Louisiana monks in coffin casket row

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Benedictine monks have always built their own caskets for their personal use at Saint Joseph Abbey, Louisiana. Only in 2007 did they decide to make a business out of it.

After Hurricane Katrina devastated most of the monastery's cypress trees, which used to be a source of revenue, the coffin-building workshop seemed like a good investment.

But before they even sold their first casket the monks received a cease-and-desist letter - the were being sued by the Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.

The board cited a Louisiana law that prevents anybody except for licensed funeral homes to sell caskets.

A judge ruled in favour of the monks, but the funeral homes appealed. A final ruling is expected in a few months.

In the meantime, the BBC takes a look at the rebellious monks and their battle for a free market for caskets.

Produced by Anna Bressanin. Camera by Ilya Shnitser.

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