St. Martin

Nov 13, 2013 6:30 PM by Alex Labat

A Grave Situation in St. Martinville

Many have decided to call the St. Michael's cemetery in St. Martinville their final resting place.
Beloved mothers, avid motorcyclists, even World War I veterans all resting in peace...but their bills still need to be paid.
"You come to the cemetary for peace, and you get slapped in the face with a foreclosure notice as you're walking by a veterans grave", says Lorrae Lantier.
She wrote into our newsroom after visiting the cemetery and found foreclosure notices.
Most upsetting to her, veterans on Veterans Day with a sticker on their tombstones.
"They are our fathers, mothers, our brothers, our sisters, our grandfathers, our cousins, these are our ancestors that should be respected", says Lantier.
The cemetery belongs to the Notre Dame Catholic Church, who says they have a right to make sure the annual upkeep us paid for each plot.
They said they do have they right to resell the plots if family members can't be located, but they hope it never comes to that.
Cemeteries have the authority to remove remains if debts are past due or unpaid, or graves are considered abandoned after no contact with the family for 25 years.
But Lantier says no matter the law, someone needs to take care of the deceased.
"You basically pay for a home for your bones for the rest of your life", says Lantier.
The church didn't want to comment on camera, but admits the stickers are an attempt to get the attention of loved ones, making them take care of their relatives' final resting place.
They also didn't say if they've followed through on any of those foreclosure.
We reaches out to the diocese for input on the graves.
Monsignor Curtis Mallet with the Diocese of Lafayette says this is a rare occurrence, and that every case requires a specific decision as to where the remains will be moved.
Mallet, who also sits on the Lafayette Cemetery Advisory Board, says the best case scenario is that the family is tracked down so they can take care of their loved ones remains.


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