Grant money OK’d for veterans cemetery

JENNINGS — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration has awarded a $7.2 million federal grant for a new Southwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Jennings.

“Today’s announcement isn’t just good news for Jennings, it’s great news for the men and women of Louisiana that served this country,” Jennings Mayor Henry Guinn said. “It is an honor and privilege to be the recipient of this grant and we are eager to begin the construction process.”

The initial phase of the project will be built on a 12.6-acre site just northeast of the Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home off La. 97.

“We are very excited to be selected for one of the locations in the state,” Veterans Home Administrator Matt Duhon said. “There are a lot of benefits we give our veterans now, but this will be another step for their continual care.”

Duhon said the cemetery, which has been in the works for some time, will serve all of Southwest Louisiana from the Texas border to the Atchafalaya Basin up to Leesville.

“Southwest Louisiana will finally see the construction of a veterans cemetery thanks to this grant,” U.S Sen. Bill Cassidy, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said. “Right now, the only option for veterans is the cemetery in Leesville, more than 80 miles away. I’m glad Louisiana families will finally have a place closer to home where we can honor these American heroes.”

‘Today’s announcement isn’t just good news for Jennings, it’s great news for the men and women of Louisiana that served this country.’
Henry Guinn
Jennings mayor

Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Joey Strickland said officials are in the process of finalizing the details for the official grounding breaking later this year.

“The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs has worked closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration, our local elected officials and community partners for the past two years in order to make this fifth and final cemetery a reality for Louisiana’s veterans,” Strickland said. “Today’s official announcement of $7.2 million in federal grant monies being awarded for the establishment of the new Southwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery is the culmination of a lot of hard work between us and our state and national partners to ensure that we stay true to our mission which is to take care of our veterans.”

State Sen. Dan Morrish said the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs will provide a $1 million match for the project with no monies coming from the capital outlay.

“This is certainly something we have been working on for a long time,” Morrish said.

Morrish said veteran officials have visited the site on numerous occasions and have begun design phases for the project.

“I have seen three different scenarios and I was pleased with them all,” Morrish said, noting the cemetery will be visible from the interstate.

Officials have said work on the cemetery would be completed next year.

Cassidy said the money will be used to build a main entrance, an administration building, a maintenance facility, roads, an assembly area and a committal shelter. The project will also include landscaping, a memorial walkway and supporting infrastructure.

The cemetery will reportedly have 1,212-placed crypts, 185 cremation gravesides and 380 columbarium niches.

The cemetery will provide for the needs of about 37,000 Louisiana veterans and their families.

“Our state and tribal partners are critical in helping the National Cemetery Administration achieve our strategic goal of providing 95 percent of the veteran population with convenient access to a burial option within 75 miles of their home,” VA Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Randy Reeves said. “We will continue to work with and support states like Louisiana to provide grants which reflect the needs, resources and preferences of the local veteran community.”

State veterans cemeteries are also located in Leesville, Keithville, Rayville and Slidell.””veterans cemetery stock photostock photo

Crime

One arrested, one sought in molestation case

Local News

Two Police Jury buildings closed due to water main break

Local News

La. continues to average 1,500-3,000 COVID cases daily

Local News

Drink and Draw: CYPHACON social event allows ‘like-minded geeks’ to gather, have fun

Local News

Fort Polk name change could cost $1.4M

Local News

Kathleen Mayo: She’s had passion for teaching since age 9

Local News

Seersucker and a Solitaire: Lively fundraiser to benefit St. Nicholas Center for Children

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column: Focus on children, families

life

Attention to detail, respect for ingredients come naturally to Calla chef

Local News

CPSB cybersecurity breach investigation handed over to DA

Crime

Cpt. Darbonne mentors young students against violence, bullying

life

McNeese’s Victory Day celebrates kids with special needs

Local News

Photo Gallery: McNeese Football ‘Victory Day’

Local News

Body of missing canoeist recovered from Ouiska Chitto Creek

Crime

8/9: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Business

Pain at the Pump: Panelists give input on why gas prices have gotten so high

Crime

Charges upgraded in Oakdale shooting

Crime

8/8: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Crime

Arrest made in 11th Street homicide investigation

life

Olivia Newton-John, superstar singer and actress, dies at 73

Crime

Three 18-year-olds charged in armed robbery

Local News

‘Grandmother Favor’: Happiness is a choice

Local News

Late Leesville artist honored for achievements

Crime

8/7: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list