Last year on this blog, we told you about a warehouse in New Orleans down the street from the Superdome that housed the unidentified and unclaimed dead from Hurricane Katrina. At the time, there was no plan for the 101 bodies sitting in airtight coffins in the nondescript warehouse. Fifty were unidentified and 51 unclaimed by families too poor or otherwise unable to claim their relatives.
Bodies have come and gone since our last report, but today, 21 months after the levees broke, the warehouse still holds 100 bodies. Seventy of them are identified and 30 remain nameless.
The bodies are in the charge of Dr. Frank Minyard, the city's coroner. Minyard won't let anyone inside the warehouse because he says it would be undignified, but he did show us pictures of the inside. The caskets are wrapped in plastic and sit on a raised platform behind a chain link fence. He says the fence is there as an extra layer of security. Above each casket is a white plaque with a black number, one through 100. Minyard wouldn't give us the pictures to broadcast, but we got our own video from inside the warehouse.
Minyard is trying to raise $1.5 million to build a group of mausoleums for the bodies and a memorial in the swirling shape of a hurricane. But as the second anniversary approaches, it's unlikely those bodies will find a permanent resting place anytime soon. The coroner has raised $250,000 so far, and Charity Hospital has donated an old cemetery for the memorial. But Minyard says they won't be able to break ground until they raise another $150,000.
-- By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Producer