Casket store opens in The Esplanade Mall - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Casket store opens in The Esplanade Mall

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KENNER, La. - It's not what you'd typically shop for at The Esplanade Mall.

"What we offer here is a way to customize or celebrate someone's life," said Jonathan Lahatte.

Lahatte is the owner of Till We Meet Again. It's a brand new store that will carry very different merchandise.

"It's a personalized store that has customized caskets," he said.

He says the options are endless. The store has an exclusive license with the NCAA, meaning diehard LSU fans can spend eternity in a casket decked out with their team's logo. There's even a Who Dat casket, as well as a casket made especially to represent New Orleans.

"It will have pictures of Katrina. It will have pictures from the French Quarter and even the rebirth flag on it," Lahatte said.

When a federal judge cleared the way for St. Joseph Abbey monks to sell their handcrafted pine caskets on the northshore, Lahatte says he spotted an opportunity to pursue his dream.

"I was following the case, and then I found this company on the Internet. I thought, wow, this would be a great idea for the city," he said.

If you can dream it, Lahatte says he can have it built. He won't just be selling caskets - customized urns will also be sold. There's even something called "cremation jewelry" in the store.

"We can basically put the ashes of your loved ones inside of a piece of jewelry and you can wear them close to your heart forever," Lahatte said.

Lahatte is a first-time business owner after spending 10 years as an Orleans Parish Sheriff's Deputy. He admits it's risky leaving a steady job for a retail business in death, but it's a chance he's willing to take.

The store's grand opening is Saturday at The Esplanade Mall.

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