Which Famous Evangelist is Buried in a Handmade Coffin from Angola?
You've probably heard about how Angola Prison in Louisiana has been referred to as the 'bloodiest prison in America' or as the 'Alcatraz of the South.' But did you know this random piece of Angola history? A once-famous Evangelist is buried in a handmade coffin made by the inmates of Angola.
While you and your friends might make a fun weekend out of visiting the Angola Prison Rodeo, it's not all fun and games in West Feliciana Parish for the prisoners. Angola is the largest maximum-security prison in the United States and has been known since its inception for its harsh working environment and brutality.
Inmates WORK at Angola. It's considered a part of their rehabilitation. Inmates can be assigned to anything from working with the horse breeding operation to building arts and crafts to sell during the Angola Prison Rodeo. Prisoners also work the 8,000 acres of farmland which makes Angola self-sustaining. They actually harvest enough food at 'The Farm' to supply most of the prisons in Louisiana. Prisoners are also given the opportunity to learn a trade, like carpentry and automotive.
Many of the inmates at Angola are there serving a life sentence. With that being said, inmates working in carpentry are tasked with building handmade coffins for those inmates who pass and have no one to claim their remains. Those inmates are buried in the caskets made at the prison on prison grounds.
This is where things get interesting. American Evangelist Billy Graham's son once toured the facility and noticed the simple birch and pine coffins. That resulted in the Grahams ordering six caskets from the prison. When Evangelist Billy Graham passed on February 21, 2018, he was indeed buried in a handmade casket from Angola. His wife, Ruth, who passed away in 2007, was buried in a casket from Angola as well.
We'll file this under 'you learn something new every day!'