For more information and updates about how New Orleans is addressing the Covid-19 outbreak – including restaurants that are currently open for takeout and delivery – please visit
No, thanks

Get the LOCAL Perspective!

Find hidden gems and get insider information on NOLA’s best restaurants, bars, attractions, and events every week.


GoNOLA Find: The Grave of E.J. Bellocq in St. Louis Cemetery No. 3

One of the most unique features of New Orleans are our famous above-ground cemeteries. Building on swampy lands, below sea-level, New Orleanians have had to adapt over the years, and our stone crypts and mausoleums are a direct result of that adaptation to our environment. New Orleans’ cemeteries host a plethora of interesting characters from the city’s history, including the “Voodoo Queen” Marie Laveau, as well as photographer, E.J. Bellocq.

Bellocq's grave in St. Louis Cemetery No. 3. Image courtesy
Bellocq’s grave in St. Louis Cemetery No. 3. (Photo courtesy of

Bellocq’s grave is located in St. Louis Cemetery No. 3, just off Esplanade Avenue, near Bayou St. John. John Ernest Joseph Bellocq was born in 1873, the son of a wealthy white French Creole family. He became famous for his photographs of Storyville prostitutes during the early 20th century. When Bellocq passed away in 1949, many of his negatives and prints were destroyed. The Storyville portraits that Bellocq is so famous for surfaced years after his death, when they were purchased and exhibited by Lee Friedlander in the early 1970s. The portraits are notable not only because they show a hidden glimpse of the life of Storyville madams, but they are also some of the only surviving images of what the interior of these businesses looked like, before the Storyville brothels were razed in the 1930s to make way for the Iberville Housing Project.

One of E.J. Bellocq's most famous portraits of a Storyville madam, circa 1915. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
One of E.J. Bellocq’s most famous portraits of a Storyville madam, circa 1915. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Bellocq explored many off-the-beaten-track areas of New Orleans with his camera, including the opium dens of Chinatown. His photos from those excursions, much like Chinatown itself, no longer exist. (While New Orleans was once home to the largest Chinatown in the Southern U.S., it was diminished in the 1930s to make way for the Tulane Medical Center.) Bellocq also worked as a professional photographer, capturing more traditional subjects on film, such as landmarks, ships and machinery, for local companies as well as the Louisiana State Museum.

These days you can visit Bellocq at his final resting place, inside St. Louis Cemetery No. 3. It’s a short walk from City Park and the end of the Canal Streetcar line, as well as a frequent stop for group tours.

Mallory Whitfield is an artist, speaker, and author based in New Orleans. In 2016, she was honored to be included in the 19th class of Gambit’s 40 Under 40, which salutes the brightest innovators, artists, and professionals in New Orleans. She currently hosts the Badass Creatives podcast, which features marketing and business advice for creatives, as well as interviews with a diverse range of handmade artists, performers, makers, and creative entrepreneurs. During Mardi Gras, you can usually find her parading with Noisician Coalition in Muses or with The 501st Legion in Tucks.

Up Next:

Book Your Trip