I am back in New Orleans and back in the heat. Today’s bike ride to Mid City was scorching. Well, less scorching and more melting, I suppose. I had to stop for a huge bottle of Gatorade before crossing under the freeway, fearful I might throw up with the combination of close call (nobody seems to expect to see a bike on this particular stretch of Carrollton) and dehydration. Properly hydrated, though, the ride was delightful. Just as I was approaching today’s coffee shop I noticed this cemetery. I seem to notice them a lot these days. I’m not sure if it’s all the time spent with A., or just that New Orleans in particular keeps its dead present. Whatever the case, I find these places terribly beautiful and interesting. St. Louis 3 is very different from St. Louis 1, which I have visited before. The crypts are in better condition, and there are many more contemporary deaths memorialized here, at least that was my impression. I’m not sure if this is a matter of its Mid City rather than Treme location or if it is simply a newer cemetery (it was founded in 1854).
Today my eye caught this sign selling space in the St. Leo the Great mausoleum. The historic nature of the cemeteries here had I think helped me forget that people are still dying–well, that remains clear here in NOLA–but also that there still need to be places for the dead to rest. And then I noticed the newer family crypts, all shiny with readable inscriptions, and thought about this part of family. Family, according to this place, is who you die with, who, no matter the years in between, your body will rest with. Purchasing a space crossed my mind, but with it the idea that I don’t have family just in the sense of shared last name, and I’m not sure this particular cemetery has room for my family, room for what it might mean for me, this dying. On that note I walked out, respectfully past a funeral taking place, hopped on my bike, and headed to the coffee shop where I reengaged my work on what it means to live.