A Youngsville man shared pictures of his homemade casket with me recently, and  I was quite impressed.

No one likes to think about it, but it is inevitable: we are all going to die. No one gets out of this place alive, and I think that we would all live a little better if we took some time to realize that fact.

My buddy Hobeaux had to face the inevitability of his own death after a cancer diagnosis. With the help of great doctors, he kicked cancer's butt, but it did leave him thinking.

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Not one to burden others, Hobeaux decided that he would take care of all of his arrangements before his number was called and, being a craftsman, he designed and built his own casket.

Louisiana Law used to state that it was illegal for anyone in the state to sell caskets, except for licensed funeral directors, but that law was challenged by a group of monks in Covington. The monks argued that they had a right to make a living by selling their handiwork (the caskets) and that the law stating they couldn't sell them served no one - except for the funeral directors. The 5th Circuit agreed with the monks.

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With that being said, it NEVER was illegal for people to provide their own casket for a funeral. The only stipulation for a casket for burial is that it must fit within the crypt (or vault, if one is to be used).

(Interesting note: I've found more than one source online that says that one doesn't even need a casket for burial in Louisiana. This funeral ethics website says that no casket is needed for burial by state law in Lousiana!)

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After consulting with a local funeral director and knowing that he was well within the law, Hobeaux, with the help of his friend Phillip at American Millworks on Verot, built his own casket, and it is a beauty! Made from cypress and cedar that he milled himself, the casket features beautiful wood, cleated joints, cast moldings, and other casket things (handles, hinges, etc).

It's not quite finished in these pictures, as he will add bedding (that will by cushy on his tushy!) and more trim (I would add a panic button, but that's just me).

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Beautiful work, Hobeaux!

(Funeral Ethics)