A Bloody Valentine Tale
Lake Charles LA is full of interesting and colorful history. One of Lake Charles famous stories is that of Toni Jo Henry who came up with a plan to break her husband out of jail on Valentines Day in 1940.
Toni Jo married Claude Henry (nick-named Cowboy) in 1939. Shortly after their marriage Cowboy Claude went on trial for killing a former police officer in a bar room brawl. When his newlywed bride Toni Jo heard the sentence of 50 years in prison, she shrieked, “I’ll get you out, Cowboy! Don’t worry!”
Toni Jo Henry took her vow seriously, and she plotted to get her man back. Deciding that the best Valentine’s Day gift would be to surprise her Sweetheart with a jail break her weapon of choice in the plan was not Cupid’s arrow of love! Instead Toni Jo would shoot a man between the eyes in the process!
On Valentine’s Day, 1940, Joseph A. Calloway, set out from his Houston home in a sparkling new Ford coupe, headed for a business meeting in Louisiana. He disappeared…….
Toni Jo needed a get away car to break “Cowboy” out of jail. Calloway in his Ford Coupe fit the bill for what she needed…Toni Jo and her accomplice Finnon Burks hi-jacked Calloway and his car. No one had a clue of what had become of Calloway until Toni Jo showed up unannounced at an aunt’s house near Shreveport and announced that she had killed a man.
The Travel Channel lists The Calcasieu Parish Courthouse as one of the top ten haunted places in America. It is said that the courthouse is haunted by the ghost of Toni Jo Henry who was sentenced to death for murdering Joseph Calloway in a car-jacking that involved a plot to break her husband out of jail in 1940. Toni Jo became the only woman executed in Louisiana’s electric chair. The execution took place in the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse in 1942. Apparently Toni Jo never left! There have been reports of electrical outlets not working, doors locked and even the smell of a woman’s hair burning. Lights flickering and electrical system failures have all been blamed on Toni Jo!
Lake Charles is rich in culture and history. Lake Charles has been my home for 29 years where I have enjoyed living, working and playing throughout the years. I love Lake Charles and enjoy sharing my knowledge of our city with those relocating to Lake Charles or visiting Lake Charles.