WAY GOTHER

there will never be a 'new black'

Over My Dead Body | by Mara Louise

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We’ve had the pleasure of knowing Mara and listening to her jaw dropping stories for years and now we are thrilled and honored to get to share them with all of you! So before we give anything away…


 Working with dead people has never really affected me. Well, I guess they’re not technically people any more, are they? That word would imply cognitive thoughts, feelings, personality even. But dead bodies are all the same. They’re just hulls, housing all that once was and is no longer. Some of them may have scars or tattoos that give hints to the life they once led, but most of the ones that I see don’t even have heads. Without faces, they could be anyone.

I use the word cadaver mainly, but find myself shocked at the amount of people that furrow their brows in confusion, not knowing what the term means. Maybe they just don’t want to think about what happens when someone goes from being a person to being a shell. I am thinking about this as I stand in Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans, Louisiana, as a flood of cockroaches scatters across the ground like a thick, brown carpet, almost covering my feet. The caretaker there, clad in a dark one-piece uniform, is taking black body bags out of one square-shaped hole and shoving them to the back of another as he talks to me. “They’re just bags of bones now”, he says with a hollow laugh as he stuffs another in, and then slides down a piece of flimsy wood to close the opening in the above-ground mass grave. He then looks at me sideways and almost frightened as he realizes his words are true… “None of this bothers you, does it?”


Over My Dead Body is a monthly column that tells the true stories of a young woman working with dead bodies. These stories are written exclusively for Way Gother. Reproduction of ANY kind is strictly prohibited and will result in legal action.

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One comment on “Over My Dead Body | by Mara Louise

  1. Desiree
    February 3, 2015

    I want to read more! You really caught my attention, can’t wait for this columnn to expand.

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