Coon Dogs & Mariachi Bands | 4M #104

Funeral Industry News Morticians' Monday Morning Mashup September 11, 2023
4M 104

Coon Dogs & Mariachi Bands | 4M #104

Welcome to the hundred-and-fourth edition of Morticians’ Monday Morning Mashup, 4M #104, where we’ll serve up bite-sized, easily-digestible nuggets of the deathcare news you need to crush conversations in the week ahead. Bon appetit!

This newsletter is powered by MemoryShare, a funeral livestreaming platform that you can set up in 30 seconds or less.

The Burial is coming in October

As we reported last year, the Jamie Foxx and Tommy Lee Jones movie The Burial will hit Prime Video on October 13 — and you might want to watch. In the movie, Jones portrays Biloxi, Mississippi WWII fighter pilot/politician/funeral director Jeremiah Joseph O’Keefe, III, who in 1996 won a $500 million jury award in a contractual dispute with a rival funeral home company. The movie is “loosely” based on this trial, with Foxx playing O’Keefe’s attorney Willie E. Gary. According to one report, the movie will be “delving into the complexities and deceptions within the funeral industry.” Hmmmm…

Yes, it’s an Alabama thing

There’s not a whole lot of deathcare news that comes from my neck of the woods, but this one is worth sharing. Folks here in Northwest Alabama know two things that must happen in their lifetimes: Commit your soul as either a ‘Bama or Auburn fan (Roll Tide) and make the pilgrimage to the sacred Coon Dog Cemetery. As the name foreshadows, this is a cemetery exclusively for — you guessed it — coon dogs. These hounds that are bred to hunt, among other things, raccoons. Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard (its “proper” name), located near the venerable Natchez Trace Parkway in Colbert County, Alabama, is the only cemetery of its kind in the world (or so the sign posted on the pine tree claims). The first burial occurred in 1937 with the interment of a dog named Troop, and to date more than 350 coondogs have been laid to rest there. In addition to the annual celebration at the site every September, the Coon Dog Cemetery hosts more than 7,000 visitors every year. 

But I won’t do that …

Remember that Meat Loaf song that goes, “I would do anything for love …?” We love that people are finally realizing that today’s funeral homes will do “just about anything” to meet a family’s wants and needs (within reason, of course). Or at least, a few directors in Rhode Island will. News outlet The Valley Breeze recently interviewed folks from seven different funeral homes and found that they’ve done some pretty unusual things at families’ requests, including:

  • Streaming heavy metal music from an 80s rock band while hosting a tequila bar,
  • Holding a memorial at a local pub with the deceased’s favorite drink and Patriots tickets on every table (while the guest of honor was perched in a chair in his urn),
  • Asking a die-hard Red Sox fan to kneel in front of the deceased’s Yankees-themed casket,
  • Burying three folks with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, a Bingo case, and a chainsaw (respectively),
  • Booking a mariachi band as musicians for the service, and
  • Allowing a family to bring in a live chicken to view the deceased and another to prop up a motorcycle inside by the casket during the wake.

However, one director reminded the reporter that Rhode Island is a “traditional Catholic state, he said, so they don’t go too far.”

Eau du Mummy

From the “Um, why??” files: Scientists have recently recreated the “fragrance” of ancient balms used during Egyptian embalming and mummification processes more than 3,500 years ago. Since most of us won’t be traveling to the Denmark museum where they will have what they’re calling “The Scent of Eternity” on display, we’ll do you a favor. According to scent experts, the “concoction of beeswax, bitumen, plant oil and tree resin” smells like disinfectant and freshly-paved parking lots. A professor in sensory history told the UK’s Guardian, “To our noses, the warm, resinous, pine-like odours of larch might be more reminiscent of cleaning products, and the sulphurous scent of bitumen might put us in mind of asphalt.” Yum. Hope they won’t be making that available in eau du toilette.

It must be a very special urn

A woman recently took her frustrations with a Memphis funeral home to a local TV news station in the hopes the publicity will help her get her mom’s cremains back … after nearly a year. According to the report, the funeral director told her that the urn for the deceased, who was cremated in December, is “on backorder.” Her daughter says directors won’t answer her calls or let her in the building, adding that they recently “blocked the door” when she visited. She said she’s seen her mother’s cremains in the director’s office in a black box “with a bow on top” but he won’t release them to her without the urn.

Say goodbye to Facebook

If you’re using Facebook for live streaming, does this sound familiar?

  • Copyrighted music is silenced (even with proper certifications!)
  • Advertisements out of your control pop up during the livestream
  • It’s difficult for families to access because it requires a Facebook account

This is why Carlton Stevens Jr., Operations Manager and Mortician at Stevens Funeral Home in North Carolina, said goodbye to Facebook and switched to MemoryShare—a live streaming platform built specifically for funeral professionals.

“Now, families don’t have to worry about Facebook accounts. It works, and it’s easy to use,” Carlton said. “It’s the best, I’m telling you. It’s liquid gold.”

After he started offering live streaming during the pandemic, Carlton saw Stevens Funeral Home call volume bump from 20 calls to 41 calls.

Today, Stevens Funeral Home live streams a service every other day.

And with MemoryShare, all they have to do is push a button.

“It’s a no brainer,” Carlton said.

Read how Carlton is using livestreaming to grow his business in our latest case study—click here to read it!