The Louisiana State Penitentiary (LSP, also known as Angola, and nicknamed the "Alcatraz of the South" and "The Farm") is a maximum security prison farm in Louisiana operated by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections. It is sometimes called "Angola" after the name of the post office that serves the prison.
It is the largest maximum security prison in the United States with 6,300 offenders and 1,800 staff. It is located on an 18,000-acre (7,300 ha) property that was previously the Angola and other plantations owned by Isaac Franklin in unincorporated West Feliciana Parish, directly adjacent to the Mississippi state line. The prison is located at the end of Louisiana Highway 66, around 22 miles (35 km) northwest of St. Francisville. Angola is bordered on three sides by the Mississippi River. Since 1995, Burl Cain has been the warden. Death row for men and the state execution chamber for both sexes are located at the Angola facility.
Louisiana State Penitentiary is in unincorporated West Feliciana Parish, in east central Louisiana. It is located at the base of the Tunica Hills, in a region described by Jenny Lee Rice of Paste as "breathtakingly beautiful."
The prison is about 22 miles (35 km) northwest of St. Francisville, about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Baton Rouge, and 135 miles (217 km) northwest of New Orleans. LSP is about an hour's drive from Baton Rouge, and it is about a two-hour driving distance from New Orleans. The Mississippi River borders the facility on three sides. The prison is in close proximity to the Louisiana-Mississippi border. LSP is located about 34 miles (55 km) from the Dixon Correctional Institute.
Charles Wolfe and Kip Lornell, authors of The Life and Legend of Leadbelly, said that in the 1990s the prison remained "far away from public awareness." The prison officials sometimes provide meals for official guests because of what the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections refers to as the "extreme remote location" of LSP; the nearest non-prison dining facility is, as of 1999, 30 miles (48 km) away. The prison property is adjacent to the Angola Tract of the Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area; due to security reasons regarding LSP, the Tunica Hills WMA's Angola Tract is closed to the general public from March 1 through August 31 every year.
The main entrance is at the terminus of Louisiana Highway 66, a road described by Wolfe and Lornell as "a winding, often muddy state road." From St. Francisville one would travel about 2 miles (3.2 km) north along U.S. Highway 61, turn left at Louisiana 66, and travel on that road for 20 miles (32 km) until it dead ends at LSP's front gate. The Angola Ferry provides a ferry service between Angola and a point in unincorporated Pointe Coupee Parish. The ferry is only open to employees except during special events, when members of the general public may use the ferry.