Local church offers apology and provides clarity for those affected by recent storm debris cleanup

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ASCENSION PARISH, La. (BRPROUD) – We now have answers as to why items were removed from gravesites at Mt. Zion Cemetery.

The Household of Faith Church issued this apology and provided insight into what happened after Hurricane Ida tore through the area.

The apology can be found below:

I wish to apologize to anyone with family or friends buried in the Mt. Zion Cemetery if our efforts to secure the grave sites and clean up storm debris caused you concern. Our hearts were in the right place and we hope that you understand that we have not been accessible by phone to respond to any issues because Hurricane Ida damaged the Church’s phone system.

There has been a lot of misinformation and emotion surrounding the clean-up of Mt. Zion cemetery after Hurricane Ida. These pictures show the state of the cemetery after the storm passed. As you can see falling tree branches caused significant damage to vaults and headstones. When we saw the cemetery in this state after the storm we knew that we had to do something quickly to secure the grave sites. At the same time, we were also dealing with storm damage at our church including the loss of all of our landline telephones, and damage to Church staffs’ homes. Under the circumstances we had to rely on outside help to clean-up the cemetery.

Under the old regulations that governed the cemetery, the families of those buried are responsible for the cost to repair anything that happens to a grave site, including damage as a result of the storm. We have found that to be ineffective as many times, (but certainly not always), because often family members are not even aware of the conditions of the graves and are not in contact with the cemetery staff.

Under the new regulations that govern the cemetery, we are going to bear the cost and the burden of the repair.

Part of our difficulty is that when we were given possession of the cemetery there were virtually no contacts for the various people who are buried there. Some of these graves are very old as the cemetery has been in operation for well over 100 years. There is no easy effective way to find out who are the surviving relatives or how to contact them.

Thank you to the ones who have reached out and worked with us to resolve any issues. Again our phone system was destroyed by the hurricane and if you have an issue at Mt. Zion you can reach us at hofchurch.com/cemetery and we will get back in touch with you.

-Scott Bledsoe

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