November 11, 2011


Historic Cemetery Discovered In French Quarter Back Yard
13 Caskets Found As Workers Dig Pool.
New Orleans is known by some as America’s most haunted city, but what was found in the city’s oldest neighborhood isn’t folklore or legend.

A man made a historic discovery in his historic French Quarter back yard – he unearthed 13 caskets while workers dug a spot for a pool.
The discovery has deep roots in New Orleans history.
The caskets were found in the 600 block of North Rampart Street

The discovery was made when Marcello decided to hire workers to dig a pool for his back yard.
Knowing the area was the site of St. Peter Cemetery, where many were buried in the 1700s, Marcello enlisted the help of archeologist Ryan Gray from the University of New Orleans.

“Part of the reason why the cemetery was closed was because it was overcrowded, and historical accounts and complaints can't dig anywhere without hitting earlier remains,” Gray said.

Gray said the wealthier people in the city likely paid to have remains removed and reburied at the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 – the city’s first above ground graveyard.

“We suspect people left behind represented kind of the poorest and most marginalized elements of that early population,” Gray said.
As the city started developing the block, Gray said, the city basically stopped worrying about what was underneath.

Marcello said he’s not too worried either when his residents realize they are not alone.
“It's all part of New Orleans culture. I think they might even like it,” Marcello said.

The caskets are believed to be made of cypress and are intact.
More forensic work is to be done on the remains. Gray said he hopes to identify the family members if they exist and have a public reburial ceremony.
In 1984, 36 bodies were uncovered when condos were built on the block.

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