An order of Benedictine monks sued Louisiana regulators Thursday for blocking them from selling handmade caskets because the monks are not licensed funeral directors.

The monks of the 121-year-old St. Joseph Abbey, in St. Tammany Parish north of New Orleans, charge the state Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors is attempting to maintain a casket cartel, and that board members are mostly engaged in industry they regulate.

They claim the regulations are unconstitutional.

The monks planned to sell their wooden caskets for $1,500 or $2,000 to support the abbey.

They tried to get an exemption from the regulations in 2008 and 2010, but legislators rejected the requests.

A lawyer for the embalmers board could not immediately be reached for comment.