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ICCFA in New Orleans or “The Crescent City”, “The Big Easy”, “The City That Care Forgot”, “Nawlins”

New Orleans, Louisiana or “The Crescent City”, “The Big Easy”, “The City That Care Forgot”, “Nawlins” and/or NOLA might have a number of nicknames but one thing is for sure it is widely known for its nightlife, vibrant live-music scene and spicy, southern creole cuisine reflecting the melting pot of French, African and American cultures. What a location for the ICCFA Annual Convention and Expo 2016! I fell in love with New Orleans completely, despite a stolen purse, missed flights and the typical Irish weather dampening the experience.

 The welcome was superb. A taste of a true Nawlins funeral and wow what a send off!. You can see a video clip of it on my blog – It was definitely the best part of the expo for me. But what else was there that was new or interesting?

 There was UPD Urns – the Always bust is sculpted by world class 3D artists or bronze sculptors. The bust sits on top of a flat cremation urn where cremains can be safely stored. If ordered before a passing (preneed) the bust can be delivered so it is present for the funeral and the cremains interred after the cremation process and the bust can then stand in a family home as a lasting tribute to a loved one. It takes 6-8 weeks but as it is based in Oregon I would allow a further 2 weeks for shipping to Ireland. See more

As always, I’m delighted when I hear of some Irish lurking at these shows and usually I can find at least one! This time it was PLOT BOX. Having already covered the cemetery in Dún Laoghaire and currently commissioned to do all of the graveyards in Carlow, these guys are set for big things. The Plot Box team map cemeteries, from old closed historical grounds to 200 acre fully functioning sites. Especially important in Ireland where we still rely so heavily on paper for everything, these guys digitize existing paper trails into high resolution maps. Ancestry researchers will love this as life will get a whole lot easier as they can browse online databases to find graves and records of their ancestors. See more

One of the strangest booths at the show and one that may not be for everyone was Save my Ink Forever. These guys have developed a unique process of preserving a person’s tattoo after they have passed on. The embalmer removes the tattoo from the body following the directions provided by Save my Ink and sends it in a preservation box to the guys who then return it ‘preserved’ and framed. Its certainly not for the faint of heart but I can imagine it will appeal to some. Check out for more info.

 I have to give a big shout out to AP Lazer who gave me my very own personalized mini coffin – hopefully I wont need the real one anytime soon! These guys are trying to change the way we think of death care by focussing on memory care. Their laser machines are amazing and would allow a lot of funeral homes to personalize countless products at the touch of a button saving both money and time for them and the families they care for. For more info check out

All in all a great show with lots of innovation and also a lot of familiar faces which shows long term investment and stamina in the industry which isn’t easy. I absolutely fell in love with New Orleans and as I said despite the stolen purse, missed flights and the rain I still got to taste all of what New Orleans has to offer and she is vibrant for sure!

Jennifer Muldowney
Jennifer Muldowney