This Woman Made Sure She Attended Her Own Funeral. With A Bottle Of Whiskey

Creepy right? But as it turns out these 'mourning portraits' are something that's been going on since cameras were invented...


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Now, if the idea of someone presenting a preserved cadaver, sitting bolt-upright in a specifically-designed still life at their funeral puts you off, well then prepared to be put off.

Because at Miriam Burbank’s final send-off, her body was sat up at a table surrounded by items such as a flashing disco ball, bottles of Glenlivet whiskey, cans of Busch beer, cigarettes and flowers. To show that she supported the New Orleans Saints football team, her nails were painted black and orange – the same colour as their kit.

The whole idea of it, according to her daughters, was to show her at a party to symbolise that she was full of life. Maybe it was something she wished on, but there's no hint that this set-up was part of her dying wishes...

That said, she might have got the idea from somewhere else, as she’s not the only woman to have had a funeral like this. As WGNO reports, it’s something of a trend in New Orleans. In April, Mickery Easterling, a philanthropist and socialite ‘casually sat on an iron bench and greeted guests with champagne and a magnificent hat'.

The site gives a link where you can go to see the funeral, but we won’t share that here – do you really want to see that? Anyway, it’s happened in other countries, too, such as San Juan in Puerto Rico, where the Marin Funeral Home specialises in creating ‘dioramas’ for the dead, The Washington Post reported earlier this year. Other examples include a young boxer standing in a fake boxing ring, and a motorcyclist on top of his bike. And an 80-year-old woman, Georgina Cherbony Lloren, sitting in a rocking chair.

Still confused as to why this shit goes on? Well, these ‘mourning portraits’, as they've been called, actually happened loads in the olden days, especially if a child in a family died early, as these super creep-out photos show. It was probably seen as a continuation of how painters would draw people after their death, or sculptors would make death masks of people. It took a while to realise that actual photos of the dead people getting down to an activity alongside relatives was a bit macabre. The mourning portrait has mostly gone out of fashion but, in other countries, it still remains. Just like those embalmed remains themselves…

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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