32 found drowned in Louisiana nursing home

Sept. 7, 2005 at 4:42 PM
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ST. BERNARD PARISH, La., Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Authorities and residents of St. Bernard Parish, La., grieved after 32 bodies were found drowned in a nursing home where people did not evacuate.

The more than half of the residents of St. Rita's nursing home, 20 miles southeast from downtown New Orleans, died Aug. 29 when floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina reached the home's roof.

The New York Times said after the floodwaters receded, authorities found tables nailed to windows and couches pushed against doors in a failed attempt to battle the flood.

The scene is one of many authorities expect as they search through the once-flooded areas devastated by Katrina.

Ronald Nunez, a local resident who tried to escape the nursing home doesn't understand why it wasn't evacuated in time. Parish Councilman Ricky Melerine doesn't understand it either.

St. Rita's sits in a valley which made the flooding more severe.

Steve Kuiper, vice president of operations for Acadian Ambulance said he was told St. Rita's had its own evacuation plan.

Acadian had used helicopters to evacuate other nursing homes.

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