Family visits woman's grave, finds body exposed

A New Orleans family got a very unpleasant surprise visiting a relative's grave on her birthday recently.

The woman, Sherene Marsh Jones, died in September after a sudden aneurysm. Jones was buried on October 2nd, and her family recalls her "beautiful" coffin. But now they're feeling upset and sick over the discovery that the woman's feet were exposed and visible to visitors. Mary Marsh says to WWLTV:

"Bringing the kids," Mary said. "It was her birthday. They bought some birthday cards and flowers and everything, and they were going to tell their mother Happy Birthday. But we came out here, and we came to a hole with part of her body hanging out."
When questioned, the funeral home who handled Marsh's interment say that the city-owned cemetery's graves are often shallow and dug by city workers. (It was not immediately clear if that is an accepted practice or worker non-compliance.) In reference to Mary Marsh's fears that her sister was buried without her coffin, the funeral home said that the lid had "caved" in.

New Orleans is notable for its frequent custom of "burying" the dead above ground due to a very high water table in the city. A spokeswoman for the mayor said city officials will be investigating the situation "immediately."