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Restoration process underway at New Iberia cemetery damaged by Delta

Posted at 8:17 PM, Apr 30, 2021

St. Matthew's Cemetery in New Iberia is involved in a project that began back in October to restore graves damaged during the storm. Now, more than six months later, progress has been made, but there's still a long way to go.

Patricia Wesley and her husband are among many who have family members buried here, and were devastated when they found out the graves were destroyed during Delta.

When she saw the number of graves that were damaged, she knew something had to be done to restore the bodies back to a dignified resting place.

"Once I saw his brother and his brother's mother...their bodies were just lying out in the elements. It was raining, the graves were destroyed, and the bodies were just strewn all over the place," said Patricia, who is spearheading the restoration project.

Wesley says FEMA can no longer provide funds to help restore the graves until each family member submits a claim. The problem comes with trying to locate the family members, so Wesley is reaching out to the community for help.

Edward Charles Henry, who owns Chucky's Vaults, was brought in to help with the restoration, and says that when the funds ran out, he couldn't just stop.

"I know a lot of these families and it hurts me in my heart to see something like that," said Henry. "I came out here and I saw animals in the vaults and body parts everywhere and demolished vaults, and I said, 'Well, let me do what I have to do' and I got a certain amount of money, so I started working. And I'm still going. I'm just hoping that I can keep it going."

Wesley encourages you to find out if you have family here, whether you're from the area or not, and then submit a free claim to FEMA to help continue the restoration progress in St. Matthew's Cemetery.

For more information on how to submit a claim, click here.

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