This Abandoned Jail in Louisiana Will Give You Nightmares


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Jails are never nice. They’re not meant to be either. Nobody wants to go to jail. Yet, this abandoned jailhouse in Lousiana may be the most creepy and ominous jail ever built.

Beauregard Parish Jail was constructed in 1914 and is a sterling example of the Gothic Revival style of architecture. Locally it’s known both as the “Gothic Jail” as well as the rather nastier “Hanging Jail.”


It’s an important building and in 1981 it was formally entered onto the National Register of Historic Places. While the jail is no longer in use, it remains the preserve of the Beauregard Country Parish Police Jury and there is a Beauregard Country Parish Rehabilitation Committee which still serves from the building. It is the only jail of its type, “Collegiate Gothic,” which was built during the early years of the 20th century. The Beauregard Tourist Commission is heavily invested in trying to ensure that the jail remains available as a historical statement for the public to enjoy. It was built on land which was donated to the city of Beauregard by the Hudson River Lumber Company and served not just as a jail but also as a courthouse. It was then immediately purchased by the Beauregard Parish Police Jury at a cost of $168,000 and construction was finally completed in early 1915.


It became notorious thanks to a former resident of Beauregard who died in unpleasant circumstances. JJ Brevelle was a good man who worked as a taxi driver. He was asked to transport two men into the surrounding countryside. He agreed to do so but when he reached their destination instead of receiving a fare – he was brutally murdered by them. His murderers were caught and swiftly brought to justice. On March 9, 1928, they were found guilty in the Beauregard Parish Jail’s courthouse and sentenced to death. The sentence was carried out by Deputy Sheriff Gill who was also the town’s hangman. They were hanged the day that they were found guilty and the first, Joe Genna, breathed his last at 1:06 p.m. that afternoon. Molton Brasseaux, for reasons not known, was pronounced dead nearly half an hour later at 1:29 p.m. It is for this reason that the jail became known as the “hanging jail.”


One unusual feature of the jail’s design is that there is a toilet, a shower, a lavatory and a window in each cell. The cells themselves are joined together by a spiral staircase which despite the ominous, haunted feel of the jail and its buildings, must have made the place quite pleasant when it was in use (for a jail at least). The jail is said to be under consideration for a starring role in an upcoming movie and the local tourist board is petitioning to have it entered into the Louisiana Preservation Alliance’s “Ten Most Endangered Buildings” list. If these efforts are successful they will help fund the preservation of the jail for future visitors.