Floats and Tombs Dec11

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Floats and Tombs

You wouldn’t think of it at first, but Mardi Gras World and the Lafayette Cemetery have something in common. Both are repositories for the remains of the dead. Once a float has been used, it goes back to Mardi Gras World for reincarnation and according to legend some of the souls buried at Lafayette go on to have a second ghostly life haunting the streets of New Orleans. I’m not sure about reincarnation after death, but I do know that I would surely enjoy an Allison Gras World if there could be one. I love the idea of rolling myself into the warehouse for hibernation, getting a full year of artistic work done and then popping out for my big reveal. Instead I often feel like Sisyphus pushing the boulder up a hill when trying to create a metamorphosis for myself. After some contemplation, these monuments offered a subtle reminder that personal reinvention is possible, it just takes guts and dedication.

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The beginning of new faces

The beginning of new faces

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Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 is located in what now is the heart of the Garden District, between Washington, Sixth, Prytania, and Coliseum streets. This cemetery is the oldest of the seven municipal, city-operated cemeteries in New Orleans. Remains of about 1,100 family tombs and more than 7,000 people are buried in a single city block. Do the math, that’s multiple persons in each site. According to a local ordinance, as long as the previously deceased family member has been dead for at least two years, the remains of that person can be moved to a specially made burial bag and placed at the side or back of the vault. The coffin is then destroyed, and the vault is now ready for the newly deceased family member. Another notable fact is that due to the very high water table, to this day, unpredictable flooding still lifts the occasional coffin out of the ground.

Kinda creepy, kinda cool

Kinda creepy, kinda cool

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Puzzle like restoration

Puzzle like restoration

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