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Discreet repairs and enhancements for masonry structures.
New Orleans Cemetery No.1
Location: New Orleans, LA
Age/Built: Built 1789
Key Topics: Stabilization of Historic Structures, Testing and Analysis

Project Background:

  • St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is New Orleans’ most renowned cemetery, a popular tourist destination, and a member of the National Register of Historic Places
  • The burial site of historical figures such as architect and engineer Benjamin Latrobe as well as the reputed resting place for the infamous voodoo queen, Marie Laveau
  • After attracting thousands of tourists annually, deterioration and a rise in vandalism forced this historic location to close its gates to the public
  • Masonry Solutions was contracted by the Archdiocese of New Orleans to perform extensive repairs before reopening the cemetery for tourism
Challenges Presented:
  • The perimeter walls had suffered severe deterioration of both brick and mortar, becoming unstable
  • Vandalism  caused extensive damage to the top of the wall including loose and missing masonry capping
  • MSI’s intervention had to leave the walls principally unaltered, while endeavoring to avoid disturbance to burial sites within work areas
Services and Solutions:
  • MSI technicians used fiber-optic borescoping and ground penetrating radar to non-destructively evaluate the level of deterioration and any underlying structural conditions
  • After uncovering significant voids, internal deterioration, and moisture damage,  Masonry Solutions’ laboratory engineers developed a compatible injection material, one that would repair these issues while mitigating the need for future intervention
  • Stainless steel wall ties were installed by MSI techs prior to injection in order to provide lateral reinforcement of the wall, and to ensure the wythes would not separate over time
  • MSI techs, utilizing a low pressure injection system carefully injected over 8,000 square feet, providing a historically sensitive yet long lasting repair
  • Utilizing years of heritage masonry expertise, missing bricks were replaced and mortar was matched seamlessly where repointing was required
  • MSI techs finished this project by leveling and sealing the masonry capping to ensure no further moisture damage would occur
  • Once complete, further NDE was carried out to ensure that voided areas were fully repaired
  • Throughout Masonry Solutions’ speedy execution, the utmost care and respect was given to the sensitive nature of this work