RELIGION

New Orleans' oldest cemetery to bar solo tourists, citing vandalism of above-ground crypts

  • Emily Ford, a restoration consultant for the organization Save Our Cemeteries, works to remove graffiti from the tomb of Marie Laveau inside St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. The historic New Orleans cemetery that may have started the city's tradition of above-ground crypts will soon be off-limits to tourists on their own because of repeated vandalism among the tombs, the Roman Catholic archdiocese that owns the property has announced. Starting in March, entry to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and its labyrinth of mausoleums will be restricted to the relatives of the dead buried there and to tourists whose guide is registered with the Archdiocese of New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

    Emily Ford, a restoration consultant for the organization Save Our Cemeteries, works to remove graffiti from the tomb of Marie Laveau inside St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. The historic New Orleans cemetery that may have started the city's tradition of above-ground crypts will soon be off-limits to tourists on their own because of repeated vandalism among the tombs, the Roman Catholic archdiocese that owns the property has announced. Starting in March, entry to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and its labyrinth of mausoleums will be restricted to the relatives of the dead buried there and to tourists whose guide is registered with the Archdiocese of New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)  (The Associated Press)

  • Visitors take photos of the tomb of Marie Laveau inside St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. The historic New Orleans cemetery that may have started the city's tradition of above-ground crypts will soon be off-limits to tourists on their own because of repeated vandalism among the tombs, the Roman Catholic archdiocese that owns the property has announced. Starting in March, entry to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and its labyrinth of mausoleums will be restricted to the relatives of the dead buried there and to tourists whose guide is registered with the Archdiocese of New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

    Visitors take photos of the tomb of Marie Laveau inside St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. The historic New Orleans cemetery that may have started the city's tradition of above-ground crypts will soon be off-limits to tourists on their own because of repeated vandalism among the tombs, the Roman Catholic archdiocese that owns the property has announced. Starting in March, entry to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and its labyrinth of mausoleums will be restricted to the relatives of the dead buried there and to tourists whose guide is registered with the Archdiocese of New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)  (The Associated Press)

  • Visitors walk past an unmarked tomb, that has been marked with graffiti, because it is said to be mistaken for Marie Laveau's tomb, at St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015.  The historic New Orleans cemetery that may have started the city's tradition of above-ground crypts will soon be off-limits to tourists on their own because of repeated vandalism among the tombs, the Roman Catholic archdiocese that owns the property has announced. Starting in March, entry to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and its labyrinth of mausoleums will be restricted to the relatives of the dead buried there and to tourists whose guide is registered with the Archdiocese of New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

    Visitors walk past an unmarked tomb, that has been marked with graffiti, because it is said to be mistaken for Marie Laveau's tomb, at St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. The historic New Orleans cemetery that may have started the city's tradition of above-ground crypts will soon be off-limits to tourists on their own because of repeated vandalism among the tombs, the Roman Catholic archdiocese that owns the property has announced. Starting in March, entry to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and its labyrinth of mausoleums will be restricted to the relatives of the dead buried there and to tourists whose guide is registered with the Archdiocese of New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)  (The Associated Press)

A historic New Orleans cemetery that may have started the city's tradition of above-ground crypts will soon be off-limits to tourists on their own because of repeated tomb vandalism.

Starting in March, entry to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 will be restricted to relatives of those buried there and others accompanied by a tour guide registered with the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, which owns the property.

Spokeswoman Sarah McDonald says some unlicensed guides encourage people to deface tombs. She says other people have littered and camped out there.

And in late 2012, someone covered the reputed tomb of voodoo priestess Marie Laveau with pink paint.

Tour companies will have to show insurance and a city license, and pay the archdiocese up to $5,400 a year.