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St. Roch Cemeteries

On the map it looks like a long walk, but it isn't. Winding meander of a path along the neutral ground from the hipster haven of St. Roch Market (once a real market, now a food court) to the cemetery gates. You can almost see one, from the other.


Yes, even you, trendy gentry, living your faux-authentic life probably blissfully unaware that Marie Antoinette had a toy farm, liked to play peasant too. Even you will die.


Graffiti on the ground outside the St. Roch gate says, "God reunites the lovers", in French. There's a heart there too. The stark white orants atop the gateposts look sternly compassionate. "You get what you get," they seem to say, although not unkindly. "If death reunites you with some lost beloved, so much the better, but we guarantee nothing."


The miracle chapel, credited with so many rehabilitations, is being rehabbed itself. There are trucks, and scaffolding, and extension cords snaking amongst the tombs, and power washers blasting white-wash into blinding with the fury of all the tears shed here since 1874.


Still, turn a corner and you are quickly and completely in the gentle grip of the slightly denser gravity of a holy place. Alone with the soft breeze and the blue sky and the fading flowers, footsteps a slow, crunching meditation through the crowded, compact city of the dead.


Turn another corner. "Nice day to be in the cemetery, isn't it?" says the slightly fey man with the ZZ Top beard and overalls, hands full of sprigs of sparkly fake greenery, battered razor scooter leaning against the wall of "ovens".


It is.


more pics here

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