Ten days after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, the State of Louisiana established the Find Family National Call Center, which would later become the Louisiana Family Assistance Center.
From this beginning grew the largest and most successful search for missing people in law enforcement history. But the Center’s work was not limited to finding the missing of Katrina and Rita. Another major duty was identification of the deceased. Both missions had one overriding goal: to reunite the families affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Today, the Louisiana Department of Health releases to the public the Center’s final report. The report documents the key missions of the Center. It gives perspective and background on the extraordinary tasks and challenges, along with statistics, a timeline and lessons learned.
“By however such important and consuming work is measured, the Louisiana Family Assistance Center has left a national legacy that speaks to the dedication and determination the workers had in reuniting families,” said Dr. Cerise. “It is an honor to share this report, which is essentially the historical record of incredible people, primarily from Louisiana, setting a new national benchmark in disaster assistance to families who have lost or are missing a loved one.”
The Louisiana Family Assistance Center officially closed on Aug. 14, 2006 and transferred to local law enforcement the case files of the remaining 1 percent (135 unresolved cases of the 13,200 total missing reports) that were not resolved. The transference to local law enforcement continues the search in an effort to resolve all missing person cases.
In July, the Center transferred to the Orleans Coroner the continuing DNA efforts to identify the remaining deceased (23 out of 910 remains processed through the DMORT morgues) in collaboration with the Louisiana State Police State Crime Lab.
To view the final report, click here.