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
Tishomingo County voters OK beer, alcohol sales
May 22, 2013 23:38 GMT
IUKA, Miss. (AP) -- Tishomingo County is the latest Mississippi jurisdiction to legalize alcohol sales.
Voters approved the sale of liquor, wine and beer Tuesday, reports the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (http://bit.ly/13JCcix).
It wasn't clear referendums would pass until affidavit ballots were counted Wednesday.
With more than half Tishomingo County's voters casting ballots, legalizing alcohol passed by 42 votes, while legalizing beer and light wine passed by 73. The county borders Alabama and Tennessee.
Lawmakers legalized liquor at a proposed resort at the county's Bay Springs Lake in 2010, but it wasn't built.
Greene County voters legalized beer sales last year, while Corinth, New Albany and Senatobia have legalized alcohol sales under a 2012 law that allows cities to hold votes.
Mississippi has 13 remaining counties that allow no beer or alcohol sales.
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