In the Old St. Louis No. 1, the oldest of the cemeteries, are seen almost in juxtaposition the tombs of Benedics Van Pradelles, an officer of the Revolution with Lafayette, who died in 1808 and of Paul Morphy, the world's greatest chess player …
— Will H. Coleman, 1885
Significant Inhabitants of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1 is a microcosm of New Orleans history. The diversity and integration of the early city's population is as evident in death as it is in life. Some of its more famous inhabitants include:
- Barbarin Family - One of the most significant New Orleans jazz dynasties. Tomb #218.
- Etienne de Boré (1741–1820) - New Orleans' first mayor. He is credited with being the first person to successfully granulate sugar. His grandson, Charles Gayarré, a noted Louisiana historian, is also buried in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Tomb #224.
- Blaize Cenas (1776–1812), Dr. Augustus Cenas (1809–1878) - Blaize Cenas was the first Postmaster General of the New Orleans. Tomb #108.
- Eliza Lewis Claiborne (1784–1804) - First wife of William C.C. Claiborne, the first American Governor of Louisiana. Also entombed here are her son and her brother, Micajah Green Lewis, who died in a duel defending the honor of his brother-in-law, the governor. Tomb #640.
- Clarice Durlade Claiborne (1788–1809) - The second wife of William C.C. Claiborne, Governor of the territory of New Orleans. Tomb #589.
- Daniel Clark (?–1812), Myra Clark Gaines (1810–1887) - Daniel Clark was the American Consul when Spain ruled New Orleans, and later the Territorial Delegate to Congress. Myra Clark Gaines, his illegitimate daughter, gained notoriety due a court case regarding her claim to Clark's large land tracts after his death, resulting in expensive litigation which lasted over 65 years. Tomb #590.
- Pierre Derbigny (?–1829) - A noted jurist who, along with Louis Moreau-Lislet, drew up the Civil Code of Louisiana. He was Governor of the state from 1828 until his death in 1829. Tomb #476.
- Colonel Michael Fortier (1750–1819) - Royal armourer and soldier. Fortier fought with the Spanish under Galvez, aiding in the capture of Manchac and Baton Rouge, LA, from the British. He later became a member of the first New Orleans city council. Tomb #81.
- Grima Family - A prominent family descending from Albert Xavier Grima who emigrated from Malta in 1780. Descendants include a notary, a lawyer, a judge, an ophthalmologist, and a writer. Tomb #72.
- Benjamin Latrobe (1764–1820) - Founder of the architectural profession in the United States. He was buried in the Protestant section, but only a plaque stands in his memory, as his remains may have been lost when graves were moved. Location unknown.
- Marie Laveau (1794–1881) - Well known Voodoo Queen. Her remains are reputed to be interred in the Glapion family tomb, although there is no solid proof. Tomb #347.
- Louis Moreau-Lislet (1767–1832) - Co-author of the Louisiana Civil Codes of 1808 and 1825. Tomb #105.
- Bernard de Marigny (1788–1871) - Wealthy French landowner who participated in early Louisiana government. He lost most of his wealth through gambling. He is credited with introducing the game of craps to the United States. Tomb #606.
- Dr. Joseph Montegut (1735–1819); Edward Montegut (1806–1880) - Dr. Joseph Montegut was a leading physician and surgeon in Charity Hospital and proponent for the establishment of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 outside the city. His grandson, Edward, was mayor of New Orleans from 1844–1846. Tomb #144.
- Ernest "Dutch" Morial (1929–1989) - New Orleans' first African-American Mayor. Tomb #2003 is a new tomb, which replaced an earlier family tomb.
- Paul Morphy (1837–1884) - World famous chess champion. Tomb #366.
- Homer Plessy (1862–1925) - Plaintiff in the landmark 1896 Supreme Court case, Plessy vs. Ferguson, which declared separate as being equal. This was overturned by another landmark case, Brown vs. the Board of Education in 1954. Tomb #619.
- Carlos Trudeau (?–1816) - Surveyor General of Louisiana and a leading French and Spanish Colonial surveyor. Tomb #54.
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These vaults have a resemblance to houses — sometimes to temples; are built of marble, generally; are architecturally graceful and shapely; — Mark Twain, 1875
Since the late 1800s, guide books have been listing tombs of famous people in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. However, in addition to the tales of fame, money won and lost, wars and legal battles fought, and important civic achievements, there are many tombs that are important for their unique design, architecture, or ornamentation. Several of the most significant include:
The Varney Tomb, #322
The Italian Society Tomb, #484
Portuguese Benevolent Society Tomb, #485
Spanish Society Tomb, #518
Orleans Battalion Tomb, #523
The French Society Tomb, #555
The Malard Family Tomb, #577
Eliza Claiborne Tomb, #640
Layton Family Tomb, #655
The oldest wall vaults - Tremé Left, #1300
Many of America's "Jazz Greats" are buried in the above ground cemeteries of New Orleans and their lives and accomplishments have been celebrated by Jazz Funerals.
Tomb #218 is the Tomb of the Barbarin Family. They are one of the most significant families of New Orleans' jazz musicians. Interred within include Charles R. Barbarin, Sr. 8/30/1927 to 4/11/1980, musicians Izidore, Lucien and Charles Barbarin,and Rose Barbarin Barker Colombel, mother of Danny Barker, who was a musician, writer and historian and is buried in St. Louis Cemetery No. 2. This tomb is in need of some conservation work and tablet replacements and has been featured in the Adopt A Tomb program by Save Our Cemeteries, Inc.