Beauregard Parish "Gothic Jail"
Beauregard Parish Jail is a former jailhouse in DeRidder, Louisiana, built in 1914 in the Gothic Revival architecture style. It is referred to as the "Gothic Jail" or the "Hanging Jail." It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on Dec. 17, 1981.The jail is owned by the Beauregard Parish Police Jury. Tours are coordinated by the Beauregard Parish Tourist Commission.
Backstory and Context
"J. J. Brevelle was a taxi driver who was murdered by his 'fares' while taking them to a rural destination. Brevelle is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. The two men who were found guilty of his murder were hanged in the old parish jail on March 9, 1928. Deputy Sheriff Gill was the hangman. Joe Genna, age 25, was pronounced dead at 1:06 PM and Molton Brasseaux at 1:29 PM. Neither man was buried in Beauregard Parish."
The structure not only made history because of its unique design but also because there was a toilet, shower, lavatory and window in each cell. A large spiral staircase gave access to each cell. Architectural historian Johnathan Fricker stated, "The old jail is unique in structure, it has the possible distinction of being the only penal institution in the country using 'Collegiate Gothic' design in the first decade of the 20th century."
The jail could "house" over 50 prisoners. There was a jailers' quarters on the bottom floor as well as a kitchen. There is a tunnel leading from the courthouse to the jail that was used to transport prisoners for trial. It was partially filled in as part of a courthouse renovation project in 2016-2017.
It is believed that the spirit of the old jailer haunts the building. Former police and inmates have witnessed figures throughout the building. Witnesses have heard footsteps, and running water. There are reports of smelling pipe smoke.