Metairie Cemetery

Metairie Cemetery is a cemetery[2] in southeastern Louisiana. The name has caused some people to mistakenly presume that the cemetery is located in Metairie, Louisiana, but it is located within the New Orleans city limits, on Metairie Road (and formerly on the banks of the since filled-in Bayou Metairie).

Metairie Cemetery
Monuments at Metairie Cemetery
Metairie Cemetery is located in East New Orleans
Metairie Cemetery
Metairie Cemetery is located in Louisiana
Metairie Cemetery
Metairie Cemetery is located in the United States
Metairie Cemetery
LocationJunction of I-10 and Metairie Road, New Orleans, La.
Coordinates29°59′9″N 90°7′4″W / 29.98583°N 90.11778°W / 29.98583; -90.11778
ArchitectBenjamin Morgan Harrod
Architectural styleItalianate, Classical Revival, Gothic Revival
NRHP reference No.91001780[1]
Added to NRHPDecember 6, 1991


This site was previously a horse racing track, Metairie Race Course, founded in 1838.

The race track was the site of the famous Lexington-Lecomte Race, April 1, 1854, billed as the "Great States” race. Former President Millard Fillmore attended. While racing was suspended because of the American Civil War, it was used as a Confederate Camp (Camp Moore) until David Farragut took New Orleans for the Union in April 1862. Metairie Cemetery was built upon the grounds of the old Metairie Race Course after it went bankrupt.

The race track, which was owned by the Metairie Jockey Club, refused membership to Charles T. Howard, a local resident who had gained his wealth by starting the first Louisiana State Lottery. After being refused membership, Howard vowed that the race course would become a cemetery. After the Civil War and Reconstruction, the track went bankrupt and Howard was able to see his curse come true. Today, Howard is buried in his tomb located on Central Avenue in the cemetery, which was built following the original oval layout of the track itself. Mr. Howard died in 1885 in Dobbs Ferry, New York when he fell from a newly purchased horse.[citation needed]

Undoubtedly the Metairie Cemetery is destined to be the great Necropolis of the South. As far as its location, ornaments, care and poetry are concerned, we say that this great city of the dead is unrivaled.

— Staff writer, "All Saints' Day: Yesterday's Visitations at the Homes of the Dead", New Orleans Daily Picayune (November 2, 1877)

Metairie Cemetery was previously owned and operated by Stewart Enterprises, Inc., of Jefferson, Louisiana. However, in December 2013, Service Corporation International bought Metairie Cemetery and other Stewart locations.


Angel statue at Metairie Cemetery

Metairie Cemetery has the largest collection of elaborate marble tombs and funeral statuary in the city.

One of the most famous is the Army of Tennessee, Louisiana Division monument, a monumental tomb of Confederate soldiers of the American Civil War. The monument includes two notable works by sculptor Alexander Doyle (1857–1922):

  • Atop the tomb is an 1877 equestrian statue of General Albert Sidney Johnston on his horse "Fire-eater", holding binoculars in his right hand. General Johnston was for a time entombed here, but the remains were later removed to Texas.
  • To the right of the entrance to the tomb is an 1885 life size statue represents a Confederate officer about to read the roll of the dead during the American Civil War. The statue is said to be modeled after Sergeant William Brunet of the Louisiana Guard Battery, but is intended to represent all Confederate soldiers.

Other notable monuments in Metairie Cemetery include:

  • the pseudo-Egyptian pyramid;
  • Laure Beauregard Larendon's tomb, which features Moorish details and beautiful stained glass;[3]
  • the former tomb of Storyville madam Josie Arlington;
  • the Moriarty tomb with a marble monument with a height of 60 feet (18 m) tall, which required the construction of a temporary special spur railroad line to transport the monument's building materials to the cemetery; and
  • the memorial of 19th-century police chief David Hennessy, whose murder sparked a riot.

The initial construction of at least one of these elaborate final resting places – restaurateur Ruth Fertel's mausoleum – is estimated to have cost between $125,000 to $500,000 (in late 20th century dollars).[4]

List of notable and celebrity burialsEdit

Metairie Cemetery in the late nineteenth century
Marble statuary monument to Chapman H. Hyams' sisters. The sculpture is a copy of Story's Angel of Grief

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ Linden, Blanche M.G. (2007). Silent City on a Hill: Picturesque Landscapes of Memory and Boston's Mount Auburn Cemetery. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. p. 295. ISBN 978-1558495715. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  3. ^ Snyder, Laurie. Cities of the Dead: Metairie Cemetery (New Orleans, Louisiana), in The Contemplative Traveler, November 25, 2016.
  4. ^ Metairie Cemetery, The Contemplative Traveler.
  5. ^ "Badger, Algernon Sidney". Louisiana Historical Association, A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography. Archived from the original on October 13, 2010. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  6. ^ Tom Benson's final resting place: Large, ornate tomb stands out in Metairie Cemetery
  7. ^ "Clarke, Lewis Strong". Louisiana Historical Association, A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography ( Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2010.

External linksEdit