The cemetery and its chapel are the only ones in the United States dedicated to St. Roch, the fourteenth-century French saint who ministered to plague sufferers. German immigrant Father Peter Thevis of Holy Trinity Church purchased the land to build the cemetery and chapel in thanks to St. Roch for saving his congregation from the devastating yellow fever epidemic of 1867 (3,107 people died in New Orleans that year). The interior of the diminutive stuccoed brick Gothic Revival chapel is dimly lit by tall narrow windows, and its lower walls are faced with metal panels painted in imitation of wood. The cemetery, laid out like the Campo Santo dei Tedeschi, the German cemetery in Rome, is surrounded by a brick outer wall containing vaults and chapel-like niches for almost life-size sculptures of the Stations of the Cross that were installed in 1948. Two sturdy castellated Gothic Revival towers guard the cemetery’s entrance. An extension to the cemetery and St. Michael’s Mausoleum were added soon afterward.
Nearby at 1835 St. Roch Avenue is the cruciform Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, which faces the two-block-long St. Roch Playground.