Want to get involved? Do you have a family tomb in need of work? Here's information to help get you started.

Get Involved - Adopt A Tomb, or Restore the Family Tomb

For projects at St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 or other New Orleans' cemeteries, the following order of work is suggested:

  1. Do the preliminary archival research
  2. Document everything “as was” and “as is”
  3. Conduct a condition assessment
  4. Follow fact-based decision making
  5. Develop a preservation plan
  6. Perform conservation treatments
  7. Plan for periodic maintenance
  8. Celebrate success

Many projects require the help of professionals, and the resources above will provide a familiarity with basic conservation principles and concepts to help the owner or steward understand the extent of work required. Its often necessary to bring in professional assistance, such as qualified conservators and restoration professionals, masons, metalworkers, and stone carvers. However, the most important investigation for the project can be done by anyone interested in archival research and detective work. All this phase takes is careful attention to detail, creative thinking, good notes, and considerable perseverance and patience. See the Archival Resources for help and download "Before Work Begins" from the Guidelines.

Adopt A Tomb

Beginning in 2000, Save Our Cemeteries, Inc., the city's first non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and study of local cemeteries, has coordinated grants from Save America's Treasures, the National Park Service / Department of the Interior, the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation, Office of Cultural Development, and the New Orleans Archdiocesan Cemeteries to restore more than 60 masonry tombs in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans' oldest burial ground. In spite of enormous effort, many of the 700+ tombs are in desperate need of repair. Some are abandoned and deteriorating rapidly in the harsh New Orleans climate. Failing old repairs are leading to more severe damage, and thieves have plundered many of the fine sculptures and decorative ironwork elements.

Adopt A Tomb is the latest phase in an on-going project to document, repair, and restore the unique above ground tombs in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.

You Can Help! The conservation team has selected a number of deteriorated tombs, defined a scope of work for each, and estimated the cost of needed repairs. Individuals or groups can fund the rehabilitation of an entire tomb, or the cost of a single aspect of the repair. While new burials in these tombs cannot be permitted, donors will be recognized by permanent markers. Even more important, participants will be contributing to the survival of one of the city's greatest cultural, historical, and architectural treasures with the knowledge that the work will meet the highest and most modern conservation standards. Time is running out, but it is not too late to preserve this unique American place.

For more information, contact Save Our Cemeteries, Inc. at 1-888-721-7493.

Save Our Cemeteries, Inc.

Founded in 1974, Save Our Cemeteries, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and promoting the historic cemeteries of New Orleans.

Activities of the organization include cemetery cleanups, grounds maintenance, cemetery security, community outreach, educational programs, and tomb restoration. Proceeds from cemetery tours conducted by volunteer licensed tour guides and memberships in Save Our Cemeteries, Inc. are dedicated to supporting these projects and more.

Save Our Cemeteries,Inc. is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization. Any donations are tax deductible. For more information, contact Save Our Cemeteries, Inc. at 1-888-721-7493.

Volunteer

Join in to help preserve New Orleans' historic cemeteries threatened by such forces as neglect, vandalism, theft, and the effects of time. Community support is vital. Save Our Cemeteries is always looking for volunteers.

Volunteer @ Save Our Cemeteries

Preservation student volunteersLimewashing by a local volunteerFamily members, historians and local professors volunteer regularly