LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) A Lafayette woman is looking for answers after repeated requests for owners to maintain the cemetery grounds where her loved ones are buried. Now she’s seeking our help to get to the bottom of it.
“This doesn’t just happen over night.”
A frustrated Joann Trahan finds herself in a familiar position, a position she wishes she wasn’t used too.
“This goes back all the way to 2014 when I initially contacted Bishop Roy Winbush at the Gethsemane office in reference to the conditions out here.”
Conditions like trash bags on tombs and trash cans spilling over which are a result of some cleaning being done, but clearly unfinished.
Evangelist Vanessa Gatlin with Gethsemane Gardens Cemetery says the community doesn’t respect the grounds which is a result of the constant presence of garbage.
“One of the other things that I’ve also discovered, they are snakes out here.”
Trahan learned of the snakes from a landscaper who says his first day of work was June 8, after Trahan’s viral post about the cemetery conditions on June 6.
“It’s basically because of the lack of maintenance, the lack of care. So these things we cannot blame on the community.”
Trahan filed a complaint with the Louisiana Cemetery Board the week of June 7.
Board Director Lucy Mccan says this is an “open complaint” and could not comment.
According to the LCB’s Laws and Rules, once the board notifies the cemetery of the consumers complaint, cemetery authority has 30 days to respond to the allegations. If not, there’s no written procedure on what happens next.
“I have the fight in me to fight this. Whatever it’s going to take for me to have this situation resolved I’m going to have it resolved.”
According to the Louisiana Cemetery Board, Gethsemane Gardens is not a perpetual care cemetery.
Meaning they don’t collect money at the time the plot is purchased to go toward maintaining the grounds once all the plots are filled.
In some cases, graveyards without this service rely on private donations for the upkeep of the grounds.
I spoke with Evangelist Vanessa Gatlin last week and we were supposed to continue our conversation Monday; multiple calls to her have gone unanswered.
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