Hurricane Dislodged Coffins and Scattered Bodies Across Louisiana

Associated Press writer, Doug Simpson, gives yet another example of the awsome power that comes with hurricanes. For people that have never had to go through a hurricane, their only link to what happens, is what they are able to see in the media or what is relayed through people that live in those zones of destruction. For Hurricane Rita, the MSM concentrated on the catagory of the hurricane, the wind speed, location of the landing, and hypothetical questions of what might happen if this or that were to happen.

A universal sigh of fake relief came from the MSM, as the storm reduced in wind speed. They talked about how much worse it could have been and a lot of people were spared. After the storm passed, the vultures started circling to get the film of the destruction that was complete in some areas, to the apparent joy of the MSM.

Rita was not a catagory 3 hurricane when it pushed a storm surge into southeast LA, but wind is not the only part of a storm like Rita. Water is a force that is not to be taken lightly. This story shows that not being in the zone of the highest winds, does not necessarily exclude you from destruction. In Terrebonne Parish this same scene was played out by the storm surge, whole crypts were lifted up and moved by the power of water.

Here are some quips from the story:

First the floodwaters dislodged massive burial vaults from the earth. Then the vaults yawned open, and out floated hundreds of coffins. And when the coffins opened, their contents drifted away, too.

Along with the despair they brought to the living, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita also evicted the dead from what were supposed to be their final resting places, scattering skeletal remains across the region in a ghastly spectacle.

Now forensic anthropologists are busy trying to identify the remains and return them to their graves, some of which date to the 19th century.

In all, the state health department said it has learned of about 1,000 coffins dislodged by the storms, not all of them found yet.

Every parish along Louisiana’s coast has reported burial vaults picked up and moved by storm waters, either after Katrina hit Aug. 29, or after Rita struck on Sept. 24, Cataldie said.

In Louisa, a remote community near the Gulf Coast, small St. Helen’s Cemetery was among the hardest hit: About 60 tombs were pulled from their plots, Sheriff David Naquin said. About a dozen blocked a highway before they were moved by sheriff’s deputies.

“It’s like putting a jigsaw puzzle together,” Naquin said. “We still have some pieces missing.”

Hurricane Rita brought a powerful storm surge of up to 9 feet to Louisiana, forcing vaults out of the ground and pulling their lids. Naquin said several vaults weighing an estimated 600 pounds were found nearly a half-mile from St. Helen’s Cemetery.

The remains are being analyzed at the same morgue set up in the town of St. Gabriel to handle the corpses of the more than 1,000 people killed by Katrina.

The anthropologists are looking for such things as identifying pieces of jewelry and are also taking X-rays, examining the teeth and extracting DNA in hopes of putting names on the dead.

Hurricanes down here, are to us, what earthquakes, volcanos, and blizzards are to people in other areas of the country. While we don’t have to live through those other disasters, we feel for those people, and we never can really understand what they go through. Only through avenues other than the media, can we really get the human side of the story. That is, until the MSM decides to buckle down and do their job, and get down to the real meat and potatoes of the story. We see all the time, when you try to be like Doug Simpson, and tell a story that relays the everyday dealings of people after the storm is gone, the MSM would rather run out to get the next big Blood And Guts story.

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8 Responses to Hurricane Dislodged Coffins and Scattered Bodies Across Louisiana

  1. Tales of the Crypt! Wow, I was wondering if anyone from the MSM would actually report this.

  2. Ginny in CO says:


    I was wondering about this a while back but hadn’t heard anything. I decided the living were taking the attention and eventually we would hear about it. The experience of seeing a community you know so well be destroyed, has to be on the same level as a war zone.

    Remember the e mail from the lawyer talking about all the damaged records, etc?
    Saw an MSM piece today with a court representative taking the camera crew through the records and evidence areas – all pretty much destroyed. Some charges. including firearms crimes, will have to be withdrawn.

    Well, another aspect of Katrina that will not let it fade quickly – even if the media attention dissipates. It will be brought back again and again.

  3. I was suprised when I ran across this in my local paper. This is only the second time that I have seen anything on the subject. The only other thing I saw about it, was on HTV here in Houma. Dulac was one of the bayou communities around here with graves that got moved. So I was aware of it before I found this artical.

    Ginny mentioned one of her friends that came down and described the area to her. I’m sure Bush had a wet dream when the earthquake happened and got the cameras off the storms for a while. But as you say, this will not just go away any time soon.

  4. Marjorie G says:

    With the adminstration doing what it can to hide the death figures with its own mortuary service and military orders, wanting to somehow hide the crime and disaster, now this to add to the murkiness.

    I can’t imagine the feeling of having your history and your future so ripped up, literally, from so deep in the ground. I have never visited the bronze plates and graves of my parents in a difficult place to get to in Sharon, on the outskirts of Boston, where I go so rarely. That’s not how I see them. But I can’t imagine the thought of the site disturbed with one more indignity after cancer. Very unsettling, and some other families have regular visits and take great comfort of being able to visit.

  5. Ginny in CO says:


    I had a fantasy after the earthquake. Bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan a lot. He would get buried in the rubble. And when the next hurricane hits, W will go down too soon and that photojournalist is going to have to make a decision on color or B&W 🙂

    I don’t wish for things – as the Chinese warn, sometimes they come true!

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