By Cyndi Sellers
The Louisiana Cemetery Response Task Force is seeking “Good Samaritans” who will adopt damaged graves in Cameron Parish cemeteries to help return these places of final rest to normal. Cameron Parish has many private cemeteries, both church and family owned, that were severely damaged by Hurricanes Laura and Delta. All these cemeteries are eligible for FEMA reimbursement for repairs. Quite a few family members have signed up for the program, but there are many graves without family sponsors. This is where Good Samaritans come in.
Ryan Seidemann, Director of the Task Force, says anyone with a FEMA disaster number from Laura or Delta can volunteer to be a sponsor. Volunteers only have to sign a three-question affidavit, promising to use the funds to pay a contactor for stated repairs. Anyone willing to help repair a grave damaged by the storms need only call Seidemann at 225-326-6056 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Task Force office will handle all the arrangements once the necessary papers are signed.
FEMA will provide up to $8000 per grave for cemetery repairs, and any extra money can be applied to other graves in the cemetery. Recovery has been slow so far, Seidemann said, due to the shortage of contractors, but progress is being made. Full recovery will depend on more people stepping up to help. Again, anyone with a FEMA disaster number from Laura or Delta, even if they were denied assistance, can apply for this program.