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Tombs crumbling, caskets exposed at Baton Rouge graveyard

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BATON ROUGE - Dale Rogers' brother is buried in the Sweet Olive Cemetery in Baton Rouge.

"I come on All Saints Day and clean up around him and spend time with him," Roger said.

But this time, she could hardly find her brother's grave. It's severely overgrown, and Rogers was concerned about even entering the graveyard because of roofing materials scattered all over the place.

"And it's bad for someone to throw shingles in a graveyard," Rogers said.

Her brother's grave is not even the worst example. Crumbling tombs and exposed caskets can also be found throughout the graveyard. A large plastic bag sits next to one vault, filled with bricks taken off the burial tomb.

"Anyone who does this to a place of peace, where people are resting in their grave, they should be arrested," Rogers said.

Sweet Olive is not a perpetual care cemetery, which automatically generates funding to pay for upkeep, so it must rely on donations and volunteers to help with maintenance.

Anthony Jackson sprays the gravesites to keep the grass down. He started volunteering his time, but the board that oversees the cemetery now gives him a small salary.

"I saw how bad it was and that someone can't see their family," Jackson said.

Rogers is planning to come back, with tools in hand, to continue cleaning up around her brother's grave.

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