The Living Dead Funerals: Creative or Creepy?

Corbis Christopher Rivera

When you think of the word ‘funeral’, pretty much the same images come to mind for everyone; coffins, flowers and hymns to name a few common elements found at most funerals.

But what if you decide you’ve had enough of tradition and want to spice things up a bit? A new trend in America is doing just that, with the deceased being embalmed and dressed up so that they can take centre stage at their own funeral.

This different kind of tribute focuses on a person’s life, not their death and the deceased are often ‘staged’ sitting up, surrounded by things they loved. In a New Orleans funeral home, where the trend has existed for quite a few years and at the request of the deceased and their families, they have created a myriad of scenarios.

Here are a few examples. Miriam Burbank, who recently died of cancer, was posed sitting at a table holding a can of beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

The man who kicked off the idea in New Orleans was Lionel Baptiste, a jazz musician who was posed leaning against a lamp post with a cane, because he didn’t want to be ‘looked down on’ by the mourners.

In a bizarre case, one man called David Morales was even posed riding his beloved Honda motorbike at his own funeral.

So we will have to just wait and see if the craze catches on in the rest of the world!