All Souls' Day in New Orleans

New Orleans is a great place to be for All Souls.  Back in the late sixties, when we were newlyweds, we saw the tombs in the old St. Louis Cemeteries being whitewashed by the descendants of the dead in preparation for All Souls.  (It was safe to go in the old cemeteries back then.)  We were visiting my favorite uncle and his family that week and met him for lunch one day at his office in the city and he took us to one of the cemeteries first, was telling us how a lot of those tombs are over 200 years old and descendants still come out to whitewash them and bring yellow chrysanthemums to them for All Souls.  There were quite a few people there whitewashing family mausoleums.

On All Souls Day we went with him and his younger kids to take yellow mums to my cousin Carol's grave.  She had died just three years before at the age of 8, very suddenly, and the cause of death was never determined.  She said she had a headache and then went into a coma, was dead within a day or so without regaining consciousness.  The whole extended family was distraught and shocked. 

The other time we were there for the week of All Saints and All Souls was in 1994,  attending an academic conference.  NOLA is a great place to have conferences and that one was in the classy old Hotel Monteleone on Royale Street and we were staying there, liked it much better than the Hyatt and other places we've stayed in our many trips there.  We don't drink much, so we don't care about Bourbon Street except as a place to watch people.  We care about the food, the music, the history, and the art museum and galleries, and we just like to walk around in the Quarter.  It's nice going to the Jesuit church for the noon Angelus, too.  New Orleans has a very European feel and is very Catholic, too.  It's my favorite U.S. city.

A couple of years ago I was telling some people here about the All Souls customs in NOLA and this woman who's from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, kept interrupting me to say that it was All Saints. 
I tried to explained that what I was saying is that the saints in heaven are honored on All Saints' Day on Nov. 1 and all the dead, including our family members, who are not canonized saints, though they may be in heaven, are honored on All Souls' Day, Nov. 2.  She kept arguing that I was wrong, finally insisted that the priests go out to bless the cemeteries on All Saints Day "and you can think what you like but I know because I lived there."  Whoa!

She was really angry about it, very rude, at that point so I just shut up.  I hadn't claimed anything at all about priests going to the cemeteries, just talked about the whitewashing of the old above-ground tombs and the custom of putting yellow chrysanthemums on graves, near tombs.  The thing is that she's not Catholic so I'd like to know if she had that right about the priests blessing tombs on All Saints Day. 

What say you, St. Louis and other Catholics who've lived in NOLA?

I'm sure not going to try to tell her anything about anything, if I ever have to see her again, but I'd like to know if she was right or wrong. 

Ya know, I lived in Louisiana for 4 years and never made it to New Orleans! :(

I was a broke college student with no car.

Someday I hope to make it to the French quarter. 

I have also told my kids, that when I die, I want "When the Saints Go Marching In" played in traditional New Orleans style as they leave the cemetery.  I have never seen this in person, but in videos & I think it is awesome!

I hope when I make it to New Orleans, I will remember this church and make it to Mass there!
(10-25-2010, 10:34 AM)Revixit Wrote: The thing is that she's not Catholic so I'd like to know if she had that right about the priests blessing tombs on All Saints Day. 

She is right. The tombs are indeed blessed on All Saints' Day.
(10-25-2010, 07:31 AM)St. Louis Wrote: These straw sub-deacons do assist in distributing Holy Communion.

That's horrible.
(10-25-2010, 05:50 PM)Resurrexi Wrote: That's horrible.

I'll freely admit that St. Patrick's does have some quirks. For instance, having the Asperges before the Procession, straw sub-deacons distributing Holy Communion, etc. Still, out of all the different churches in the Archdiocese that offer the TLM, St. Patrick's is by far the best. I don't think that the pastor does these things out of disobedience or to abuse the Mass.

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