Thursday, December 11, 2008

More sightseeing: Lois Luftin Doll Museum

You know the local attractions are sparse when a doll museum is in the top five...My great uncle, LaRue (also known as Brother), brought us there on one of our visits. All I know is a local couple--the Luftins--apparently collected more than 3,000 from around the world. I thought I remembered some back story to the effect that Lois Luftin had come from a modest background and hadn't been able to have dolls growing up, hence her adult fascination with collecting them. But I can't find any online confirmation of that. At any rate, the museum is still a main attraction in town.

Sightseeing in DeRidder: The Hanging Jail

The Hanging Jail is tops on DeRidder's must-see list.

It's a gothic structure built with shallow arches, dormer windows, and central tower. Inside, a spiral staircase leads up to three floors of jail cells. Condemned persons were hanged by an apparatus at the top of the spiral staircase.

Most of the prisoners could easily watch the hanging from the "comfort" of their cells. (I put that in quotes, but actually, each cell had a toilet, shower AND a window--an unusual degree of luxury at that time.) Rumor has it that passersby could see prisoners waving to them through the bars on the windows.

In 1928, there was a famous double execution in the jail. On a Saturday night, August 26th, Joe Genna and Molton Brasseaux got in J.J Brevelle's cab and asked him to take them to the Joe Miller place on Three Pine Church Road.

On the way, they stopped for some moonshine whisky. It was then that Genna and Brasseaux made their move, first beating Brevelle and then stabbing him with a screwdriver. They took the money from his pockets and tossed his body off a bridge.

Well, long story short, they were caught, put in DeRidder's jail, and hanged. Genna tried to poison himself the night before, to avoid the gallows. But he'd eaten such a big pre-execution dinner (chicken) that he ended up throwing up the chicken and the poison. The executioners also thoughtfully pumped his stomach, to make sure he made it to the big day.

Both men were hung on March 9, 1928--Genna first.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Keep DeRidder Beautiful

This article was in the Beauregard Daily News. It's clean up time.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A careful tap dance

The governor of Louisiana addressed a crowd at the Longville Baptist Church last week....he was obviously trying to get a positive message across without offending people. But ouch....the message is clear....schools are in trouble, teachers leave, young people leave the state, the economy is in trouble. Why is this state struggling so?