WZTV FOX 17 - Top Stories
LEEVILLE, LA. - Thousands of acres of land in Louisiana are disappearing due to coastal erosion. On that land are graves from some of the oldest cemeteries in the state. Submerged tombs in Leeville, Louisiana give new meaning to the expression "a watery grave". Piles of barnacle-covered bricks are washing away in the lapping water. The rubble is all that remains of a family cemetery in the small coastal town.
"All over South Louisiana you have these little family plots that people had their family members build as many as 20 or 30 grave sites, some as many as 60, built on high land," says the South LaFourche Levee District's Windell Curole.
Curole's a descendent of those who once called Leeville home. His ancestors are buried in the Crosby family plot, which has been reduced to a patch of crumbling graves along Highway 1, enclosed by a rusty chain-link fence. There's little protection against the environmental threats that inch closer every year.
"That graveyard was in the shade of oak treas and now you don't see an oak in sight," says Curole. "All you see is marsh and open water."
A decade ago, the family cemented over the graveyard, hoping to preserve what was left. Looking at the broken tombstones and grave markers, you can see it offered little protection against the rising waters. Over the past century, the town has subsided roughly 3ft and lost another from rising sea levels. The cause: our intricate levee system that prevents flooding along the Mississippi River. Sediment that built up the delta over 5000 years now dumps right into the gulf. As the coastline erodes from hurricanes and storms, there's nothing to build it back up.
"Adding onto those problems is that we've cut channels, which allow the Gulf of Mexico to get closer to us," says Curole. "We've lost our marsh barriers. We've lost our natural chenieres, our oak ridge barriers. All of these things help keep some of the energy from storms away."
As a result, the coastline is now 30-40 miles closer to the residents of Southeast, Louisiana. Families are forced to move further inland with each generation.
"And it's like most deltas throughout the world," says Curole. "You always have great risk and great opportunity, and in this place you have the extreme of both of them. You have tremendous truck traffic and barge traffic and tug traffic, and yet the risks are taking even the graves away."
In the case of Curole's family plot and the other small graveyards dotting Leeville, that risk has taken its toll.
"You're not only losing your past, but you're losing your future," says Curole. "You're losing everything."
Once a town of 60, only 2 families now call Leeville home. Eventually, they too will move to higher ground, as they watch the memories of their ancestors sink before their very eyes.
Saturday, January 26 2013, 12:13 AM CST
Tenn. Powerball ticket worth $1 million
May 19, 2013 18:44 GMT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A Powerball ticket sold in Tennessee barely missed winning a share of an estimated $590.5 million prize. But the ticket has a nice consolation prize worth $1 million.
Officials say the Powerball ticket worth $1 million was sold in Chattanooga.
There's no word yet on who won.
A Powerball ticket sold at a supermarket in Zephyrhills, Fla., matched all six numbers selected Saturday night for the estimated $590.5 million prize. It's the highest Powerball jackpot in history.
The winning numbers were 10, 13, 14, 22 and 52, with a Powerball of 11.
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