Plan to deal with flooding cemetery
BELLE ROSE - A plan to fix a flooding issue that plagued a town's cemetery is underway.
Parish leaders have acted on an idea to divert rising water to other areas. The move will protect Rosehill Baptist Cemetery.
The cemetery flooded so badly on May 28, some families had to rebury their loved ones since water lifted some crypts out of the ground and they floated away or were destroyed.
In attempt to save some of them, people put sandbags on top of grave sites. Tuesday, some crypts were still held down by sandbags.
"You don't wish this on your worst enemy," said Assumption Police Juror Henry Dupre. "To bury a loved one twice is just unimaginable. I can't even put it in words the feelings they must have."
The cemetery, off Highway 998, had about a foot of water surrounding crypts and headstones when it flooded. About 20 crypts moved from their final resting place. Twice this summer people had to deal with the possibility a flood would ruin the cemetery.
Since, part of a dormant railroad track has been removed to make way for a new flood canal. Union Pacific owns the line and worked with the parish on the project.
"The canal will help alleviate some of the water in the present area of the cemetery," said Dupre.
The parish will install culverts under roadways to help with drainage and crews will begin digging the canal soon.
People who visit the cemetery to pay respects and mourn the passing of loved ones who are entombed there are ready for a dry change.
"It's okay now, but thinking water is still rising, anything could happen," said Cindy Williams, who has family buried in the cemetery.
Michael Brown, the grounds keeper at Rosehill, said things are slowly coming together.
"It was in a pretty bad state, but we've been working diligently to get it back in order and presentable for loved ones to visit," said Brown.
The drainage project is expected to be complete in four to six weeks. The parish says it will keep up with maintenance to prevent future flooding.