City sets minimum burial depth

Published 5:02 am Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Bogalusa City Council took a proactive step Tuesday night, to ensure that flood-related damages at the city’s recent cemeteries do not take place again in the future.

Shortly after last March’s flooding, several above-ground or barely-buried vaults at Ponemah and Bogalusa cemeteries sustained significant damages. As a result, the council passed an ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting, setting a minimum depth for all future burials.

According to the ordinance, there must be two feet of soil to cover the entire area above the “outside container, whether a casket or vault.”

Bogalusa City Council member Gloria Kates introduced the ordinance, and noted that it is based on a similar state statute that has been in place since 1974.

Council vice president Doug Ritchie, who is in the funeral business with Poole-Ritchie Funeral Home, said the ordinance is a good idea. He noted that most vaults and caskets are designed to be buried under the ground, and are not supposed to be partially uncovered.

“They’re not designed to seal when they’re above the ground,” he said.

Kates noted that existing vaults will be grandfathered in, but any new burials must follow the ordinance.


In other business, the council:

  • Introduced five new ordinances. First was an ordinance to approve the rezoning request from B-Business to C-Commercial at 933 Avenue F — a small lot adjacent to the property — to sell a limited amount of vehicles on a part-time basis.

Second was an ordinance to approve the rezoning request from A3-Residential to C-Commercial presently located off Sullivan Drive, which is being leased by the property owner Chris Penton.

Third was an ordinance to approve the closing of a portion of Avenue G, which is an undeveloped property adjacent to Johnny Hodge’s property on the west side.

Fourth was an ordinance to amend the city’s recently passed public smoking ban. Finally, an ordinance was introduced to authorize payment of overtime to department heads who work during a called state of emergency.

These ordinances will be discussed further in public session at the next meeting on Tuesday, March 7, after which the council will vote on them.

  • Unanimously approved an ordinance that will allow CenterPoint Energy a 25-year agreement to sell natural gas in the city. This new agreement includes a 4.5-percent franchise fee payable to the city, which is an increase from the previous 4-percent franchise free.
  • Unanimously approved city contracts with Progressive Waste for trash collection, and the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections for inmate crews from Rayburn Correctional Center.
  • Council member Teddy Drummond recommended that parade watchers bring trash bags with them, to make the job easier on the city’s cleanup crew. Later in the meeting, council president Tamira Smith praised both Drummond and Terry “Foots” Quinn for their volunteer efforts to pick up trash in the community.