FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ABOUT THE ST. ANDREW'S COLUMBARIUM
What is a columbarium? Columbarium is a term derived from the Latin word Columba, or dove, a symbol of God's spirit and peace. It is a structure, often a vault or wall, with niches for urns containing the cremated remains of the dead.
What is a Memorial Garden? The garden has a shared common site for the ashes of the deceased with a memorial plaque for each deceased buried there. No urn is required.
Why should I choose the Columbarium or Memorial Garden at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, New Orleans for myself or my family? Historically, Christians have laid the dead to rest in churches, where they are remembered and their remains safeguarded. Burial within the church itself or in the adjacent churchyard was once a common practice. The Columbarium and Memorial Garden at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church offer a final resting place for parishioners and their loved ones, and a place to honor the memory of the deceased.
Where is the Columbarium located? It is located on the outside wall of the Oak Street side of the Church. Currently there are 30 double niches for a total of 60 urns.
Who is eligible for burial or memorial plaques? The niches/memorial plaques are restricted to the cremated remains of present and former parishioners, rectors, and their immediate family members; as well as present and former students of St. Andrew's Episcopal School and St. Andrew's Episcopal Cottage, their employees, and their immediate families. The Rector (or in the absence or a rector the Priest-in-charge or Vestry) may grant eligibility to others who are meaningfully connected to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. No more niches may be reserved for a family than those necessary for the remains of all eligible persons in that family.
May I specify a desired niche/plaque location? Yes. Niche and plaque locations are selected and assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Upon payment, the subscriber may specify by number desired locations. The subscriber will receive a signed certificate for permanent use of the specified niche(s). Diagrams of the Columbarium and the Memorial Garden are available in the church office.
Could the remains or partial remains of more than one person be placed in a single urn, if that were the family's wish? No. Each niche is designated for two urns, each with one deceased.
How much does a niche subscription/memorial plaque cost? The one-time fee to reserve a niche in the Columbarium is $1,500.00. The fee includes the inurnment(s) in the reserved niche and ongoing care for the Columbarium. The fee does not include the cost of cremation, the urn or the bronzed plaque and inscription on the granite niche cover. The niche subscription may be payable in total, or in three (3) payments of $500.00 to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. Memorial Plaques can be purchased for a one-time cost of $500.00 each. Cost of inscription is $5.00 per letter. Future changes in niche subscriptions/memorial plaques costs may be made by the Vestry of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church but will not impact those already purchased.
Can I customize the inscription on my or a family member's columbarium bronze plate? No. Due to both practical and aesthetic considerations inscriptions are limited to names and dates only using only one font.
Can I customize a memorial plaque? No. For practical and aesthetic considerations all plaques are a standard size 5 x 8 and the font used is the same. Each plaque can utilize one space.
Is some portion of the subscription cost counted toward my annual contribution to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church? No. No reference will appear on your St. Andrew's Episcopal Church quarterly statement of contributions.
Does the church earn a profit from my purchase of a niche or memorial plaque? All income from the purchase of niches and memorial plaques are placed in a separate bank account. The funds in that account are restricted to cover perpetual care for both Garden and Columbarium and expansion of Columbarium when needed.
Is some portion of the subscription cost of a niche tax deductible? St. Andrew's Episcopal Church recommends that you consult with your tax advisor on this point and offers no tax advice.
What if I buy a niche/memorial plaque and then eventually decide to make arrangements for burial someplace else? May I get a refund, or resell my niche/memorial plaque? No. St. Andrew's Episcopal Church will not issue refunds. However, if you discover that you don't need the niche/memorial plaque after you have purchased a subscription, you (or your heirs) must offer it first to St. Andrew's at your original purchase price. Then you may offer it to other eligible parishioners.
Will visitors have access to the Columbarium/Memorial Garden outside of regular church hours? No. For security reasons, the courtyard containing the Columbarium/Memorial Garden does not remain open after church hours. However the church is open to visitors during church services on Sunday and at the time of any other service being held in the church. In the event of special circumstances, visitation arrangements other than during church hours can be made by contacting the church office.
Will visitors be allowed to leave flowers or other forms of memorial at the Columbarium/Memorial Garden? Any items left may be removed and disposed of by the church without notice or liability.
Is St. Andrew's Episcopal Church pledging to tend the Columbarium/Memorial Garden in perpetuity? No, but as long as St. Andrew's exists (established in 1903), it will use its best efforts to protect the Columbarium, the ashes interred, the urns, and the memorial markers from damage or destruction.
What would happen if St. Andrew's Episcopal Church is ever decommissioned? Property and responsibility for it will revert to the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana.
There are a limited number of niches and space set aside for memorial plaques. How will St. Andrew's Episcopal Church accommodate future generations who wish to be inurned here? There is additional room on the Oak Street side of the church to build additional niches. We look to see a total of 90 niches built in future years as the need arises. The memorial plaques will be placed on the brick wall facing the Columbarium and then can expand around the corner on the brick wall facing the school yard.
Who owns the niches? St Andrew's Episcopal Church owns the Columbarium and all niches. Niche reservation owners acquire no property rights in the Columbarium, any of its niches, or any of the church's property. The reservation confers only the right to inter the cremated remains of the designated person in the identified niche pursuant to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church's applicable policies and procedures as amended by the church from time to time.
How is the Columbarium/Memorial Garden administered? The Rector and Vestry at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church administer them through the Board (selected by the Vestry and Rector).
How may I obtain more information? If you have other questions, or would like additional information on the Columbarium and Memorial Garden, please contact the church office at (504) 866-1234 or speak with a Board member.