View Full Version : Article: Angola Prison Makes Contingency Plans As Mississippi River Rises

01-25-2005, 11:20 PM
Prison Makes Contingency Plans As Mississippi River Rises

POSTED: 8:30 am CST January 25, 2005
UPDATED: 9:00 am CST January 25, 2005

ANGOLA, La. -- The Louisiana State Penitentiary, which is surrounded on three sides by a rising Mississippi River, is making contingency plans should the water level rise higher than the current forecast.

The National Weather Service predicts that the river gauge at Red River Landing, across the river from Angola, will reach 56 feet by Feb. 1. The reading Monday was 53 feet, and Warden Burl Cain said the river level already is affecting the normal routine on the 18,000-acre prison farm.

Cain said the Army Corps of Engineers has reported that the river is at its highest point ever for this early in the year. In 1997, the river crested at 61.4 feet, putting a tremendous strain on the prison's protection levees and resulting in the temporary evacuation of 3,000 inmates to a tent city in the Tunica Hills a few miles from the prison.

Cain said a $25 million project has raised levees to 66 feet -- five feet higher than in 1997 -- but they haven't been tested. He said if the river goes over 61 feet, they have plans to start moving inmates.

The river already has covered an agricultural area known as Monkey Island and part of the road leading to the Angola ferry landing.