Crews continue to identify displaced remains in Braithwaite - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Three months after Isaac, crews continue to identify displaced remains in Braithwaite

Braithwaite, La Braithwaite, La

Braithwaite, LA- Three months after Hurricane Isaac, the painstaking process of trying to identify remains that were displaced in Braithwaite, continues.

In Plaquemines Parish, there are still signs of Hurricane Isaac's fury everywhere. Houses in Braithwaite sit empty and tombs and crypts lie broken on the side of the road.

Forensic anthropologists have been hard at work trying to identify the human remains displaced by the storm. Mary Manhein is in charge of the LSU FACES laboratory, and is running the operation. She tells FOX 8, "We've worked on approximately 50 at this point and I would think maybe a third of those have been identified by now."

Manhein continued, "In a situation like this it's difficult to get identifications especially in older cemeteries. These cemeteries have been here for a very long time. Some of the relatives are no longer living or out of state and don't know this has happened to their loved one."

That's where the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's office comes in. They've been helping to figure out which remains go where, by reaching out to local tomb builders.

Cpt. Mike Mudge explains, "They're always a big help because if they've just recently built the tomb and we found it across on the banks of the river or on the levee, then he can come out and identify it and say I built this tomb for this family."

But in cemeteries that are at least 100 years old, it's sometimes hard to track down someone with knowledge of a particular plot.

"It's just a matter of putting all the pieces together. There's a lot of pieces," Mudge said.

O'Neal Dorsey oversees the Promise Land cemetery in Braithwaite....but has family buried in the English Turn Cemetery. He says he and others in the community are making good progress cleaning up the final resting places of their loved ones. "I'm thinking maybe in another week or two, we're going to be pretty close to wrapping this up," Dorsey said of the English Turn Cemetery.

While Mary Manhein says it could be a while before all the remains are returned to their plots, Dorsey and Cpt. Mudge say they'll focus on cleaning up the area, and making the cemeteries look as close to the way they did before the storm, as possible.

Manhein says next month her team will turn their attention to the Bertranville Cemetery in Braithwaite. It was under water for weeks after the storm.

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