Traveling east/west across southwest Louisiana Cajun country on US Highway 190, a sojourner will drive through the laid back village of Elton. And the sojourner should slow down, because E.P.D. is known to lay cunning speed traps through the 35 mph stretch in the heart of town.
What might the penalty be for being caught speeding? How about an overnight stay in the “Elton Hoosegow?”
That curious looking facility has intrigued me all the years I’ve passed it driving through the Elton on the way to and from Lake Charles. Yesterday, I finally pulled over and took the picture, something I’ve been meaning to do for years.
The building looks like a relic from the 1890′s, some bygone era when an open-air, public lockup fronted by the sidewalks of the main thorouoghfare, in full view of society and without electricity or sanitary facilities, would provide a scary deterrent to wrongdoing among the populace.
Padlocks still hang on each of the gates, but more likely to keep curiosity seekers out of the cells than for locking wrongdoers in. Why the city fathers preserve the building, I don’t know, but I’m truly glad it does. I only wish they’d place a historical marker of some sort to explain when and how this facility was used. This is truly a museum piece, a memorial of an intriguing past, and another site worth seeing along the fascinating country roads of Acadiana, Cajun country, way down yonder in South Louisiana.