Today we had a visit to Angola Penitentiary planned. When we turned up we found out that we couldn’t join that mornings tour because it was for basically naughty children who had been sent there as a deterrent to future bad behaviour and the insurance wouldn’t allow us to go too. So we ended up having a personal chauffeur who was the Director of the museum lol. This had both good and bad points for us. The good thing was that we got personal service and the freedom to ask all the questions we wanted. We were driven around parts of the 18000 acre site, which holds over 6000 prisoners, the majority of whom will never be released. They also have approx 60 prisoners on death row there. Other than the death row prisoners, the others have the chance to earn some kinds of freedom within the prison, so all of them have to serve at least 10 years working in the fields and then, if they have behaved well they have t the chance to apply for different jobs. They have a huge variety of jobs available depending on your skills or desires so there are cowboys that take care of the cattle, people that take care of the horses or other animals, people who train the dogs to be drug dogs etc (and some of those get to live in separate houses near their dogs), carpenters, groundwork, basically any trade you can think of they have here. They have a rodeo every year where the public are allowed in and the prisoners take part in the rodeo and sell their crafts, foods etc. Some of the prisoners run cafes etc on site which the people who work there use. Some of the people that work there live on site with their families too, it’s basically a huge, pretty much self sustaining city in its own right, with its own postcode etc. Many people that work and live here have never lived anywhere else and come from generations of people who have worked there. Unfortunately we didn’t get to try the prison food since we weren’t on the proper tour and I think the visit was tailored to show it in as good a light as possible really. For a prison it really was a beautiful place and many of the prisoners had a lot of freedom but it is still a prison and some people, who weren’t able to adapt to their situation still live behind bars. It was a really interesting and eye opening visit for us though.
After the prison visit we made our way up to Natchez. Stopped in at Mammys Cupboard and tried a Reuben sandwich, without the sauerkraut, which we both loved, with blueberry lemonade followed by a banana caramel cream pie, also yummy! Natchez is full of old buildings and a lot of antebellum houses so we had a little look around those and went to a bar for another daquiru before an early night.
No photo’s today from inside the prison 🙁 but we have some from the museum, the hearse was made by prison inmates and is used even now at the funerals of inmates, the wooden coffins are also made by the inmates as previous to the present prison govenor, cardboard coffins where used and one unfortunate inmate fell through the bottom of a damp cardboard coffin.
Tomorrow, more exploring of Natchez. Until then, later gators. Ps root beer, daquiru and laffy taffy are now my new favourite things, oh and ruebens and crawfish…. there could be a long list here soon.
Vewier discretion is advised!