"Unanswered stuff" at the St. Gabriel morgue

From "At Storm Victim's Funeral, a Celebration of a Life and a City":

Only 40 percent of the 883 bodies at the central morgue in St. Gabriel, La., have been released to families, and many victims - out of an estimated total of 1,050 in Louisiana and 230 in Mississippi - remain nameless or unclaimed.

Now, over to "Bungled Records of Storm Deaths Renew Anguish":

As families finally begin to receive the bodies of their relatives from St. Gabriel, many have found them accompanied by documents that, instead of shedding light on their deaths, point to enormous sloppiness in recordkeeping and procedures at the morgue.
Some have complained of bodies far more decomposed when they came out than when they went in; others that evacuees who died in the company of their families were taken to St. Gabriel without notice and kept there for weeks.
Moreover, as of Friday not a single DNA sample from victims had been matched against samples submitted by families over the past two months, said Dr. Louis Cataldie, the state emergency medical director. Dr. Cataldie said that was because federal officials had not yet approved a DNA testing contract with a laboratory. And the director of the federal mortuary team at the Find Family Call Center, responsible for communicating with the families of victims, was arrested last week on charges that he had solicited sex in a public park in Baton Rouge...
...Many were already upset by news reports about victims that have received prominent attention here, including unproved allegations of mercy killings in New Orleans hospitals during the flood and the cremation of some bodies in the northwestern parish of Caddo before their families could locate them...
...Dr. Cataldie is nominally responsible for the operations of the morgue and call center, although both are staffed by the federal Disaster Mortuary Operations Response Team, or Dmort. He acknowledged there had been considerable error entry, and said some bodies had been delivered without accurate paperwork noting where they had been found.
In the past week, Dr. Cataldie has begun to review all the paperwork filled out by Kenyon Worldwide Disaster Management, a company hired by the federal government to collect many of the bodies, in an effort to ferret out errors. It is possible, he said, that some mistakes can be explained by missing street signs or unfamiliar place names.
He has less control over the stalled DNA tests, for which the state police crime laboratory initially assumed responsibility. Officials at the state Department of Health and Hospitals said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency declined to approve contracts negotiated by the state police with two laboratories, saying the contracts were too expensive. The agency has since shifted responsibility for the contract to the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Nicol Andrews, a spokeswoman for FEMA, said the agency had been struggling to find a way legally to use federal money to pay for the tests because the state was unable to front the costs, and had only recently concluded that the health and hospitals department could do so...
"I realize that we're dealing with a catastrophe, and grief is part of life," said Cindy Jensen, whose father, LeRoy LaRive, is listed as having been found in an apartment miles from his home - an apartment where another older man also died. "But not this kind of stuff. Unanswered stuff. Not knowing the details."
...From the first days after Hurricane Katrina, the process of identifying and burying the dead has been troubled by problems. It took more than a week for officials to begin collecting bodies, and the state fell far behind neighboring Mississippi in getting bodies back to families. Even now, only 358 of the 883 victims processed at St. Gabriel (there are 1,050 victims in Louisiana) have been released to families, and in 150 cases, workers have no leads on the identities of the bodies...

Previously: Who delayed body collection: Blanco, FEMA, or Kenyon? and Mortician contradicts reports downplaying crime, Part 2.