Teen shooting victim propped in chair ‘playing Xbox’ surrounded by favourite snacks for bizarre memorial
When a loved one dies, it's sometimes best to remember them with the things they used to love to do. After all, what better way to say goodbye to a passed on family member or friend than celebrating the way they lived their life?
That's exactly what Renard Matthews' family did after he was tragically murdered in New Orleans two weeks ago. The 18-year-old was shot dead while out walking his dogs in an alleged street robbery which saw his phone be taken.
Described by his mother as a "homebody" who didn't like leaving the house, Renard's family decided to give him a send-off like none seen before. Rather than a tradition wake, instead, the teenager's body was dressed in a Boston Celtics team jersey and matching socks (his favourite team).
He was then propped up in a leather swivel chair in front of the television, which was showing a video of one of the American professional basketball team's games. Wearing sunglasses, he had a video games console in his hands and was surrounded by his favourite snacks, Chocolate Chip Crunch breakfast cereal, Barq's Root Beer and Doritos.
The scene at Charbonnet Labat Glapion Funeral Home was a truly odd sight to behold. However, as bizarre as it appeared, it seemed to perfectly represent Renard's personality. His mother, Temeka Matthews, told local news station WGNO that her son mostly enjoyed staying in, adding that he had only recently started venturing outside more frequently since she bought him a dog.
Police investigating the shooting have not yet given a motive for the shooting and no arrests have been made, according to The Times-Picayune newspaper. However, the 18-year-old's aunt reportedly told the newspaper that she believed her nephew's mobile phone had been stolen.
His wake was far from the first unconventional memorial, with reports claiming that the Charbonnet Labat Glapion Funeral Home has performed "extreme embalmings" before.
The trend allegedly began in 2012 with the death of renowned jazz musician Lionel Batiste, who didn't want people looking down at him in a coffin, so had himself positioned standing up, dressed in a suit and leaning on a lamppost with both hands resting on his walking cane.
Since, then the funeral home has practically specialised in setting up post-death scenes, with a particularly memorable one being "party girl" Miriam 'Mae Mae' Burbank, who was known to her friends and family for being a girl who liked to have a good time.
After dying aged 53, Miriam - described as "full of life" - had her body posed sitting in a living room with a beer, a menthol cigarette and an ashtray at a table. A disco ball was above, flashing "across her glossy lips and sunglasses."
As unusual as many of these memorials are, you have to admit that it's fantastic these families have found such a unique way to celebrate their loved ones' lives. Speaking of eccentric ways of celebrating death, people in this village dig up their relatives and give them a makeover every year.