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Tombs, caskets washed away from resting place in Lafitte cemeteries

Graves are on top of each other, leaning, and in some cases missing completely from the cemetery.

LAFITTE, La. — As the water rose in Lafitte during Ida, it picked up caskets and tombs with it.

Now, loved ones are missing from their resting place and the Louisiana Cemetery Task Force is working to put them back.

"It's a disaster to see it the way it is," Norman Bouisse said.

Bouisse lives next to the Adams Cemetery in Lafitte.

"You can see it's leaning," he said pointing to a grave. "Pretty much every time we get high water most of the graves pop out and they have to put them back in place. It's been like that for years."

Across the bayou, his mother and brother are buried. He hasn't been able to check yet, but worries he could find the same there.

"The water was just as high or higher," he said.

Graves are on top of each other, leaning, and in some cases missing completely from the cemetery.

"There's some here and there, under peoples houses, front yards, back yards," Troy Bolotte said.

Bolotte was helping his uncle clean out his home across the street from Coulon Cemetery where a shed and car have invaded the cemetery. One grave is completely on its side and another landed across the street under a home.

"Usually for a big storm like this, the water pressure, because the coffins are water tight, the water pushes them up because of that trapped air that’s in it, they start floating after a while," Bolotte said.

The Louisiana Cemetery Task Force flew over the cemeteries on Thursday and counted at least 15 or 20 caskets out of place. They haven't yet assessed damage from a ground view, but believe when they do, that number will go up.

"You just have to identify them. I know in the past some of them didn’t have no name tags in them so you had to open them up. I think there was a name tag in the inside," Bolotte said.

The entire process is difficult for families.

"Oh yea," Bouisse said. "Seeing your loved ones like that."

The Louisiana Cemetery Task Force believes four cemeteries in Lafitte were impacted along with two in Plaquemines Parish. If you find a casket out of place, contact them at 225-937-5707.

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