COLUMBIA, Miss. – Columbia took a big hit when a devastating tornado came whooshing through last December.
In addition to damaged homes and businesses, many people flocked to the city’s largest cemetery to check on their loved ones’ graves.
Residents described the scene as sad and depressing.
“People started posting pictures of around town, and the one that hit home was the cemetery,” said Eddie Breakfield. His parents and daughter are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery .
“It’s almost a place of refuge that you couldn’t come back and visit and reminisce about your loved ones…to see the damage was heartbreaking,” said Breakfield.
After the tornado, over half of the 80 live oak trees planted in Woodlawn had to be chopped down from damage.
“The whole feel and the whole look of the cemetery has totally changed since the tornado. So we just felt like this was a great area to beautify and enhance,” said Rene Dungan with Keep Columbia-Marion County Beautiful.
Keep Columbia-Marion County Beautiful has teamed up with Mississippi Power to continue clean up and landscaping efforts at Woodlawn Cemetery.
“There’s a lot of people who come to help immediately after as storm. But as we know from Katrina and across our service territory, those pains continue and that restoration effort continues for years afterward,” said Patrick Chubb with Mississippi Power.
Friday and Saturday, volunteers worked to clean debris and plant new greenery at the cemetery’s entrance.