Judge rules monks can sell caskets
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge has ruled that an order of monks can sell caskets without having a Louisiana funeral home license.
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 board had blocked the monks from selling caskets with simple white cloth interiors for $1,500 to $2,000.
The board contended that the abbey must meet state funeral licensing requirements to sell caskets.
U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval ruled Thursday that the requirements violate the monks' constitutional rights. The judge said "there is no rational basis" for the standards to be applied to those only wanting to sell caskets.