Is this a trend that will hit Britain?
New Orleans has become known for ‘putting the fun in funeral’, though even the man responsible for arranging the most recent wake to make the headlines acknowledges that posing the dead body in a life-like situation is not for everyone.
Miriam Burbank was presented sitting at a table, cigarette and drink in hand, as the party went on around her. Family and friends were delighted to see Miriam sitting as she had often done in life on the doorstep of her home.
The Charbonnet-Labat Funeral Home which made the arrangements has undertaken similar requests in the past, with the blessing of a local priest. Recently, the service for an 85 year old socialite was held in the lobby of an historic theatre, as she posed on a bench, feather boa around her neck and glass of champagne in hand.
Meanwhile in Puerto Rico the Marin Funeral Home has been accepting requests for “every type of funeral that could possibly come to mind”, though since the requests are from the living for their own funerals, most have yet to be seen. This is the Home which arranged the display of a paramedic behind the wheel of his ambulance, and a boxer standing in a boxing ring.
Such displays highlight the potential difficulties of personalising a wake. Those with strong characters in life are apt to impress that character on their funeral. In America this new idea of creating a theatrical setting around the actual body will be thought disrespectful by some, but will doubtless be taken to extremes by others. And who is to say whether the deceased, or the person paying for their funeral, will have the last word on respectability?
See Pictures and Report in New York Times