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New Orleans is well known for the unique way in which its dead are buried – in above ground cemeteries and mausoleums. Because much of the city is at or below sea level, there is a high water table in the soil. If a body or coffin is placed in an in-ground tomb in New Orleans, there is risk of it being water-logged or even displaced from the ground. For this reason, the people of New Orleans have generally used above-ground tombs. Over the years as designs have evolved, these tombs have become architecturally, culturally, and historically distinct.