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Allen Parish family outraged after being denied burial plot

Posted at 10:19 PM, Jan 27, 2021

Madison and Shayla Semien were left in shock when they recently visited Oaklin Spring Cemetery near Oakdale to get a plot for their father, Darrell Semien.

"She just looked us cold in the face, and straight up said, 'I can't sell you a plot,'" Madison said.

"She said, 'Unfortunately I'm unable to sell you a plot, this graveyard is not for people of color, it's white human being cemetery only,'" Shayla added.

According to the Semiens, the woman at the cemetery had a contract in her hands, which read, "The Right of Burial of the Remains of White Human Beings."

"She had this paperwork in her hand that she said was drawn up 70 plus years ago," added Shayla. "If we really wanted to have him buried here, we would have to get board approval because he was a colored man."

The Oaklin Springs Cemetery Board president is aware of the incident.

"I'm still very ashamed of what happened," stated Creig Vizena. "Who wouldn't be?"

Vizena says the contract was written in the 1950s when the cemetery was first opened and changes will be made.

"I promise you, it will be fixed," he added.

But the Semiens say the damage is done and their father deserved better.

"My dad wasn't any man, he was a phenomenal man," said Shayla. "He was a police officer in this same community for 15 years. He was denied a place to lay because of the color of his skin."

The employee who denied the Semien family burial has been fired and the cemetery offered the family a plot, but they declined.

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