Thanks for the swift cemetery response

Published 5:19 am Saturday, February 11, 2017

I would like to express a special thank you to the Louisiana State Cemetery Board of the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office. During the Bogalusa City Council meeting of Jan. 17, there was concern expressed about our Bogalusa Cemetery and damages that occurred during the March and August flooding.

In response, I announced that research would be initiated on whether the city would be eligible for the Louisiana ReStore Program or any other applicable programs that may assist in the repair of the properties. Upon gathering reports and research of the cemetery caretaker, Mr. Melvin Abrams, I made an attempt to reach out to resources such as the State Cemetery Agency, Ms. Christine L. Halling, Research Associate, Civil Division Office of Attorney General Jeff Landry on Jan. 20.

Information was forwarded on Jan. 25. At this time, an inquiry was made on when the time she and her team may be able to visit our Magic City for an assessment.

She and the team expeditiously responded on the best way how we may be assisted, which was through FEMA individual assistance rather public assistance claims. I am elated how the response was made quickly and the assessment team arrived in Bogalusa on Jan. 25.

Also, I express a thank you for clarification of who is responsible for the city cemeteries. As clearly explained, cemetery plots — which are personal property — are the responsibility of the property owner, and the remaining property is the responsibility of the city.

My hats off and sincere gratitude goes to Mr. Melvin Abrams, caretaker of Bogalusa Cemetery; Ms. Christine Halling, Research Associate, Civil Division Office of Attorney General; Attorney Ryan Seidemann of the Attorney General’s Office; and funeral home owner, Arbie Goings, for a professional job well done in their plan of action toward the reopening of the FEMA process for assistance in our cemetery.

Gloria Kates

Bogalusa City Council, District A