Located in the St. Roch neighborhood of New Orleans, this cemetery was established as St. Roch’s Campo Santo by Father Peter Leonard Thevis, pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in lower New Orleans. Construction of the cemetery, modeled after the Campo Santo dei Tedeschi in Rome, began in 1874. In 1876, the chapel was completed and dedicated, the cemetery opening on the feast day of St. Roch. The eastern section of the cemetery (St. Roch Cemetery No. 2) was added in 1895 across Music Street.
Completely surrounded by streets and sidewalks, the approximately four-acre, two-block cemetery is enclosed by wall vaults as is commonly seen in older New Orleans cemeteries. The earlier section was laid out in a cruciform plan, being divided into four equal quadrants by concrete pathways, the wider, major axis running east-west, and the minor axis running north-south. The tombs are arranged linearly within each quadrant. At the convergence of the two axes stands a crucifix atop a mound-shaped stone base. At the eastern end of the major axis is the chapel, the National Shrine of Saint Roch. A centrally-located entrance on the cemetery’s western boundary features iron gates framed by stone columns that are topped with angels. An entrance on the eastern edge is slightly off-center due to the location of the chapel. While the earlier section of the cemetery is completely surrounded by opaque walls, St. Roch Cemetery No. 2 features iron fencing along portions of its western and southern boundaries. Although its tombs are organized linearly, it lacks the cruciform plan of the earlier section. At its center is St. Michael’s Chapel, which also serves as a mausoleum. Both sections of the cemetery are characterized by a lack of plantings.