Death: the podcast

New Orleans has a unique relationship to death: we have a ridiculously high murder rate, we party at funerals, and we end up above ground. Death: the podcast tells the stories of personal experiences of death - fear of it, laughing at it, life-changing brushes with it, dealing with lost loved ones, and our own inevitable and unknown heart-stopping moment. Through confronting death we learn what it is to be alive.

Grief After Stillbirth

Grief After Stillbirth
November 7, 2016

 In 2001, David Hlavsa and his wife, Lisa Holtby, lost their first son, James, at 20 weeks gestation. In 2007, this loss inspired David's first essay, "My First Son, A Pure Memory," which was featured in the "Modern Love" column of the The New York Times.  He later penned the critically-acclaimed memoir, "Walking Distance: Pilgrimage, Parenthood, Grief, and Home Repairs," which chronicles David and Lisa's journey through the Camino de Santiago, infertility,... Read More »

Speaking to the Unspeakable

Speaking to the Unspeakable
October 24, 2016

Growing up on the family rhubarb and pumpkin farm, Shannon Ritscher's life was like that of most small-town teenagers. In 1986, all that changed when Shannon's brother, Steve, killed himself. Devastated by the loss of his son, four years later, Shannon's father David, also took his own life. Despite these set backs, Shannon found a way to move forward. She earned an art degree, married, became a mother, and started the... Read More »

The Living Urn

The Living Urn
October 10, 2016

Co-founders Mark Brewer, Mike Walas and Brandon Patty were on a mission: to create an eco-friendly way of honoring the dead.   After years of working with leading soil scientists and arborists, The Living Urn was born.  With its biodegradable planting systems now available online and in over 250 Funeral Homes nationwide, The Living Urn is transforming the death care industry, one memorial tree at a time. Join Arian’s conversation with Mark... Read More »

Let Him Get the Pretzels

Let Him Get the Pretzels
September 26, 2016

Jill Farbarik and her husband Ray were dining with friends and watching their children play. Jill had no idea this would be her last dinner as Ray's wife, her last night of co-parenting their two daughters, the last night as the matriarch of their happy, healthy family of four. The following morning Jill's husband collided with a tree while skiing. On March 22, 2014, surrounded by his loved ones, Ray Farbarik... Read More »

The Gift of Song

The Gift of Song
August 29, 2016

When Annie Garretson and Sally Rothstein met, they never imagined their friendship and love of music would find them at the bedside of those at life's precipice. The Pikes Peak Threshold Singers aren't just any choir. They are a group who share the final moments of strangers, community members, and, even their loved ones lives, with soft, gentle messages of peace and grace. Listen in as Arian explores with Sally and Annie... Read More »

Death Becomes Us

Death Becomes Us
June 20, 2016

Pamela Skjolsvik never dreamed that a misrouted phone call would change the course of her master’s thesis and, ultimately, her life.   When the call, originally intended for her graduate advisor, was mysteriously redirected to a funeral home, a seed was planted. That seed grew into the now critically-acclaimed book, “Death Becomes Us."   What if we could schedule our own death? How does a person cope with his or her impending execution? What... Read More »

Little Deaths: A conversation with Cole Imperi

Little Deaths: A conversation with Cole Imperi
May 16, 2016

Cole Imperi was not your typical nineteen-year-old. While most of her peers were watching television and going to parties, Cole was studying biblical Hebrew and learning about grief. In her late twenties, a devastating assault pushed Cole, not toward isolation or destruction, but toward radical acceptance and unabashed forgiveness. At thirty, with a bright purple curl proudly perched atop her forehead, one might expect to see Cole anywhere but teaching yoga... Read More »

Death Over Dinner

Death Over Dinner
May 2, 2016

What do two young, vibrant restaurant owners in New Orleans have to say about the subject of death? More than you would think.  In recognition of National Healthcare Decisions Day, Mani Dawes and Robért LeBlanc open up about failure, loss, and family. We’ve saved you a spot at the table.  Join us at Kenton’s and find out what happens when two of New Orleans' most successful restauranteurs take death out to dinner.   To find... Read More »

How We Live with Death Row

How We Live with Death Row
April 18, 2016

Why should we care about Death Row? Because it says more about us a culture than most of us think. Rose Vines coordinates all social media and technology for The Ministry Against the Death Penalty. She works side-by-side with Sister Helen Prejean to abolish capital punishment in the United States. In this episode of Death: The Podcast, Rose reflects with Arian about the experience of visiting Death Row, the experience of forming... Read More »

Underneath the White Coat

Underneath the White Coat
April 4, 2016

Dr. Joseph Semmes had to turn in his lab coat for a hospital gown. The process led Joe to see health care, his health care, in a different light. Becoming a patient motivated Joe to widen his scope of practice to palliative and hospice medicine. Joe has since championed their use to increase quality of life and, at times, extend life.  Arian talks with Joe about his journey through his own... Read More »

Decisions of the Heart

Decisions of the Heart
March 21, 2016

New Orleans veterinarian Dr. Rachelle Biondolillo dedicates her days to saving the lives of pets. But she also finds herself being called on to end life. When she ventures into the territory of end of life care for pets, Dr. B. - as she's known to her clients - is no longer just a veterinarian with animal care skills, she's now navigating the waters of the emotional and psychological bond... Read More »

Comparative Death

Comparative Death
March 7, 2016

Ferrari-shaped coffins? Narco tombs? Yes, they do exist. Justin Nobel travels the world investigating diverse death practices in places you've heard about, and many you haven't. Justin chronicles his cross-cultural death discoveries in his unique blog, Digital Dying. On this edition of Death: the podcast, Arian talks with Justin about how various death rituals have evolved over the years. What compels a young guy like Justin to travel the globe observing how we humans... Read More »

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