It is the weekend, so we will sing! Here is the Rankin Family on Fare The Well, Love.
I am singing that I am back from the Lousiana State Penitentiary at Angola, and that the visit was not too depressing this time somehow. The Death Row guards are always so nice, and so glad to see you. The food for visitors is, as we know, the very best of old Southern cuisine.
When I started to go to Angola with my friend Maureen, we would arrive early, before the rush, and leave ahead of the rush. Being as I am I now arrive after the rush and leave on the last bus. Many other people also leave on the last bus.
The disadvantage of leaving on the last bus is that as you pass the different cell blocks to pick people up, you see them come out. Most visitors are somebody’s mother and they are bright and animated while they are on the cell blocks, but they walk out crying. Seeing this is the hardest part of visiting Angola.
Maureen and I used to go up to Angola from New Orleans. We would arrive home exhausted and get over the visit by going out with a group of lawyers related to us and drinking heavily, or by renting large quantities of videos and downing entire six-packs of Diet Coke.
Now that I go to Angola by myself and no longer live en ville, I always think I should arrange to go out with friends in Baton Rouge on the way home. I never actually do this because these friends have nothing to do with Angola, and the change of worlds would be too extreme. Instead I make a beeline for the library at LSU and wander aimlessly through the section of new journal issues. Then I drink a double espresso at Highland Coffees and head over the river to Maringouin.
Getting processed in this time I was the only white person in my group. The only other middle class people were a family of three from Shreveport, who had started driving at 6 AM. “Yes, it is very interesting to visit here,” I agreed. “But I am always sad when I leave.” “Yes,” said the father, a younger person than I. “You have to go out to dinner to get your mind off it.” “Yes,” I said.