After Son Dies, Grieving Mom ‘Sets Up’ His Body So He’s Surrounded By His Favorite Things

by Amy Paige
Amy is the Director of Trending Content at LittleThings. After graduating from Florida State University with a creative writing degree, she moved straight to New York City to pursue a career in the arts. She loves discovering and sharing viral videos, watching movies with her Muppet-like poodle mix named Cali, and doing the robot whenever possible.

Eighteen-year-old Renard Matthews was shot and killed in New Orleans. Since authorities have yet to find out who pulled the trigger and why, Renard’s family has been left with so many unanswered questions.

But there was one thing his loved ones knew for sure. They wanted to say goodbye to Renard by preparing his body for the wake in the way they wanted to honor and remember him most.

Renard’s wake was held at the Charbonnet Labat Glapion Funeral Home in Tremé, Louisiana — and his family wanted to have his body prepared in a very specific and personalized way.

Since Renard was an avid video gamer, he was positioned at his wake sitting upright in a leather chair and holding a PlayStation controller.

His favorite sports team, the Boston Celtics, played on the TV screen in front of him. He wore the team’s basketball jersey and matching socks. A bottle of his favorite drink, root beer, was placed on the table beside him, and a box of his favorite snacks, Chocolate Chip Crunch cereal, sat at his feet.

Neighbors have described Renard as a “nice young man,” and his grieving mother Temeka says he was a homebody who loved staying inside, playing video games, and watching sports. It wasn’t until recently, when Temeka bought her son a dog, that he began venturing outside more.

The Charbonnet Labat Glapion Funeral Home, which has been in business for over 100 years, is known for its funeral parades and unconventional embalmings. In 2014, it famously prepared the body of 53-year-old Miriam “Mae Mae” Burbank. During her wake, she was propped up at a table holding a beer and cigarette, true to her “party girl” ways.

Footage provided by WGNO New Orleans

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