Cemetery, Regulations

2016 Flooding Causes New Burial Rules

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Caskets can be seen floating along the treeline in 2016

Burial in Louisiana is just different from what we have in Minnesota.  In Minnesota where it is joked that we have two seasons, Winter and Road Construction, we do have issues digging through the almost permafrost in our winter months.  But after seeing the following article, I guess a little cold weather is okay considering I don’t have to deal with a water table only 2 feet below the surface of the ground.

A recent article in The Advocate of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, relates new rules for burials of vaulted caskets in Jefferson Parish.  Cemeteries will take on a different look as the Jefferson Parish Council voted that cemeteries in the Parish will ban “surface-level” vaults.

The new rules are meant to limit the damage that could be done by future floods.  Evidently, during the flood of 2016 water seepage into vaults, with the tops sticking out of the ground, caused caskets inside to rise up and push the tops off the vaults and the caskets to float away in the flood.

The new rules will also require caskets to have permanently affixed registrations to the caskets to identify the deceased and burial location.

“Typically they put vaults at ground level because people like the look of it, ” Council Chairman Tracy Girlinghouse said.  ” But in reality, it doesn’t work well at all.”

Funeral Director Daily take:  This is one of those items that comes out in the news and I think of the Shakespeare line, “Why leave those ills we have for those we know not of.”  As I alluded to in the opening, frozen grave sites in Minnesota are tough to jackhammer through, but once through, our casketed vaults are generally there to stay.  I just cannot imagine the pain and grief of having my loved one float away in a flood.

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