One Louisiana Team is Still Looking for Caskets Unearthed by Ida
It may seem like a long time ago when Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, but for some residents - the effects of this devastating storm are still as real today as they were when the evacuation notices went out.
Obviously, the second most destructive storm to ever hit our state (2005's Hurricane Katrina was the worst) brought Mother Nature's Fury to our doorstep and caused a massive amount of damage. While the loss of life, infrastructure, houses, businesses, and the like are terrible - they are far from the only bad news this storm had to offer.
One of the more macabre side effects of the incredible force applied by the 100+ mph winds and rushing floodwaters is the damage the elements visited upon cemeteries in Ida's path. Although caskets are buried 6-feet deep and above-ground tombs are made from concrete, there's air inside them - and that makes them buoyant, meaning they could literally float away. Unfortunately, many final resting places were disturbed and some were even displaced altogether. In some cases, these remains have yet not been found.
According to The Intelligencer, Louisiana's Cemetery Response Task Force has been diligently working to find and re-bury these coffins and move ousted crypts and tombs back to their intended plots - and it isn't a speedy process. Some of the caskets come to rest in difficult to get to places (like coastal marshes, wedged under stairwells, wooded areas, etc.) - but the hardest part is sometimes identifying who's inside.
Identification is essential for families to get the available Federal Emergency Management Agency aid for reburial costs. Unfortunately, determining the identity of the deceased isn't easy because DNA analysis and dental records can't always be used. The task force is relying on indicators like a "memory tube" containing information about the deceased that is sometimes screwed into the coffin itself or identifying items in the casket placed there by a loved one. In one case, a grandmother was identified by the marbles placed inside by her grandchildren because of her love for the game.
Just imagine having to bury your loved one twice. Please pray for our South Louisiana neighbors who are having to go through the grieving process for a second time.