May 25 2012, Rededication of RED HAT Cellblock

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Cathy Fontenot

May 25, 2012

(225) 200.2022

(Angola, La.) – Warden Burl Cain invites you to attend on June 15, 2012, the Rededication Ceremony to be held for the historic Angola Red Hat cellblock at Louisiana State Penitentiary.

Warden Burl Cain announces the rededication of the Red Hat cellblock at Louisiana State Penitentiary.  After nearly a year of labor, the structure has been returned to operating order.  The cellblock will not open as an inmate housing area, however.  The historic lockdown, the first of its kind at Angola, has been restored for viewing as part of the L.S.P. Museum tour circuit.

Warden Burl Cain’s decision to save the Red Hat cellblock serves as a reminder of Angola’s history.  “Saving this building means something, it means we can learn from mistakes of the past,” said Warden Cain.  In 2003, a ceremonial ribbon cutting was held when Angola’s Red Hat cellblock was added to the National Register of Historic Places.    In an interview with the Angolite, then Assistant Warden Donald Davis tells of a trip he took to Angola, as a child in 1957.  “I may be in corrections today because of what I saw then.  No one should have been treated that way,” said the former assistant warden.

The Red Hat cellblock was built in 1934, after Captain John Singleton and Officer J. Fletcher were killed by inmate/escape artist Charlie Frazier. The cellblock received its unique name because convicts who were confined there wore hats which had been dipped in red paint to distinguish them from other offenders.  The location also served to house Death Row offenders and in 1957 a wooden annex to house the state’s electric chair was built. Eleven executions were held at the annex between 1957 and 1961.

The Louisiana State Penitentiary administration and members of the Museum Foundation will be on-site to welcome those interested in attending the reopening on Friday, June 15, 2012, at 10:00 a.m.  We would like to recognize the contributions and hard work of Judge Hal Ware for making this event possible by donating his time and resources to establish a machine shop on the grounds, as well as several certified offender vocational mentors and their peers/students, who worked diligently to revive the historic landmark’s mechanisms after years of dormancy.