Cyclists and prisoner advocates set out on their second annual bike ride that took place Oct. 19-21 to aid the families of the state’s large incarcerated population.
The 160-mile three-day ride that included 35 riders began in front of the Orleans Parish Prison in New Orleans and followed the levee path along the Mississippi River to end at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola.
Called "NOLA to Angola," the annual bike ride raises funds for the Cornerstone Builders Bus Project, a Catholic Charities-supported project.
Every month the Cornerstone Builders Bus Project charters a 55-passenger coach-style bus for families of the incarcerated in the New Orleans area to visit five prison facilities around Louisiana, including Angola. Due to the long distance of each trip, the Cornerstone Builders ensure the families have onboard bathroom facilities and comfortable seats. Each trip costs the church approximately $1,000. Currently, the bus project has no regular source of income, though some trips are underwritten by local sponsors, including church groups and the Jefferson and Orleans Parishes Sheriffs’ Offices.
Leo Jackson, assistant director of Cornerstone Builders, said, "The more we can keep the family intact, the more we can effect positive change. We want to keep lines of communication open between prisoners and their families."
Ride organizer Scott Eustis said, "Given the state’s recent cuts to job training for ex-offenders, programs like Cornerstone Builders are now more critical for reducing recidivism."
Individuals interested in supporting the ride’s fundraising goals can send donations directly to the project. Donation checks should be made out to: Second Zion Baptist Church Bus Project. Please do not write checks to NOLA to Angola.
Checks can be sent to the below address: NOLA to Angola P.O. Box 792344 New Orleans, LA 70179.
For more information on NOLA to Angola visit their website at http://www.nolatoangola.org, or contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Riders depart after the first stop of their 160 mile bike ride from New Orleans to the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.|