The Bernice Calaboose

Bernice Jail Cropped

 James R. Harty
A Brief History of Bernice, Louisiana

On the east side of Louisiana Avenue and just north of the Old Mayor’s Office is a  squatty thick concrete walled building. Its only door (iron) is on the west side facing the street. One window is on the south side and one window on the north side, and both are covered with iron bars. This carry over from the first half of the 1900’s once served as the Bernice Jail. Locals called it the “Calaboose”. It was well used and truly served its purpose. Each week Marshal Ottis Elliott would fill it with the town’s thugs, reprobates, drunks, and assorted misbegotten. Visitors to Bernice, especially during the annual festival, love to take pictures of this one-of-a-kind attraction. Of course criminals this day and age are taken to the Union Parish Detention Center in Farmerville.

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