LEEVILLE – The once tree lined Golden Meadow cemetery in Leeville Louisiana use to be a beautiful place to visit; not any more.
NDJ World | Published: Jan 03 2013 North America→World News
“It hurts to see it now,” says Cheramie (67) who lives nearby the graveyard.
Saltwater rushing in from the Gulf have killed off most of the trees. Few are remaining, standing frail without leaves and shriveled branches as saltwater slowly destroys their roots.
Beautifully marked white crosses once reflecting like a holy image in the sun’s rays now lay scattered and broken as the cemetery is slowly sinking, transforming into marsh land, leaving the once green grass, brown and soggy.
Saltwater rushing in from the Gulf of Mexico seeps up from underneath the graves. Part of the cemetery has already been taken over by the sea and can only be accessed by boat. It won’t be long before the entire grave site will become a mushy, salty, water pond.
Cheramie’s small family graveyard is among at least two dozen cemeteries across the southeast Louisiana coast that are rapidly sinking or washing away because of accelerated erosion brought on by the tropical punch of storms such as Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike, Lee and Isaac.
“We did not bury people in marshes,” says Windell Curole, General Manager of the South Lafourche Levee District. “We buried them on high ground. This was high ground, and now it’s subsided to the point of being wetlands and open water.”
Coastal Louisiana has lost about 1,900 square miles of land since the 1930s, as canals dug for oil exploration allowed salty water to intrude into marshes and a succession of powerful hurricanes sucked marsh muck that protects populated areas, out into the Gulf.
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