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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - A New Orleans woman remembered as a “party girl” is receiving a send-off that captures her zest for life.

In life Miriam Burbank loved a cold beer, and an occasional scotch.

She also loved the New Orleans Saints; and if she wasn’t on her porch, the party girl affectionately called, Mae-Mae, would frequent some of the city’s neighborhood bars.

“She gets down, 53. She’s not a normal 53,” Burbank’s daughter Zymora Kimball said.

So it’s only fitting, that it all be captured as part of her home-going.

“I didn’t want her to just go, just go. So, I had to do something amazing. So she’s never forgotten,” Kimball said.

Burbank’s daughters had a vision and presented it to funeral directors at Charbonnet Funeral Home, located in Treme.

“They said they didn’t want a traditional religious type service,” Intern Funeral Director Lyelle Bellard said. “That she was just one of those people that just enjoyed life enjoyed living, just enjoyed people.”

Burbank is sitting at a table wearing Saints colors.

Her fingernails are even painted black and gold.

She’s got her Busch beer and menthol cigarettes.

The arraignment has been well received by friends and family members.

“When I walked in, I feel like I was in her house and I didn’t hurt so much,” sister Sherline Burbank said. “Because it’s more of her, and it’s like she’s not dead. It’s not like a funeral home. It’s like she’s just in the room with us.”

Charbonnet Funeral Home is leading the charge in non-traditional send-offs.

Treme Brass Band drummer Lionel Batiste stood in the Funeral Chapel.

Another funeral home placed socialite Mickey Easterling on a bench with a glass of champagne.

“You know we celebrate life. We celebrate the passing. We celebrate the home going of people,” Bellard explained.

Initially, there was some resistance in the Burbank camp.

“A lot of people didn’t accept what I was doing,” Kimball explained. “I didn’t let that stop me, and I know she’s happy with how she’s looking. That’s her, that’s Mae.”

In the end everyone is pleased.

“I think it’s amazing, for him to capture someone’s actual life, their life-style. They way they lived,” family friend Lisa Moore said.

It was a celebration of life just the way Burbank would have wanted it.

“I think that it’s something new and trending; and I think it’s a good way to cross over,” Moore said.

The celebration continues with a full memorial service Friday at 11 a.m., at Charbonnet Funeral Home, located at 1625 St. Phillip Street, New Orleans.


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