Tomb of Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez

Faubourg Tremé is home to the oldest existing cemetery in the City of New Orleans, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez, founder of the New Orleans Tribune, America’s first black daily newspaper, is entombed in the Roudanez family tomb located in Alley 9. The doctor’s wife, Célie Saulay, and several of their children are also in this tomb. Access is permitted only with approved tour guides. When in the cemetery, be sure to ask your guide to see the Roudanez tomb.

On March 11, 2015, a historical marker was unveiled at the tomb site to honor Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez and his civil rights advocacy during the Civil War and Reconstruction Eras. The marker reads:

DR. LOUIS CHARLES ROUDANEZ
1823-1890
“LIBERTY MUST BE THE SAME FOR ALL MEN. IF LIBERTY IS QUALIFIED, THOSE WHO POSSESS THE
LEAST RIGHTS ARE NOT REALLY FREE. WE DEMAND THEREFORE, LIKE ALL OTHER CITIZENS:
THE RIGHT TO COME AND GO;
THE RIGHT TO VOTE;
THE RIGHT TO PUBLIC INSTRUCTION;
THE RIGHT TO HOLD PUBLIC OFFICE;
THE RIGHT TO BE JUDGED, TREATED AND GOVERNED ACCORDING TO THE COMMON LAW.”
-New Orleans Tribune, January 24, 1865

LOUIS CHARLES ROUDANEZ WAS A VISIONARY FREE MAN OF COLOR, DOCTOR, AND JOURNALIST. GREATLY INFLUENCED BY REVOLUTIONS IN SAINT-DOMINGUE AND FRANCE, AND ANGERED BY SLAVERY AND RACIAL INJUSTICE, HE TOOK UP THE CAUSE OF EQUALITY DURING THE CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION ERAS. IN 1862, DR. ROUDANEZ, PAUL TRÉVIGNE, AND JEAN BAPTISTE ROUDANEZ FOUNDED L’UNION, THE SOUTH’S FIRST BLACK NEWSPAPER. IN 1864, DR. ROUDANEZ LAUNCHED LA TRIBUNE DE LA NOUVELLE ORLÉANS (THE NEW ORLEANS TRIBUNE), THE FIRST BLACK DAILY NEWSPAPER IN THE UNITED STATES. WITH HIS TRIBUNE COLLEAGUES AND A DYNAMIC COMMUNITY OF FREE AND FREED PERSONS OF AFRICAN DESCENT, ROUDANEZ COURAGEOUSLY ATTACKED RACISM IN THE FACE OF SOME OF THE NATION’S WORST VIOLENCE. HE WAS THE GUIDING FORCE BEHIND ONE OF THE MOST RADICAL AND INFLUENTIAL JOURNALS OF ITS TIME. THE TRIBUNE’S CRUSADE LED TO BLACK ENFRANCHISEMENT, THE CREATION OF A GROUNDBREAKING STATE CONSTITUTION WITH STRONG EQUAL RIGHTS PROVISIONS, AND THE ELECTION OF MANY BLACK REPRESENTATIVES. THE VISION OF DR. ROUDANEZ, ARTICULATED IN PRINT AND MANIFESTED IN SOCIAL PROTEST, FORGED ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT CIVIL RIGHTS CAMPAIGNS IN AMERICAN HISTORY.

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Map

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, Alley 9, New Orleans, LA. ~ Entry to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is restricted to sanctioned tour groups.