The Caddo Parish Courthouse

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Spirits of the executed make the living uncomfortable…

Former dedicated workers can’t retire to the heavenly realms.

 

DESCRIPTION

The eight stories Caddo Parish Courthouse sits regally on 2.5 acres on Texas Street, a main thoroughfare in downtown Shreveport. This structure is the third courthouse that sat on this property.

My it is a glorious work of art! Quite an impressive eight story courthouse. This Caddo Parish Courthouse is one of the grandest public structures in Shreveport; a reflection of civic pride and the high opinion of the legal system and rule of law. It is built of stone and cement; meant to last for a very long time, with such sturdy bones.

Sitting in the middle of its 2.5 acres, it is surrounded by grass and mature oak trees, donated by Judge Thomas Fletcher Bell when the first courthouse was built on this property. Shrubs and flower beds also dot the property, adding to the beauty.

On the Texas Street side of the property, there is a Confederate Veterans Reunion Monument that honors those soldiers who died fighting for the Confederacy.

The impressive building has a Romanesque style decor with Roman columns along the front and back outside of the 4th-7th floors of this huge edifice. Looking at the front, there are two square wings added on either side of the first two floors.

The outside of this building has Romanesque designs around the top of the main entry door, and around 2nd floor windows of the east and west wings. There are Romanesque decor between the 7th floor window and the 8th floor; which would normally be the penthouse suite of a tall building, instead of originally being death row. Remodeling work is in progress is on-going on both floors.

Inside the visitor is in for a treat entering on the first floor. “The design and décor of the inside of the courthouse is a fitting tribute to the people of Caddo Parish. The walls are made of Rosatta marble and have bronze torches lighting the way. The floors incorporate pink and gray Tennessee marble with a border of Belgian black marble, and opposite of these marble floors are bronze lamps hanging from the ceiling.”

 

HISTORY

The Caddo Parish Courthouse was built in 1928, designed by gifted Shreveport architect on Edward F. Neild, a Shreveport architect. His work here was so impressive, that president Harry Truman himself hired Edward F. Neild to design a new courthouse for Independence, Missouri, for the rehabilitation of the White House, and to design President Harry Truman’s Presidential Library in Independence as well.

The Caddo Parish Courthouse on the same property as the 1860 & 1892 Romanesque styled Caddo Parish Courthouse, and the courthouse before it. The old 1892 courthouse was only a few stories high and thought to be “in rough shape”, despite only being 36 years old.

The city council decided to tear down the 1892 structure and build a new larger, grander in style courthouse that could house all of Shreveport’s legal and judicial needs; having all its legal and criminal justice services conveniently in one building. Citizens who needed legal papers and licenses of all kinds would come to one government building. They applied for birth certificates, death certificates marriage licenses, business licenses etc. People would pay their business, fees, property and income taxes, tickets, and citations.

The Sheriff’s Office and the City Coroner as well as other important city offices had a home here.

The City Coroner was in this building’s basement, where the dead were autopsied and records were kept on how they died and when. The Sheriff’s office was on the 4th floor.

Also, court rooms were built for civil lawsuits, child welfare cases, and to try the criminal element as well on the fifth and sixth floors. Criminal justice system for all levels of criminal law breakers themselves also conveniently were found here. There were office staffs to handle the paperwork, a corner’s office, and a jail to serve time on the 7th floor.

Capitol case offenders, the really hardcore criminals; murderers, rapists, etc also experienced the final ultimate punishment. The gallows were on the 8th floor. There was a square hole in the bottom of the gallows where folks being hanged would fall through to the 7th floor, in a quick death; something some of these convicts never gave to their victims.

The electric chair was installed on the 7th floor, after the 8th floor was sealed. Sometime later, the death penalty was no longer carried out here, and both the 7th and 8th floors were closed. A new holding jail, The Shreveport police Jail was built 4 minutes nearby from The Caddo Parish Courthouse. The convicted people serving sentences are 10 minutes away at the Shreveport Correctional Center.

The Caddo Parish Courthouse “survived the Great Depression, World War II, the Civil Rights era, the Cold War and a few booms and busts in the oil and gas industry, but even still appears to be fully prepared to take on the 21st century.”

Somewhere along the way The Daughters of the Confederacy became owners of the Caddo Parish Courthouse and the city of Shreveport pays rent to this organization, who does a find job maintaining and remodeling the building.

This gorgeous historic building is much loved by the citizenry of Shreveport, as well as spirits who worked here, spirits of the convicted who served their sentences, and spirits who died here; either through executions or at the hands of another.

 

HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS

Sometimes when convicted criminals are executed, they may be too afraid to go to the other side, or think their punishment was unfair, or suffer from a bad hanging they may decide to stay at the place where they underwent capitol punishment.

About 8 people were hung on this death row:

“Butterfly Man” Daniel Bryan “Bunce” Napie was a criminally insane man with horrible impulses, who hopped off the train from Georgia and moved into the Hobo Jungle during the Depression in the early nineteen thirties. To eek out some money, and perhaps to look for victims, he went door to door, selling plastic butterflies he made himself.

There are two stories about how Daniel got a hold of young Maggie Mae Giffin, the last person to die by his hand.

Story One:

One day, when Daniel was selling his butterflies door to door, he came to the Giffin family’s door. When Maggie opened the door, he kidnapped her and dragged her off to the forest to defile her brutally and viciously stabbed her.

Story 2:

Young 14 year old Maggie was looking for work to earn money for her shoes and dress for her upcoming wedding. Daniel offered to employ her, and after her mother said it was ok, Maggie’s fate was sealed. Daniel led her into the woods and savagely raped and killed her using a knife; nearly cutting off her head. It came to light that He was suspected of doing the same thing to two other people; Mary Phagan in Georgia and his own step son; Ligon Jackson.

He left behind at the horrendous crime scene some hard evidence that linked him to the murder, and was quickly arrested. A vigilante group arrived to take him and hang him, but was stopped by the sheriff, his men, tear gas and the national guard. The jury only took 30 minutes to condemn him to death via a guilty verdict. In 1932, He was hung from the eighth floor until he died. Daniel was the last person to be hung, and the eighth floor was sealed

The death penalty was continued here when an electric chair was set up on the 7th floor and was used for awhile until that too was discontinued. Death row was moved to another Louisiana maximum prison, and no longer done locally.

Sometimes people who loved their job a little too much, don’t want to give it up when they pass because of natural causes, continue to do what they can in spirit form.

Dr. Willis Butler was probably the longest serving Caddo Parish Coroner working from 1916 to 1961 and again from 1973 to 76. He died in 1991, but some say he still comes to work!!!!!

A spirit of a law enforcement deputy also makes his presence known on the 4th floor.

Sometimes when a person dies at the hands of another, they refuse to go to the other side, and continue as a spirit in this world.

ON the 4th floor, A courthouse engineer W. J. Folton at 42 years of age was shot in the head by Clyde Toon. Folton had recently fired Toon.

 

MANIFESTATIONS

Daytime Hauntings

4th Floor

Secretary Sharon Porter who works on the fourth floor, has been a witness to paranormal activity, as are some of the people who work on the 4th floor.

People who work on this floor have felt unseen presences push by them with a cold wind.

7th & 8th Floors

These two floors are being renovated, though there is still a jail cell or two.

Though it has not housed a jail and a place of execution for years, there is a heavy aura, and creepy feeling, making the living uncomfortable especially police officers.

During the Evening Hours

Janitors who clean during the evening hours are treated to auditory sounds coming from the top floor.

Talking, yells and moans from executions and hangings from the past are rather loud, and can’t be missed.

Objects move by themselves.

Unexplained cold spots chill the living as they walk down the cold halls.

On the lower floors, like the 4th floor, cleaning buckets and mops are moved when the janitor leaves for a moment.

Spirits of Former Workers

Spirit of a former Deputy

His full apparition has been seen behind an office window.

Spirit of Engineer W.J. Folton

His apparition has been seen coming to work on the fourth floor, his disembodied voice is heard, and has even moved some of her items around her desk.

Spirit of an executed prisoner

Spirit of the Butterfly Man

Convicted rapist, perhaps a serial killer.

Probably creeps around the 4th floor as well as the seventh and eighth floor where he was executed.

STILL HAUNTED?

Yes Indeed! The spirits attached to this building still go about their jobs, and the executed have fun creeping out the living.

There has been boatloads of personal experiences throughout the years and decades. While I couldn’t find any hard evidence posted online, possibly other private investigations were conducted.

LOCATION

Caddo Parish Courthouse
501 Texas Street,
Shreveport, LA

The Caddo Parish Courthouse is located on 79 (Texas Street) runs NW, between McNeil Street and Marshall Street. This building is across from the Government Plaza. The Caddo Parish Courthouse sits on 2.5 acres.

SOURCES INCLUDE

  • files.lsba.org
  • www.ktbs.com/news/
  • hauntednation.blogspot.com

 
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Louisiana