The West

Putting the fun back into funerals
Miriam "Mae Mae" Burbank, died of cancer in early June 2014. She is pictured seated at a table at the Charbonnet Funeral Home in New Orleans. Picture: Reuters/Percy McRay

A New Orleans funeral director injected new life into old death rites.

Louis Charbonnet has been bombarded with inquiries after he honoured a client's request that she attend her own service.

The late Miriam Burbank was propped up at a table with a can of beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other for viewing by loved ones who could say goodbye to her in death as she was in life.

The New York Times reports that the June 12 viewing of Mrs Burbank sparked calls from would-be clients and other funeral directors, including one from Australia, about how to have their own lively funeral tableau instead of the traditional casket viewing.

While the unconventional post-mortem pose gained attention - and potential clients - it also drew criticism.

Some, including Mr Charbonnet's own wife, said that propping the cadaver up like a doll was sacrilegious and in bad taste.

New Orleans claims to put the fun back into funerals but it is not the first place to have the dearly departed rendered lifelike, the New York Times reports.

In Puerto Rico, corpses have been striking a pose since 2008.

A deceased paramedic was displayed behind the wheel of his ambulance, a murder victim was strapped to a wall and became known as dead man standing and a boxer's body was shown standing in a boxing ring, gloves and all.

The West Australian

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