PARIS — With 20 to 25 burials a day on average, the iconic Père Lachaise Cemetery is used to a steady pace of funerals — but these ceremonies are different.
On Monday, the largest cemetery in Paris was partially closed for two hours to allow 19 employees to meet with a psychologist about the trauma left by the funerals they've had to organize for 24 victims of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks.
As early as Nov. 14, the Père Lachaise staff went into "emergency" mode, Pascal Linier reports for Le Monde. It was a considerable change of pace for the usually peaceful cemetery in eastern Paris, where tourists the world over come to pay their respects to Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, Irish writer Oscar Wilde, Polish composer Frédéric Chopin, Greek opera singer Maria Callas, and French artists such as playwright Molière, singer Édith Piaf and writer Marcel Proust.
Père Lachaise's nine masters of ceremony and their assistants prepared 24 special ceremonies, trying to accomodate everyone who wanted to be present at the funerals.
The funerals weighed on the staff for another reason: The cemetery is just up the road from the Bataclan music venue, where 90 of the victims were killed.