Dedication ceremony for Raymond Laborde Correctional Center set for Tuesday
The long-awaited official renaming and dedication of Avoyelles Correctional Center in Cottonport to the Raymond Laborde Correctional Center will occur in ceremonies at 10 a.m. today.
The event is open to the public and refreshments will be served. Former Gov. Edwin Edwards, a life-long friend of Laborde, is expected to be among the many invited special guests.
A sign bearing the prison’s new name will be unveiled at the front gates.
The bill to rename the prison was filed by Rep. Robert Johnson, who serves in the position Laborde held as a legislator for many years. The bill passed both chambers of the Louisiana Legislature by unanimous votes before being sent to Gov. John Bel Edwards who signed it into law in May.
Laborde died on Jan. 17 at the age of 88.
Johnson said it was fitting to name the prison in Laborde’s honor because Laborde was instrumental in securing the funding to construct the prison in Cottonport. He is also credited with saving the prison a few years ago when Gov. Bobby Jindal attempted to sell it it to a private prison company.
At the signing ceremony, John Bel Edwards said Laborde “truly had the heart of a public servant. Known as a humble man, he fought fiercely for the causes he believed in, including opening the Avoyelles Correctional Center in Cottonport in order to create jobs for his parish.
“It is only fitting that it now be renamed the Raymond Laborde Correctional Center in honor of his legacy of serving the people of the district he loved so much,” Edwards concluded.
The Cottonport prison received its first offenders on June 19, 1989.
It is located on 1,187 acres of land. The original design capacity was 610, but renovations and new construction over the years have increased its operational capacity to 1,564.