Funeral directors in Louisiana can’t stop monks from selling their simple handmade caskets. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Benedictine monks of St. Joseph Abbey near Covington, La., have a right to sell caskets in their home state. The monks’ victory helps them pursue the livelihood they’ve forged in the years since 2005, when Hurricane Katrina decimated timber holdings that had previously provided essential income for the abbey. It also gives Louisiana consumers access to basic cypress caskets that sell for $1,500 and $2,000 — far below prices charged at the state’s funeral homes, according to the court opinion.
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