Have you ever been to the Calcasieu Parish Court House and felt you weren’t alone? The Courthouse was built in 1912 and with it being 112 years old it has thousands of stories to tell but this one is about one of the most infamous women to ever step foot on the wrong side of the law in Southwest Louisiana. Toni Jo Henry is the only woman to be electrocuted in Louisiana and if you believe in ghost stories, she torments the courthouse to this day.

The year is 1940 and a 24-year-old Shreveport native by the name of Toni Jo Henry is devising a plan to break her husband Claude “Cowboy” Henry out of prison in Huntsville Texas. Toni Jo enlisted the help of known conman Harold “Arkie” Burks and the two came up with a not-so-brilliant plan that led to Toni Jo being convicted of murder 3 times. The 2 hitchhiked their way from Jennings Louisiana where they were picked up by a good Samaritan named Joseph Calloway. Once in the car Toni Jo and Arkie overpowered Joseph, locked him in the trunk, and stole his car. As they made their way to Lake Charles Joseph was murdered at the hands of Toni Jo.  The getaway was short-lived as the pair parted ways in Shreveport. Toni Jo was arrested and brought back to Lake Charles for the trials. (That’s right I said trials with an “s”). The first trial took place in 1940 with a guilty conviction after only 6 hours of deliberating. An appeal was filed leading to a second Trial in 1941, this time she was convicted after only 1 hour of deliberations. Toni Jo once again appealed and was granted a third trial that took place in January 1942, and just like the previous 2 Toni Jo was sentenced to death for the murder of Calloway.

In November 1942 Toni Jo Henry made her mark in Louisiana history by being the only woman to be executed in Louisiana’s Electric Chair. This execution which took place in the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse is believed to be at the root of some very bizarre stories.  Stories of staff members and the general public hearing a ghost whisper, and sometimes screaming. Her Perfume has been smelled, along with the sounds of her footsteps. If you're feeling curious and a little brave, go to the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse and if you're lucky, you might even hear a whisper.

Strange Louisiana Laws


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