Office of Tourism Update
November 23, 2016
Myths and Legends Byway Gets a Little Spookier with Grand Opening of Beauregard Parish Gothic Jail
On Monday, November 21, Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser cut the ribbon to officially open the Beauregard Parish Gothic Jail to the public. Originally built in 1914, the jail was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 and closed the following year. For the last 34 years, this architectural marvel has sat dormant. Now, the Gothic Jail will serve as the crown jewel of the 181-mile Myths and Legends Byway through Allen, Beauregard, and Vernon Parishes.

Renovations to the Gothic Jail will allow visitors a glimpse into the day-to-day running of the jail, as well as a vision of what living in the jail was like for the jailer and his family. The first floor, or the jailers’ quarters, and the second floor jail cells will be available for tours. The third floor is closed off and will possibly be opened in the future, pending Fire Marshal approval.

“This jail is a unique piece of Louisiana history and will serve as a crown jewel on the 180-mile Louisiana Myths and Legends Scenic Byway,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “With the renovations and additions to the Beauregard Parish Courthouse, these opulent structures that were so proudly built and protected by the people of Beauregard Parish will now stand for future generations to admire.”

“Our ultimate goal is to have the jail serve as an Interpretive Center for the Myths and Legends Byway,” said Lori Darbonne, Beauregard Parish Tourist Commission Executive Director. “Here, visitors will have the opportunity to learn of some of the legends and lore of Louisiana and its once known Neutral Strip. The Myths and Legends Byway’s recent opening sets the precedence for a great opportunity for tourism in the region of west Louisiana.”

“The State of Louisiana Byway Program is one of the best programs ever created for rural tourism. This program leads people to back roads Louisiana and gives rural tourism centers the opportunity to promote and advertise properties we could otherwise not do,” said Adagria Haddock, Allen Parish Tourist Commission Executive Director. “The Myths and Legends Byway was built on using the stories, pictures, and culture of a time when land pirates and outlaws ran the area known as No Man’s Land. The mysteries, intrigue and stories of the Gothic Jail made this a tailor-made icon for our Byway.The opening of the Gothic Jail gives credence to the Myths and Legends Byway as truly a unique area in Louisiana history.”

“The development of The Myths and Legends Byway is perhaps the most significant improvement for the tourism industry in western Louisiana since the creation of tourism commissions in the 1970’s. Using state highways as an attraction themselves is a brilliant way to guide visitors throughout the state, said John Crook, Vernon Parish Tourist Commission Executive Director. “The mysterious Gothic Jail is truly a Louisiana icon and is the perfect logo for the old No Man’s Land region of western Louisiana!"

Public tours of the jail begin the week of November 28. For more information contact the Beauregard Parish Tourist Commission.

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser cuts the ribbon to open the Gothic Jail with Lori Darbonne, Beauregard Tourist Commission Executive Director, Rusty Williamson, Beauregard Parish Police Jury President, and Rep. Dorothy Sue Hill, District 32. 
Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser tours the Gothic Jail with Lori Darbonne, Beauregard Tourist Commission Executive Director. 
Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser tours the remaining portion of a tunnel leading from the jail to the Beauregard Parish Courthouse.
The view up the spiral staircase in the Beauregard Parish Gothic Jail. In March 1928, two men convicted of armed robbery and murder were executed by hanging from the ceiling above, prompting the jail to be known as "The Hanging Jail." Legend has it the ghosts of inmates, jailers, and lawmen can still be seen and felt inside the walls of the jail.
DMO Sponsors Sought for Louisiana's 2017 Travel South USA Domestic Showcase Event in March

Louisiana DMOs are sought as sponsors for the Welcome Breakfast to be hosted by Louisiana at 2017’s Travel South Domestic Showcase. It will be held March 13th in Branson, Missouri.

DMO buy-ins are $1,000. Sponsorships are limited, and sponsors get logo and image placement in the event presentation and program, and an acknowledgment from Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser.

TSUSA’s annual showcase pits Southern suppliers via appointments with top U.S. and Canadian travel trade and media representatives who have a targeted interest in bringing tourism business to the South.

Contact Misty Shaw at 225-219-9858 or mshaw@crt.la.gov for details.

We Need Your Help to Reach the Top of USA Today's 10Best Warm Weather Getaways
USA Today is asking readers to vote on the 10Best Warm Weather Getaways in the country. Two Louisiana destinations are among 20 nominees for the award - Lafayette and New Orleans.

At last check, Lafayette is ranked 4th and New Orleans is ranked 18th. The 10 destinations receiving the most votes will be announced on Friday, December 9.

So let's get out the vote. You vote be using the link below. You can vote one time per day. Voting ends on Monday, December 5 at noon EST. 




Great Weather and Great Authors Combine for a Successful 2016 Louisiana Book Festival
Blue skies, comfortable temperatures, live music, and of course great reading combined on October 29 for another successful Louisiana Book Festival.

Thousands spent the day along North 4th Street, browsing an expansive reading selection, discussing literary works with some of the best authors Louisiana has to offer, listening to live music, and eating some good Cajun and Creole cooking.

There were also opportunities to meet some of your favorite Louisiana authors and have your books personally autographed.

People from all over Louisiana and the region attended the 2016 Louisiana Book Festival. For more on the experience had by some festivalgoers from Shreveport, click on the link below. 

So mark your calendar for 2017! The date of the next Louisiana Book Fair is set. We'll see you on North 4th Street and Spanish Town Road on Saturday, October 28, 2017.

Shreveport Times Article - Louisiana Book Festival
Having played drums on stage with him, Mackenzie Landry, 8, and Gavin Landry, 6, take a picture with their favorite drummer and now children's book author, Fred Leblanc of New Orleans' own Cowboy Mouth, after he autographed their books at the 2016 Louisiana Book Festival. 
Upcoming Meetings & Events
  If you have comments or suggestions for future issues of  Louisiana Travel Pulse, contact Barry Landry at blandry@crt.la.gov or Jeff Richard at jrichard@crt.la.gov.