There's something about walking around a cemetery at night, under nothing but the light of the full moon, that really gets my senses going. I used to house sit for one of my mom's friends who lives right on Fairway Drive. Their back yard literally opens up to the cemetery. The had a little treehouse-like tower that was perfect for sitting back with a glass of wine and watching the sunset over the gravestones. On an almost nightly basis I would open the back gate and explore the cemetery in the darkness. I never even brought a flashlight.
Metairie Cemetery is unlike the rest of the New Orleans cemeteries in a couple of ways...it is perfectly maintained and it is nowhere near any undesirable neighborhoods. Meaning, aside from the ghosts, it is very safe to explore at all hours. I loved bringing friends out there, and it always surprised me when they got so freaked out. Even my most masculine of buds was hesitant to wander through this graveyard at night.
I don't know what it is, but I've always been fascinated by cemeteries. And we're lucky in New Orleans to have some of the most unique, and beautiful. Wandering through these "Cities of the Dead" at night stirs my imagination like little else can. It's dead quiet...your senses start to pick up the most faint of sounds, your eyes adjust and almost become night vision goggles. Your body is on high alert...and it should be- you're walking through a city of dead people at night.
All that being said, it actually relaxes me. I walk through these graves staring at the names and dates, trying to imagine the lives of these people I've never met. I try to imagine the tragedy of burying a child, or a wife that died in childbirth. The grief that took place right where I stand makes me contemplate the meaning of my own life. Some stones are extremely poetic. Some brief. Some are still littered with gifts and fresh flowers, years after their loved ones have departed. Who keeps coming back?
Anyway, it had been far too long since I had walked through this cemetery at night, and so on a recent clear evening under a relatively full moon, I made my way back out and enjoyed a perfectly peaceful stroll through one of my favorite places on earth. Enjoy the photographs.