Esther tomb blessed by priest

ESTHER - The Esther Cemetery is finally 100 percent restored four years after Hurricane Rita’s storm surge uplifted 56 caskets from their burial place.

After a lot of sweat, plus, agonizing work to try and identify every body that was uplifted and put it back in the right tomb, the work is over.

On Sunday morning behind the St. James Catholic Church in Esther, Fr. Clint Trahan blessed a large tomb next to the cemetery. The blessing was the final stage of completing the restoration.

Under the large tomb are 39 caskets. These caskets are those individuals who floated out of the tombs after Rita. Their bodies could not be identified in order to be placed back in the correct tomb.

“The cemetery association paid for a lot of this, but we also received a lot of help from the community,” said Curnal Cessac, who oversees the upkeep of the cemetery. He did not want to single out any individual because there were many who helped.

On top of the monument is a marble headstone listing all 39 names of those who are buried under it.

On the front of the headstone is this inscription: “Here lie the tombs displaced from the devastating floods of Hurricane Rita, September 24, 2005.”

The headstone was donated by Russell and Nancy Frederick and the employees at Menard’s Marble and Granite.

Draped across the monument is a 46-foot long wooden rosary carved by Ray Gachassian. Gachassian carved the rosary out of cypress wood.

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