Covering Louisiana

Jun 5, 2011 11:17 AM by Chris Welty

Monks' Casket Fight Lands in Federal Court

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - An order of Benedictine monks takes on the
funeral industry Monday in a federal court dispute over whether the
monks can sell simple caskets - or the state can block them from
doing so until they pass a myriad of licensing requirements.
The monks of St. Joseph Abbey in St. Tammany Parish sued in
August, saying the Louisiana Board of Embalmers and Funeral
Directors maintains a "casket cartel" through regulation
dominated by the funeral business.
The monks built and sold about 50 to 60 coffins with simple
white cloth interiors for $1,500 to $2,000 before regulators told
them they were violating the law. The abbey receives no funding
from the Roman Catholic Church.
The state funeral board said it is merely enforcing the law.

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