Ernie K-Doe poses outside his Mother-In-Law Lounge during Jazz Fest in New Orleans in 2001. He died a few months later and was buried in St. Louis Cemetery No. 2.
Credit Courtesy of Rob Florence
Antoinette K-Doe (second from the left) stands with friends around a statue of her deceased husband, Ernie, at the St. Louis No. 2 tomb. Antoinette is buried in the tomb, and her mother — Ernie K-Doe's second and favorite mother-in-law, Leola Clark — is shown in the portrait. Clark is buried in the tomb, too.
Credit Masahiro Sumori / Wikimedia
Earl King on stage at the 1997 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He died a few years after Ernie K-Doe, and now the two share a tomb.
There's so much water in, around and underneath New Orleans, that the dead spend eternity in tombs above ground.
Most of the tombs now have a similar design: On top, there's space for a wooden coffin or two, and at the bottom lies a potpourri of decanted family remains. Sooner or later, whoever is up high must vacate and settle lower, making room for the newly dead. That's how families stay together — in a desiccated jumble of grandpas, grandmas, siblings and cousins.