'I'm going to have to bury him again;' gravesites affected by floodwater

Disinterred caskets found scattered as gravesites affected by floodwater

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - What do you do when you lose everything to floods and then find that your loved one's final resting spot has been lost, too? It's a question that many families are unfortunately asking.

"I wasn't ready for this at all," said Maria Bragg.

Maria Bragg's son, who died in 2014, was laid to rest at Plainview Cemetery in Denham Springs where generations of Bragg's family have been buried.

When the waters finally receded from Denham Springs, she discovered his burial site was just a water filled hole. Dozens of caskets and stone burial vaults were scattered around the cemetery like dominoes. Bragg isn't even sure which casket belongs to her son.

"It's like I'm going to have to bury him again," Bragg said.

The disinterred caskets are yet another devastating example of the destruction of floodwaters. Parish officials said it's important that each disturbed gravesite is immediately reported, so the proper agencies can work to protect any caskets, identify remains and return them to their resting place.

"You want to do that for the family members as quickly as possible. You're already going through a tremendous devastation of storm and other things, and then for that to happen, that's just very, very personal. We try to take care of that as fast as possible," said Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks.

Cemeteries fall under the jurisdiction of the state Attorney General's Office and the State Cemetery Board. Anyone who discovers a loved one's grave has been affected or comes across a disinterred casket can contact the AG's office at (800)-351-4889 or the State Cemetery Board at 504-838-5267 or 1-866-488-5267.

In the meantime, officials ask that the public cover any caskets with tarps.

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