Carville was a typical community in many ways. A small town with its outstanding citizens, Stanley Stein and Betty Martin, for example, it featured many aspects of town life. Its one-room schoolhouse was racially integrated in the 1940s and accredited in 1950. Religious activity centered upon the Sacred Heart Catholic Chapel and the Union Protestant Chapel. However, law enforcement officials also had to deal with lawbreakers.
To your right, the single story building roughly marks the location of the old Carville Jail, built in 1926, when one patient murdered another patient and had to await trial here. A more common offense was running away from the hospital, or "absconding against medical advice." If the runaway patient returned, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail. A repeat runaway was required to post a bond to deter another escape attempt.
Local "law enforcement" was made up of a guard at the front gate and a guard who walked the corridors at a regular interval, night and day. Patients were required to be inside of their dormitory by 9pm. As guards walked the grounds, they clocked in at a dozen stops. In the museum, you can see one of the "watch clock" systems used. The old jail was torn down in 1957. Coincidentally, this was the year that leprosy was taken off the list of diseases that required quarantine by Louisiana law.
Directly in front of you is the area known as "White City," where some married patients built their own cottages or purchased a cabin from a discharged patient. "White City" refers to the white, government-issued paint used on the cottages.
Marriages between the patients were not allowed on-site until the 1950s. Patients in love would often escape through the "hole in the fence" and return married. Besides offering privacy, having their own cottage meant patients could cook their own meals and take part in the active social community that developed between neighbors. Despite a couple's wedded status, their children could not live on-site. Children are not born with Hansen's Disease. Mothers delivered their babies at the PHS hospital in New Orleans. Sometimes a family or friend would care for the child. Another option was adoption.
Please drive forward about 30 feet and make a left onto the gravel road. Stop 8 - Carville Cemetery.