July 12th, 2018 – A family in New Orleans tragically lost their teenaged son to gun violence and decided to remember him in a non-traditional way during his funeral. Renard Matthews, who was just 18-years-old when he was shot while walking the family dog two weeks ago, was embalmed and his body was set in a computer chair so family and friends could see him as he had lived.
An avid gamer, Matthews was posed with a PS4 controller in hand. To the side were his favorite snacks: root beer and Nacho Cheese Doritos. Instead of a suit, the basketball fan wore a Boston Celtics jersey, Kyrie Irving socks, and Nike sandals.
— WGNO (@WGNOtv) July 8, 2018
The Charbonnet Labat Glapion Funeral Home arranged the wake and even set up a television in front of Matthews’ body to play a Celtics video game. His mother, Temeka, said Matthews was “a bit of a homebody” and had just recently begun spending more time outside walking their new dog.
Local news station WGNO shared a video of the setup that the funeral home helped the family arrange. Since they wanted to highlight his everyday life, he was placed in a living room filled with an end table, a lamp, an entertainment center, and even some Chocolate Chip Crunch cereal.
The New Orleans funeral home has performed several non-traditional wakes in recent years, calling them “extreme embalmings.” Media outlets have reported on wakes that honored the deceased by posing them with beer and a cigarette, as well as one with a taxi driver placed inside his cab with his hands on the steering wheel.
“When I walked in, I feel like I was in her house and I didn’t hurt so much,” Sherline Burbank said of her sister’s bar-themed memorial in 2014. “Because it’s more of her, and it’s like she’s not dead. It’s not like a funeral home. It’s like she’s just in the room with us.“
Matthews was laid to rest on Tuesday, and police have still not released additional information about his murder.