Cyclists bike to Louisiana Penitentiary to raise money and awareness
Mass bike ride aims to raise more than $14,000 to keep families connected
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2013
Contact: Katie Hunter-Lowrey 908-283-1525
Nicky Gillies 774-277-0431
On Friday, October 18th, 40 cyclists will push off on a 170-mile ride through south
Louisiana en route to the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola Prison.
Spanning three days, the NOLA to Angola ride is a fundraiser for the Cornerstone
Builder’s Bus Project, a local program that brings hundreds of people to visit their
incarcerated family members in Angola and several other Louisiana prisons.
Once a month, Cornerstone charters a 55-passenger bus to provide free rides for
relatives to visit their incarcerated family members. Rev. Leo Jackson founded the
Cornerstone bus project to help families stay connected.
“The more we can keep the family intact, the more we can affect positive change,”
he says. “We want to keep lines of communication open between prisoners and their
families.” For many people without access to reliable transportation, travel to visit
an incarcerated relative is nearly impossible. These bus rides can represent the only
opportunity for families to visit their loved ones; for many incarcerated Louisianans,
parole is an elusive dream – about 90 percent of the more than 5,000 people
incarcerated in Angola will likely die behind bars.
Each 55-passenger bus trip costs about $1,000 and the Nola to Angola bike ride aims
to raise enough money to cover Cornerstone’s annual operating budget. Last year, the
ride raised about $14,000 exceeding its $10,000 goal. Riders seek to raise at least $250
each by soliciting sponsorship from their friends and family members. Riders pay their
own expenses for food and support vehicles so that all money raised goes directly to
the Cornerstone Builder’s Bus Project.
In addition to the goal of raising funds for the bus project, NOLA to Angola also raises
awareness through educational stops along the way. The ride will start from Orleans
Parish Prison where many incarcerated New Orleanians begin their path to Angola.
According to the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition, “the vast majority of OPP
prisoners are pre-trial detainees who have not yet been convicted of any crime. Of
those, many are charged with minor offenses such as drug possession.” People who
are forced to spend weeks inside OPP awaiting trial rather than being ticketed and
assigned a court date often lose access to housing and income, leaving them with fewer
legal means of survival and one step closer to joining the immense prison population
of the state with the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world. By covering this
physical path between OPP and Angola, NOLA to Angola creates a visceral reminder of
the vast distance between New Orleans residents and their family members who have
been removed from society and locked away.
The ride will begin near OPP outside of the New Orleans Municipal Court at 727 S.
Broad with a brief press conference featuring Cornerstone’s founder Leo Jackson,
and representatives from NOLA to Angola and from the Orleans Parish Prison Reform
For more information about NOLA to Angola and about the Cornerstone Builder’s Bus
Project, or to donate to the ride, please visit www.nolatoangola.org.
* See Pew Center on the States. 1 in 31: the long reach of American Corrections. Table A-4. http://
REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED. Thank you to everyone who registered for this year’s ride.
If you are still interested in a chance to ride with us this year, please feel free to sign up for the waiting list in case a spot becomes available.
*** Info Session*** Tues. Sept. 24, Flora Cafe and Gallery. Evening 7PM. Come to learn more about the ride. 2600 Royal St.
*** October 18-20 is the date for the 2013 ride! Scroll down to find out where/when to go to an Info Session, where you can find out more and register to ride! ***
NOLA to Angola is a bicycle fundraiser established in 2011 to benefit the Cornerstone Builders Bus Project. Cornerstone provides free bus trips for families in New Orleans to visit their incarcerated loved ones. For information about the bus project, please visit our page about Cornerstone.
In 2011, 25 riders cycled the 160 miles to Angola Prison over a three-day period. The riders raised approximately $7,000 for Corner Stone, which covered the cost of six months worth of bus trips. This effort allowed roughly 400 people to travel from New Orleans to five state prisons in southeastern Louisiana.
In 2012, 34 riders biked over 168 miles to Angola over a weekend. We raised over $14,000 for Cornerstone which covered an entire year of bus trips and has helped to increase the number of buses visiting each prison.
Here are selected photos from the 2011 ride:
IMPORTANT DATES for riders!
October 18-20 is the date for the 2013 ride!
Please visit our register to ride page to sign up! If you register online, we highly encourage you to come to an info session to learn more about what you will have to bring, and how the ride will work.
You can also register at our monthly prison-related movie nights and discussion groups. But we prefer if you …
Come out to an INFO SESSION!
*** Info Session*** Wed. 9/4, Byrdie’s, 10:30 AM. Come to learn more about the ride, or sign up. 2422 St Claude.
*** Discussion Group *** Mon. Sept. 9. Community Book Center, 5:30p.m. Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) and Nola to Angola (NTA) are excited to host a discussion group based on excerpts from Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. Using the text as a starting point, we will explore how the prison industrial complex affects ALL our lives, across lines of race, class, and gender. Discussion will focus on the Introduction of the book. Photocopies will be available at the event, and there will be a short period for reading before discussion. You can also register/sign up to ride before or after discussion. 2523 Bayou Rd (near Broad)
*** Info Session*** Sat. Sept. 14, Hey! Cafe. 4:30p.m.. Come to learn more about the ride, or sign up. 4332 Magazine (near Napoleon).
*** Info Session*** Tues. Sept. 17, UNO Library (Out front). 5:00p.m. Come to learn more about the ride, or sign up. 2000 Lakeshore Drive. (campus map: http://uno2.uno.edu/maps/lakefront/ . If driving, turn onto Founders Rd. from Leon C. Simon, make a right at the parking gates to enter the guest lot. $3 to exit.)
*** Info Session*** Sun. Sept. 22, City Park (Under the Wind Chime Tree, facing Wisner/ to the right of the NOMA entrance). 12 noon. Come to learn more about the ride, or sign up.
*** Info Session*** Tues. Sept. 24, Flora Cafe and Gallery. 7pm. Come to learn more about the ride, or sign up. 2600 Royal St. [We may not hold this info session if spots are full by this time. e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org ahead of time to check.]
***Tentative Info Session*** Mon. Sept. 30 (evening). Location TBA. Come to learn more about the ride, or sign up. [We may not hold this info session if spots are full by this time. e-mail email@example.com ahead of time to check.]
***Tentative Info Session*** Wed. Oct. 3. 7PM Magnolia Bridge (foot bridge in front of Cabrini High School). 7:00p.m. Come to learn more about the ride, or sign up. Harding Dr. and Moss St. [We may not hold this info session if spots are full by this time. e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org ahead of time to check.]