Saying goodbye NOLA style

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NEW ORLEANS-- Since 1823, it's been tradition for New Orlenians to bury their loved ones above ground like in the St. Louis Cemetery #2.

What hasn't been tradition with the rest of the country is how we, in New Orleans say goodbye.

"Funerals are becoming an event. I had a funeral recently, where there was a plane that flew over with a banner. A funeral a couple months ago had a helicopter drop rose petals," said Louis Charbonnet of the Charbonnet-Labat Funeral Home.

Saying goodbye is big business here.  An elaborate funeral could costs more than $15,000.

Our traditions go back over a century.  In New Orleans, it's all about thinking outside of the box or outside of the casket.

Katie Burlison, of the Hermann-Grima House explains, "In New Orleans we had a very unique mix, just as we call it a gumbo of cultures with our food. We had that as well with our religion and spiritual practices. You have the creole Catholicism hand in hand with African traditions the enslaved would have brought with them from the Caribbean. Those kind of things would have been practiced here."

Saying goodbye isn't as finite as it sounds.  In voodoo practices there's also a chance to say hello.

"Voodoo was part of New Orleans history since 1719, when slave ships brought people over from the Senegambian region of Africa and put these people into slavery and took away their identities and family and so ancestors became very important. All of voodoo, all of the sacred songs and dances are about going to that doorway that separates the living and dead and opening it up, so that they can come back out and dance with us," according to Manbo Asogwe Sally Ann Glassman.


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