Editor's Note: I See Dead People
Ok, not really, but the morbid side of me was fulfilled this month with the few hours I spent along with our photographer, Cheryl Gerber, touring the Jacob Schoen & Son funeral home.
The afternoon, I have to say, was full of surprises. I’ve only been in a funeral home once — right after my little brother was killed by a drunk driver 20 years ago — and it was an awful experience. Granted, the circumstances were horrendous, but it didn’t help that the place itself was dark, severely outdated and musty and the funeral home director was so unfeeling that he at times bordered on inappropriate.
Understandably, I was a little reluctant to take on this piece, but I’m so glad I did. I got to see how things should be done.
Walking in the door of Jacob Schoen & Son I had one clear feeling: peace. It’s light and airy and grand — kind of like you’ve been invited to a glamorous brunch. And our host, Patrick Schoen, could not have been kinder or more accommodating, with the sort of effortless Southern charm and casual, relaxed demeanor that put you instantly at ease.
I used to wonder how any person could be attracted to funeral work, but after meeting Schoen, I get it. What could be more honorable than fulfilling someone’s last wishes on earth? What could be more meaningful or beautiful than supporting and helping people celebrate the life of someone they love?
Over seven years ago, when my family moved to New Orleans, I remember someone telling me, “This is a city that knows how to live and knows how to die.”
I absolutely agree.