Cristoforo Colombo Society Tomb

Perched atop the Societa Cristoforo Colombo tomb, a life size statue of the great Italian navigator, Christopher Columbus, points toward the New World. In the centuries to come, many Italians followed him to America, but not all achieved his station in life. Many of these Italians, and other nationalities as well, formed fraternal or benevolent societies that were patterned after American organizations such as the Elks and the Masons. These societies, besides being a place to gather and talk, contracted with doctors and hospitals to provide access to basic medical care. The majority of the societies also provided a place of burial at a modest cost. By their nature, the society tombs had a finite amount of space, so one’s stay in a crypt was a temporary affair. After an appropriate duration the deceased’s bones were scooped up and placed in a separate chamber. Sometimes these bone warehouses, known as ossuaries, were part of the tomb and other times they were off site.

There are only a few active society tombs in New Orleans today. The Cristoforo Colombo Society is no longer active and this tomb has been refurbished and converted to a community mausoleum where occupants are now guaranteed a permanent residence.
Photos and text © Douglas Keister Visit Doug’s Author Page

[address cemetery=”Metairie Cemetery” street=”5101 Pontchartrain Boulevard” city=”New Orleans” state=”Louisiana” zip=”70124″]

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