NewsCovering Louisiana


Hurricane Ida in Louisiana: Caskets, vaults still displaced

Posted at 5:11 AM, Oct 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-12 11:05:05-04

LAFITTE — A Louisiana task force is working to gather vaults and caskets disrupted from their burial sites by Hurricane Ida and rebury them.

The storm came ashore on Aug. 29. Cemetery Response Task Force chairman Ryan Seidemann says members start surveying cemeteries as soon as they can after a storm to assess damage.

In some cases, storm surge or flooding from heavy rain can move the vaults so far that it's not immediately clear where they were buried. Often made of thousands of pounds of concrete or cinder block, vaults can have air pockets inside and the concrete itself can actually be more buoyant than people realize, Seidemann said.

“They float. They tend to go wherever the water goes. We’ve recovered them from yards, from levees, from underneath stairwells," he said. "There’s no rhyme or reason, really, to where they come to rest, and then it’s kind of our logistical problem to figure out how to get them out of there.”

In the aftermath of a hurricane, Seidemann says having remains displaced is like “opening up old wounds” for families, Seidemann said: “They’re going to have to go through the whole grieving process again."

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