Such an informative piece, and equally informative comments. I don’t have much of a following yet at my blog, Kentucky Taphophile, but I do try to direct people here and other places where information like this can be “accidentally stumbled on” before its too late and a vulnerable person learns the hard way what kind of people really run the funeral industry. It really is a shock to go from “pre-knowledge” to “informed” on this matter…and awareness is definitely a challenge. I thank FCA for investing so much time informing us all….hopefully those of us opening eyes to your existence (people should know bout this place before they’re thinking funeral!) grows…which may, in turn, result in a bit more accountability and responsibility on behalf of our bureaucrats and the death care world they are supposed to oversee. I poured my long-winded thoughts about this specific matter into my blog and found myself getting more angry and passionate as I typed. There’s just so many things wrong with this story! Its interesting to note that in July Louisiana’s governor threw out the requirement that called for FLORISTS (why the hell are we spending money on regulating florists??) to pass a pass/fail flower arrangement test judged by…you got it…ACTIVE FLORISTS and possible competitors. How can Louisiana officials suggest, without stuttering, that our flowers are deemed worthy of saving from such a biased certification process, but our deceased loved ones are not? I liked on excellent point made by Coudrain, one of the monks involved: Louisiana does not “…require other retailers to obtain licenses that are only tangentially related to the goods being sold, as it does for caskets. For example, Louisiana does not require shoe salesmen to obtain podiatry licenses, or mattress salesmen to obtain chiropractic licenses.” So true. My family runs a liquor store and beer bar. Using the logic of Louisiana, I would not only need a business and liquor retail license, but a permit to distill bourbon and conduct winery tours as well. If Louisiana wants to regulate casket retail, and their officials choose to buckle under special interest pressure when someone tries the right way to get a waiver from existing law, they should get off their rears and do so – retail is retail – if a guy can sell parts for a car (which are VERY specific) then he can sell a casket…and, if cemeteries in LA are really that specific, he can reference a book same as he does for the car part (funny how he doesn’t endure much “formal training” – and he’s effecting moving vehicles that will be on the road!). Besides…if the issue was truly about meeting cemetery specifications, how do they deal with caskets bought out of state or from WALMART? Federal law won’t let them prohibit these sales….but I haven’t heard about them causing many problems either. Anyone else know of problems occurring at LA cemeteries because caskets off-limits to Louisiana’s rules aren’t meeting some sort of specs? I really would like to look into this…LA cemeteries are considerably different than most in the nation, and I would love to be educated on this. I almost felt myself angered when I read the comment from one LA board member about regulations such as these existing “to protect consumers making an at-need purchase at a vulnerable time.” This, of course, is when I direct readers to visit FCA and research the causes behind the 1984 Funeral Law being passed. We need protection from MONKS? And our protectors are those belonging to a group with a PROVEN history of fraud and deception DURING TIMES OF MOURNING? Who continue to show an unethical streak by thinking it appropriate to have ACTIVE funeral directors wielding power over competitors that may actually give a damn about their clients? Yup, that comment really got to me. That guy is almost as good as the fishing attorney they have. Bottom line – every time we turn around in this country some small but significant right to choose for ourselves is taken away. DEATH, of all things, is a matter that should be dealt with by FAMILY – not agenda and profit driven businessmen or bureaucrats. Until they PROVE casket specifications are critical, they should be off limits….hell, they should be held accountable for UNETHICALLY regulating them in the first place. CORRUPTION is CORRUPTION – you don’t have to be a Senator to have a detrimental effect on others….but you’ve got to be a real piece of work to corrupt the world of burying loved ones. Sorry for venting yall.