Happy All-Hallows Eve
October 31st, 2011 by slangon

Being that it’s Halloween, and being that baseball season is over, and being that it’s Monday, and being that outside of Sunday, Monday is associated with football, I thought I’d make a custom Halloween-themed football card. No, not that kind of Halloween-themed custom card. Just a regular old Halloween-themed custom card.

What does the Louisiana Superdome (or should I say the Mercedes-Benz Superdome) have to do with the Girod Street Cemetery? Lemme ‘splain. As you may or may not know, due to parts of New Orleans being below sea level, the interring of the dead has been an issue. Since the ground water is so close to the surface, if you try to bury them, the grave will pretty much immediately fill with water, causing the coffin to float. Early settlers even tried placing heavy stones atop the box in order to weight them down. Unfortunately, after one good rain storm, which if you’ve ever been to New Orleans, they don’t take long to show up, the airtight coffins would be forced to the surface. Eventually, the settlers, uh, settled on using the Spanish custom of above ground burial vaults. Aside from being crazy creepy, many of these vaults are extremely beautiful and ornate.

These “Cities of the Dad” are scattered throughout the city of New Orleans and the Girod Street Cemetery was located at Girod St. and St. Paul. It was established in 1822 as a boneyard for the use of the city’s Protestant residents. At it’s heyday, it consisted of about 2300 vaults and 1100 tombs. The cemetery fell into disuse and was deconsecrated in 1957. Eventually, the spot where the graveyard once stood was used for the Louisiana Superdome. Most of the body’s had already been relocated to other burying grounds, but allegedly, if no one stepped in to claim a body, it was left where it stood, coffin and all.

Once ground was broken on the new football arena, back-hoes brought up more than dirt. Rotted 19th century finery clinging to decrepit bones were dug up along with half-decayed remains of coffins. Many people chalked up the Saints’ dismal winning records to the dead being none too happy about being disturbed in their eternal slumber. Supposedly, at least 2 Voodoo priestesses and 1 Catholic nun have tried to exorcise the restless spirits to no avail, until at least the 2009 season when the Saints defeated the Colts in the Superbowl.

(Like all good ghost stories, although there are grains of half-truth to this story, it turns out that the Superdome was built close to, but not on the ground where the cemetery once stood. A parking garage for the New Orleans Center Shopping Mall is what actually sits on the once consecrated burying ground.)

One Response to “Happy All-Hallows Eve”

  1. Creepy good story. Happy Halloween.

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