Nearly 50 people killed by Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters more than 10 months ago remain unidentified, the Orleans Parish coroner said Wednesday.
Some of the remains were discovered in the last several months as family members or construction workers began demolishing heavily damaged homes in the Ninth Ward and Lakeview, said Dr. Frank Minyard. Others were found by firefighters doing new searches.
“The more they go down and do work, the more remains they’re finding. I think this is going to go on a good while,” he said.
About 40 of the remains still awaiting identification belong to people who were found before federal officials shut down their operation in February and turned over the work to Minyard, whose offices and equipment were destroyed by the Aug. 29 storm.
Officials have been unable to find DNA matches for those remains. All of them are skeletal, meaning DNA, dental records or prosthetic joint information is needed to make an identification.
Minyard said ongoing federal help on DNA testing has been crucial to speeding identification. The aid is scheduled to expire this summer, but Minyard said he and federal officials were in talks to extend the help.
Nearly 1,600 Louisiana deaths have been attributed to Katrina.
There are still 145 people listed as missing.