St. Peter Street Cemetery (Introduction)

Stop 1 of 13 on The City Beneath the City: Archaeology of New Orleans tour
Stop 1 of 4 on the St. Peter Street Cemetery tour

The St. Peter Street Cemetery was one of the city’s first formal burial grounds, eventually occupying the entirety of the city block bounded by N. Rampart, St. Peter, Burgundy, and Toulouse Streets. It is shown on maps by the mid-1720s, and, even though it was formally closed in 1789, it remained in use into the 1790s. The block was subdivided and sold for development around 1800, but, because of disagreements over ownership between the Catholic Church and the Cabildo, or city government, it appears that few if any of those interred in the cemetery were moved before new construction began.

Over the years, human remains have been discovered numerous times on the block, often with little documentation of what happened to them afterwards. Burials from the St. Peter Street Cemetery have been recovered by archaeologists on two occasions. The first was by accident in 1984, when an unknown number of graves were disturbed by construction before authorities were notified. Archaeologists were eventually allowed to salvage the remains of at least 29 individuals from the site. The second, in 2011, came when a local property owner contacted archaeologists prior to building a swimming pool on a property being renovated. As a result, at least 20 graves were identified, and the remains of 15 people were recovered. They were eventually reburied in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.

For more information about archaeology at the St. Peter Street Cemetery, please visit the St. Peter Street Cemetery tour.

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Map

600 N. Rampart Street, New Orleans, LA ~ Private Property