ENVIRONMENT

Even The Dead Have Been Displaced By Louisiana Flooding

The flooding is being called the worst disaster since Hurricane Sandy.
Caskets are seen floating in flood waters near a cemetery on Aug. 17 in Gonzales, Louisiana.
Caskets are seen floating in flood waters near a cemetery on Aug. 17 in Gonzales, Louisiana.

As if the site of floodwaters ripping through communities in southern Louisiana wasn’t eerie enough, the high waters have begun lifting graves from their final resting places.

The flood appears to have dislodged the above-ground grave coverings at many of the region’s cemeteries, sending the enclosed caskets floating. Because of Louisiana’s swampy terrain, above-ground tombs are favored so as to keep caskets from popping out of the earth when heavy rains saturate the soil. But even the above-ground system was no match for a flood this intense. 

Some of the affected cemeteries include the one at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Saint Amant; Springfield Cemetery in Springfield; St. Mark’s Cemetery in Walker; and East Ridge Cemetery in Welsh. Local CBS affiliate WAFB 9 reported that an estimated 500 graves had been affected.

The bleak phenomenon isn’t unheard of. Similarly torrential floods that submerged South Carolina last fall also unearthed some buried caskets.

Following rains that started last Thursday, the floods have killed at least 13 people and damaged about 40,000 homes in the state. The American Red Cross has billed the flooding as the worst disaster to hit the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

See photos below of the floating graves:

  • A casket is seen floating in flood waters in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, on Aug. 15.
    Jonathan Bachman / Reuters
    A casket is seen floating in flood waters in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, on Aug. 15.
  • A casket is seen in front of a partially submerged church in Ascension Parish on Aug. 15.
    Jonathan Bachman / Reuters
    A casket is seen in front of a partially submerged church in Ascension Parish on Aug. 15.
  • A casket floats up against a house in Gonzales, Louisiana, on Aug. 16.
    BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI via Getty Images
    A casket floats up against a house in Gonzales, Louisiana, on Aug. 16.
  • A casket is tied to a fence after it floated away during flooding at a cemetery at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Saint Amant
    David Lohr/Huffington Post
    A casket is tied to a fence after it floated away during flooding at a cemetery at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Saint Amant, Louisiana, on Aug. 17.
  • Above-ground sealed plots are seen at the cemetery at Holy Rosary Catholic Church.
    David Lohr/Huffington Post
    Above-ground sealed plots are seen at the cemetery at Holy Rosary Catholic Church.
  • A flooded cemetery at Holy Rosary Catholic Church.
    David Lohr/Huffington Post
    A flooded cemetery at Holy Rosary Catholic Church.
  • Caskets have floated away at Holy Rosary Catholic Church.
    David Lohr/Huffington Post
    Caskets have floated away at Holy Rosary Catholic Church.
  • A casket is seen in a flooded cemetery on Aug. 17 in Sorrento, Louisiana.
    Joe Raedle via Getty Images
    A casket is seen in a flooded cemetery on Aug. 17 in Sorrento, Louisiana.
  • The Springfield Cemetery in Springfield, Louisiana is shown under water on Aug. 15.
    David Lohr/Huffington Post
    The Springfield Cemetery in Springfield, Louisiana is shown under water on Aug. 15.
  • A grave is filled with water in a cemetery in Springfield on Aug. 15.
    David Lohr/Huffington Post
    A grave is filled with water in a cemetery in Springfield on Aug. 15.
  • A concrete casket cover is tipped over by flood water in Springfield on Aug. 15.
    David Lohr/Huffington Post
    A concrete casket cover is tipped over by flood water in Springfield on Aug. 15.
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