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Angola State Penitentiary
Angola, La.  70712
225-655-4411
       225-655-2319   fax

Angola Rodeo History

35 Years of Guts & Glory

     The Angola Rodeo, the longest running prison rodeo in the nation, got its start in 1965.  The first arena was small, built by a handful of dedicated inmates and personnel.  It wasn't much in those days, and the rodeo was staged just for the entertainment of prisoners and employees.  But it was fun.

     The 1967 rodeo was opened to the general public on a limited basis.  there were no stands.  Spectators had to sit on apple crates and the hoods of their cars to watch the performances.

   The success of the 1967 and 1968 rodeos prompted construction of a 4,500-seated arena for the 1969 rodeo.  A near disaster occurred when the bleachers collapsed during one of the shows.  Spectators weren't alarmed; most didn't even get up.  they sat on the collapsed structure and continued to watch.  The 1971 rodeo was the wettest in history, but the show went on.

     As years passed, the rodeo grew in size adding events and sponsorships.  The official Rodeo Cowboys Association rules were adopted in 1972 and the rodeo became a permanent fixture.  In 1997, spectator capacity was increased by a thousand seats and construction of a roof over the seating area began.  Hobbycraft space was expanded to the point where it is no longer just a little concession area on the side for some inmates to make a few bucks.  It is now an all-day full-blown arts and crafts festival, complete with entertainment and food galore, that opens at 9 a.m. and continues through the rodeo which begins at 2 p.m.   Some fans come to the rodeo for the arts and crafts show alone.  Ticket, concession and hobbycraft sales for the last two rodeos have broken all records, prompting the administration to build another arena for Rodeo 2000 with double the capacity.

     What began 35 years ago as a "fun" thing by a handful of rodeo-loving inmates and employees is now big business.

The Angola Prison Rodeo is held every Sunday during the month of October. All tickets - $10.00. Children 2 and under who will NOT occupy a seat are admitted free. For details, visit the Angola Rodeo web site at Angola Rodeo.
  • Republished from the 1998-2006 Angola Prison Rodeo Program with permission from Louisiana State Penitentiary, Louisiana Department of public safety & corrections.

  • angola museum entrance to angola prison
        Photo courtesy of Angola Museum

    Angola State Penitentiary
    Museum
    Angola, La.  70712
    225-655-2592
          

    Museum
    "The Gateway to Angola"

    Welcome to
    The Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum


    The museum is open Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4:30 PM,
    on Saturdays from 9 AM until 5 PM, and on Sundays from 1 PM until 5 PM.
    It is closed on New Year's Day, Easter, July 4th,
    Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

    HISTORY OF THE MUSEUM
    ACQUISITION AND DEVELOPMENT

    In 1995, Warden Burl Cain conceived the idea of establishing a prison museum to preserve Angola's rich history. He persuaded the Bank of Commerce, now a part of the Hancock Bank, to donate the museum building which was formerly the Angola Branch of the St. Francisville facility. Items for museum exhibits have been collected from various offices at the Angola penitentiary and central offices at Baton Rouge. In addition to various official state documents, the written history of the institution is based primarily upon three major sources: prison officials, prisoners, and historians.

    A non-profit museum foundation has been established through the creation of articles of incorporation and appointment of a 33-member board of directors. The foundation will enable the museum to be eligible for grants and other funding which will allow the museum to operate without the encumbrances of the Louisiana State Treasury.


    EXPANSION

    In December, 1998, funds were allocated through the West Feliciana Parish Police Jury and Governor Murphy J. "Mike" Foster's Rural Development Grant Program to expand the museum. Using inmate labor, work has recently been completed to double the size of the museum. A gift shop is now open and features inmate crafts, books, posters, t-shirts and other gift items. museum.


    HOURS OF OPERATION

    The museum is open Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4:30 PM, on Saturdays from 9 AM until 5 PM, and on Sundays from 1 PM until 5 PM. It is closed on New Year's Day, Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.


    ADMISSION

    The museum is operated by the Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum Foundation which is a non-profit organization. Although no admission is charged to visit the museum donations are accepted to help defray the cost of operation.

    For information on scheduling a group tour of the penitentiary for your organization, contact Jenny Borders, Museum Director, at (225)-655-2592, or write to LSP Museum, General Delivery, Angola, LA 70712.


    Go to the Angola Museum Website
    Republished from Angola Museum Website with permission Museum Director - from Louisiana State Penitentiary, Louisiana Department of public safety & corrections.



    Photo courtesy Angola
    Angola State Penitentiary
    Angola, La.  70712
    225-655-4411
           225-655-2319   fax

    Angola Facts

    The Louisiana State Penitentiary, surrounded on three sides by the Mississippi River and the rugged Tunica Hills on the fourth, is located in West Feliciana Parish, 59 miles northwest of the state capitol of Baton Rouge. The nearest town is St. Francisville, 22 miles away.


    The prison was officially created January 1, 1901 when the state resumed control of the prisoners leased to private profiteers for the preceding 55 years. Better known as "Angola," it is the state's only maximum security prison, manned by an army of 1,800 employees with an operating budget of $83,113,734 for the current fiscal year. The Warden is N. Burl Cain.

    As of September 13, 1998-2006, there were 5,133 men confined in Louisiana State Penitentiary - 77.8 percent (3,996) were black and 22 percent (1,128) white, with an average age of 35.9. Only 44 prisoners were younger than 20. In fact, the 1,240 inmates under age 30 constitute only 24.2 percent of the Angola population. Those in their thirties (1,711) comprise 33.3 percent . But 42.4 percent of the population (2,182) is over the age of 40.

    More than half (3,000, of 58.4 percent ) of the total population are lifers. Those serving terms of 20 years or more are the second-largest group of prisoners (1,556, or 30.3 percent). Their average sentence length is 49.75 years, making most of them "virtual" lifers because their earliest release date exceeds their lifespan. Combined with the lifers, they constitute a group of 4,556 prisoners, 88.7 percent of the inmate population. An additional 82 condemned men (1.6 percent) await death by lethal injection.

    Angola prisoners are mostly city boys (72.8 percent), coming from the state's 10 urban parishes. The remaining 27.2 percent of the inmates (1,392) came from its 54 rural parishes. More than half (2,725, or 53.1 percent) were incarcerated by only three parishes: Orleans (1,556 or 30.3 percent), East Baton Rouge (585, or 11.4 percent), and Jefferson (584, or 11.4 percent).

    Violent criminals make up 87 percent of Angola's population. those convicted of homicide ( murder, manslaughter, vehicular or negligent homicide ) number 2,359, or 46 percent of the men serving time here. Robbery was the second most common crime (1,114, or 21.7 percent). The third largest group of prisoners are here for the crime of rape (845, or 16.5 percent).

    More than one-third (1,977, or 38.5 percent ) are first offenders' 1435 (27.9 percent), second offenders; 983 (19.1 percent), third offenders' 432 (8.4 percent), fourth offenders' 178 (3.5 percent), fifth offenders; 54 ( 1 percent), sixth ; 25 (.5 percent), seventh; and 7 (.1 percent), eighth offenders.

    Approximately 2,500 of Angola;s prisoners are housed in the Main Prison Complex with about 2,600 more quartered in five large outcamps (Camps C, D, F, J and the Reception Center), each a prison in itself. Every physically able prisoner is required to work. The majority labor eight hours per day, five days per week, in the prison's vast farming operations. The primary crops are corn, soybeans, cotton wheat. Many vegetable crops such as tomatoes, cabbage, okra, watermelons, beans, peppers and onions are also produced. Approximately four million pounds of vegetables are processed annually by the prison. Angola inmates tend a beef herd of 1,500 cattle. Other inmates work in prison industries such as a license tag plant, silk screen shop, metal fabrication shop, and a mattress, broom and mop factory. Others are enrolled in academic and vocational programs such as welding, carpentry, graphic arts, culinary arts, auto mechanics, and body and fender repair.

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