & French influences, where the cemeteries are more like cities of the dead than a well manicured park. There is a beauty in the history and the decay. One of the fascinating things about the cemeteries is that whole families and generations are kept in just a few vaults, using the year and a day standard where after a year and a day the remains are moved to the back of the vault, to make room for the next occupant. Some of the crypts also are used like "rentals", until there is room in the family vault. Interesting, and quite different from the way we bury those in other areas of the country. The cemeteries and graves in this book are beautifully photographed and sections tell you about each cemetery with much detail and love of the history of New Orleans which is in and of itself a treasure in all it's crazy uniqueness.

I bought this book after our trip and though a strange souvenir, it was an interesting and informative part of our trip that I didn't want to forget. Don't miss taking one of the guided trips to one of the cemeteries in New Orleans, no trip would be complete without visiting at least one just for the history alone. We found the guides that do the tours to be very passionate about the history of New Orleans and were very interested in sharing the stories and answering your questions no matter how bizarre.
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