While searching through articles pertaining to the death care industry I came across an article from Vice.com entitled, “Inside New Orleans Extreme Embalming Funerals” that you can read here. The article points out a trend, that as far as the author can tell started in Puerto Rico in about 2014 and has grown in acceptance especially in the New Orleans area of the United States.
The article to which I have linked you above interviews New Orleans funeral home owner Patrick Schoen, whose family has operated a funeral home in New Orleans for the past 144 years. He is quoted in the article as saying, “My family’s been in this business for 144 years. For the first 120, all funerals were exactly the same. Every single one. I mean you just had different clergy walking in, and that’s it. An now – I would say in the last 15 years – now, it’s getting very different.”
The article goes on to explain and show the trend of “Extreme Embalming” which among other things, portrays the deceased body in a life-like setting rather than in a casket.
Funeral Director Daily take: I had heard of “Extreme Embalming” but until I saw this article and saw the photos included I really did not know what the term meant.
This type of funeral would be very different to me. I must say that the technical aspect of the embalming technician has to be top-notch and for that these embalmers should be rewarded for their work.
I also must say, that even for a grizzled funeral industry veteran this kind of approach is somewhat spooky and really out of the ordinary and out of my comfort zone.
I don’t know what I would do if I was asked to arrange for one of these types of celebrations with the body present in a form other than in a casket. I do suppose, however, that families that ask for this procedure are sincere and it does satisfy their grief needs. With that in mind, what would I do if I was asked to prepare a body in this manner?
My guess is that if you stay in funeral service long enough, you may be asked to do a service like this sometime in the future. What will your response be?