Our Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser accompanied the tourist bureaus in Beauregard, Allen, and Vernon communities in November 2016 for a ribbon-cutting event that finally made the Gothic Jail in DeRidder a museum.
Built in 1914. In 1981, the jail was documented in the National Register of Historic Places. The following year It was shut down because it was ruled hazardous.
The Beauregard Tourist Commission’s executive director, Lori Darbonne, is excited about the possible opportunities it could bring. She states:
“It has been my lifetime goal as tourism director to see the jail open because I knew that it would be an economic boost for us here in Beauregard Parish. It will bring our downtown the needed fresh breath of air to drive tourism into our cities.”
“If you live in South Louisiana (or) if you live up north, go south or east or west, see all the beautiful assets we have – places like this great jail.”
The landmark is also called the “Hanging Jail” – for historical reasons. Several hangings took place in 1928 at the jail. The two men that carried them out were executed at the jail, which has given it the name.
The jail housed violent and nonviolent offenders. There are windows on the second level visible from the highway that belongs to a section of cells. These cells are where the women stayed while serving their sentences. They would look out the window and pass the time away.
There are visible marks on the stone flooring in the female quarters where a second set of bars were installed. These bars kept the female inmates from being able to reach those same windows from their side of the jail and make traffic accidents happen through scandalous mischievousness.
There is so much history here to learn from and to take in. The jail is available for you to take a peek inside and even sit in one of the cells. You can only imagine what the prisoners went through on a day-to-day basis being incarcerated in here many years ago.