Nearly eight years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, the infamous “storm of the century” is still claiming victims.
But these victims don’t complain, nor do they even ask for help.
These victims are among the more than 20 historic coastal cemeteries that are losing their battle with Louisiana’s eroding coastlines.
“Many of the graves there date back to the 1700s and 1800s,” said Centennial resident Grayson McGraw, who hopes that through a documentary film project, he can garner public attention to save and possibly relocate the Cheniere Caminada cemetery in Grand Isle, La.
McGraw, who works as a retail fraud investigator by day and a paranormal investigator by night, said many of the communities in south Louisiana barely have the means to rebuild homes and schools, and residents of the cemetery, although very much a part of the community, have had to take a back seat to the living.
More spiritual than he is religious, McGraw said he has launched an online fundraising project in hopes of garnering at least $2,000 to cover the cost of the film and production.
“We’re not in this to make money,” he insisted. “This is simply a tool that we hope to use to get the state of Louisiana’s attention. I think they are aware of it, but I’m not sure they know how bad it is.”
The tall, soft-spoken Louisiana native said many of the graves are open and exposed to the elements.
McGraw said, in some cases, human remains have been found.
“You can see the sides of metal caskets that have long been eaten away by the sea, and headstones that are now close to three-quarters submerged,” he said. “The Gulf has swallowed about 75 feet of coastline since Katrina, and with it, the water is now claiming many of the graves.”
While McGraw admits that many of the cemeteries can’t be saved, he’s hoping that by raising awareness nationwide, funding can be obtained to help communities relocate the graves.
To learn more or donate:
Visit www.kickstarter.com, and search for “costal cemetery desecration awareness.”