Miriam "Mae-Mae" Burbank succumbed to cancer earlier this
month, her New Orleans family determined the funeral would be
no ordinary celebration of her life.
Instead of a traditional casket, the deceased 53-year-old was
seated at a table for the two days of services that concluded
Friday (local time), with a menthol cigarette in hand, disco
balls overhead, a can of her preferred Busch beer in front of
her and a bottle of Jack Daniels within reach.
"They wanted to do her the way she lived," said Bishop Percy
McCray, a longtime friend who officiated at her funeral.
"That's the way she lived her life. That's what she liked to
A lifelong New Orleans Saints fan, Burbank was dressed in the
football team's colors - gold and black - with matching nail
The area around her at the Charbonnet Funeral Home, done up
to look like a living room, was roped off, with the remainder
of the room divided between areas resembling a church and a
nightclub, McCray said.
McCray, who works at the funeral home, said visitors
attending another funeral and passersby from the street alike
marveled at Burbank in her final glory.
"Some people said, 'That's the way I want to go out!'" McCray
said. "It was exciting."
It is not the first time the funeral home has honored an
unorthodox funeral request, McCray said.
Two years ago, noted jazz and blues singer "Uncle" Lionel
Batiste was propped up to stand to greet his mourners for the