Family shocked by cemetery destruction - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Family shocked by cemetery destruction

By Paul Gates - bio | email

BUECHE, LA (WAFB) - It's been almost three months since Hurricane Gustav blew through south Louisiana. The storm caused major damage to one small cemetery. 

Gustav brought down a huge tree that crushed open caskets at the cemetery on River Road near Bueche, Louisiana. A couple on an afternoon drive noticed the damage and was shocked at what they saw.

Robert Ramey and his wife were out for a Sunday drive recently along River Road. They stopped to visit a cemetery they spotted, something they've done on worldwide travels. What they saw here though was not interesting or informative. It was shocking. "Oh, just horrified, just absolutely, just taken aback. We left, thinking what can we do? We need to do something. That's when I emailed you," Robert Ramey said.

A news crew went to the cemetery and saw what the Ramey's saw, damage believed to have been caused by Hurricane Gustav. A huge tree had fallen and smashed open concrete vaults and caskets. The skeletal remains outlining the pelvic bone and the vertebra of a corpse were clear to see. Clothing of some kind were twisted around the decomposed legs and bones of a small, frail person. There was also a skull floating in a water filled casket.

We contacted state Assistant Attorney General Ryan Seidemann. An effort is underway to try to remedy this situation. "We were asked by the cemetery board to get in touch with the coroner's office in West Baton Rouge Parish to look into this and see if there's anything we can do to assist. That's what we intend to do," said Seidemann.

Robert Ramey feels strongly about the problem. "This needs to be cleaned up. These people need to have a new and respectable burial right here in this same place." There may be some doubt about whether Hurricane Gustav caused the tree to fall, but it's the only answer right now. There is absolutely no evidence of vandalism or grave robbing here. We understand the West Baton Rouge Coroner's Office, which is run by Yancyi Guerin, intends to gather the remains for protection.

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