Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Twin Cities Memorial Gardens

Ink dry on purchase of troubled cemetery
from URL: http://www.thenewsstar.com/article/20081209/NEWS01/812090309

Staff report

The purchase of Twin Cities Memorial Gardens in West Monroe has been
completed, and in the near future its name will be changed to Kilpatrick's
Serenity Gardens.

Laura Kilpatrick Marchelos, Kilpatrick Funeral Homes president, said
Monday the company has already met with architects and contractors to give "this
half-century old property a new and exciting face-lift which we will be
unveiling over the next 60 to 90 days."

The cemetery was placed in receivership by the state earlier this year
because of poor management by former owner Dannie Jackson. Mulhearn Funeral
Homes had been running the facility since the state's takeover. Mulhearn has its
own cemetery, Mulhearn Memorial Park Cemetery, east of Monroe.

The state Attorney General's Office, which represents the Louisiana
Cemetery Board, placed Twin Cities into receivership in January while
investigating complaints over the past several years about poor management and
perpetual care and merchandise trusts not being properly funded.

Following a state investigation, Jackson was indicted on 16 counts of
improper contract for taking money for headstones that he never installed. In
February, he pleaded no contest to one count of improper contract for failing to
put the money in a trust account as required by law.

Jackson has agreed to ensure that all trust funds be fully funded and
to provide a reserve account so Kilpatrick Funeral Homes can fund contracts of
families that have not been fulfilled.

Kilpatrick Funeral Homes operates businesses in Monroe, West Monroe,
Ruston and Farmerville.
"This has been a dream of ours to add a cemetery to
our existing business and to be able to do it where it will benefit the
community of West Monroe and Ouachita Parish. It is a perfect fit," Kilpatrick

Following a state attorney general investigation and an audit by Lucy
McCann of the Louisiana Cemetery Board and the Kilpatrick staff, Kilpatrick
Funeral Homes founder Tex Kilpatrick said "that everything is in order at this

He said those with questions should contact Kilpatrick's at 323-9614.
He said all records should be ready for review "within the next few

Marchelos said people driving by the cemetery will begin to notice
immediate enhancements such as a general cleanup, a new permanent office, new
signage, updated fencing, lighting and road improvements. "Further improvements
will become evident as we get closer to spring of 2009," she said