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

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.