Advocate staff report
July 09, 2012
ANGOLA — The Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum Foundation will induct nine people to its Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame in two ceremonies Friday.
A reception is planned at 1:30 p.m. at the prison museum at Angola, followed by a 2 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony to open displays on the lives and accomplishments of the inductees, a museum news release says.
The reception and ceremony are free, and the public is invited.
A banquet and the formal induction ceremonies are scheduled at 5 p.m. at Boudreaux’s, 2647 Government St., Baton Rouge.
Tickets, at $50 per person, must be purchased in advance by calling the museum at (225) 655-2592 or going online at http://www.angolamuseum.org.
This year’s inductees are:
- Former Angola Warden Robert Hilton Butler, the only person to have worked his way up from a rookie security officer to warden of the penitentiary. Butler continues to serve as resident historian for the museum. He began his career in 1952, and was named warden of the year in 1988 by the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents.
- Corrections Secretary James M. LeBlanc, now in his 40th year of service. An Army Vietnam veteran, he began his career in 1973 in the business office of the women’s prison in St. Gabriel and held numerous positions within the department. He served as Dixon Correctional Center’s warden from 1995 to 2007. He was named corrections secretary in 2008.
- U.S. Attorney James B. Letten, the chief federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of Louisiana since 2001. Letten, a Tulane Law School graduate, served with the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office and a U.S. Justice Department organized crime and racketeering strike force. He is known for his prosecution of public corruption cases.
- Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso, now in his third term, began as a correctional deputy in 1984 and advanced through the ranks until he was elected Calcasieu Ward 3 City Marshal for two terms. Elected sheriff in 2003, Mancuso also is a member of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission and the Louisiana Law Enforcement Commission.
- Twelfth Judicial District Attorney Charles Riddle. As a state representative from Avoyelles Parish for three terms, he was author of more than 60 bills that were enacted into law. He was elected district attorney for the parish in 2002, and served as president of the state district attorneys’ association for the 2008-09 term. An author in his spare time, he has written a play about the history of Marksville and a humorous book about his service in the state Legislature.
- Civil rights advocate and career educator Alexander P. Tureaud Jr., formerly of New Orleans. The son of pioneering civil rights attorney A.P. Tureaud Sr., he enrolled at LSU after his father and Thurgood Marshall filed a suit to desegregate the university. His tenure at LSU was cut short after eight weeks of “what he described as the worst experience” of his life when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision. He received an honorary degree from LSU in 2001.
- Harold A. “Hal” Turner, former three-term sheriff of Allen Parish, who was active in the Louisiana Sheriffs Association and later became its executive director. He was involved in setting up databases and information systems to combat illegal methamphetamine and help the public track sex offenders. He also assisted sheriffs in dealing with the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
- Col. Mike Edmonson, who joined State Police in 1981 and worked his way through the ranks to become the 25th superintendent of State Police in 2008. He also is deputy secretary of Public Safety Services. As chief State Police spokesman during his career, he represented the agency at thousands of events, safety programs and public educational initiatives. He was head of security for the LSU football program from 1982 to 2008.
- Twentieth Judicial District Judge George “Hal” Ware, who served as district attorney for East and West Feliciana parishes for 12 years. He was elected judge in 1996. A U.S. Air Force veteran who served during the Cold War, Ware has donated equipment, his expertise and his time to the re-entry training program at Angola, most recently helping establish a machine shop for training inmate instructors and leading the restoration of Angola’s historic Red Hat cellblock.
The foundation also will present the Louisiana State Re-Entry Service Award to Candy and Andre Christophe for their work in helping ex-prisoners avoid returning to prison.