Thinking outside box as dead woman attends own funeral
IT's known as a party town – and now even burials are being turned into entertainment, as the residents of New Orleans put the fun back into funerals by thinking outside the box when it comes to their own wakes.
Last week, friends and family of Miriam Burbank, who died at the age of 53, requested that she attend her own service – which she duly did, sporting sunglasses and propped up at a table with a can of beer in one hand and a menthol cigarette in the other. After word of the unusual arrangement spread, funeral director Louis Charbonnet, who posed Mrs Burbank in his parlour, was inundated with calls from local people requesting that they too be helped to attend their own funeral in lifelike poses reflecting their characters. While other local funeral directors, and even his own wife, accuse him of impropriety by placing corpses in positions many might consider amusing, Mr Charbonnet said he considered it was respectful to abide by the requests of grieving family members.
He began offering his unusual service in 2012 following the death of Lionel Bastite, a band leader and local character who had told his friends he did not want people looking down at him at his funeral. At his service he was displayed standing with his hands on his walking stick wearing his beloved bowler hat tipped to one side.
In April, the family of Mickey Easterling, a prominent socialite, arranged for her to be viewed as if greeting guests to her funeral while sitting behind a bench in the lobby of a historic theatre. (© Daily Telegraph, London)