Sins of a Cajun Boy: The Legendary Story of Louisiana’s Famous Cat Man is a new autobiography that tells the story of master burglar Danny Singleton, who began his criminal career as a youth in Eunice.
The power structure of Eunice unites to enable Singleton to avoid punishment. But when he has his first breaking and entering experience in the home of the town’s mayor, it’s off to juvie.
After taking a few years off from crime, Singleton gets a ride from a safe cracker. The latter doesn’t teach him much about safes, but does give him a lot of lessons about burglary and breaking and entering. In spite of these lessons, Singleton manages to get a stint in Angola when he’s still a teenager.
While he’s committing his youthful crimes, he has two main concerns: control and an intense desire for excitement. He often gauges himself to determine whether he’s in control of his thoughts and feelings. He’s always in control. He doesn’t rattle easily.
The author of Sins of a Cajun Boy is certainly good at analyzing his mindset and situation. He’s well aware that he’s hurting people, but he’s also aware that he feels no strong emotion about what he’s done.
He settles in San Antonio, where he becomes the city’s top B&E man and earns the nickname The Cat from local law enforcement. The name signifies that he gets in and out of houses in a matter of minutes. He only steals jewelry, coins and money and knows just where people hide these things. He passes up paintings he knows are valuable because they take too long to move out of the house.
His sense of control develops to the point that he feels invincible. It’s perhaps this over-confidence, or perhaps the fact that he’s committing too many crimes in San Antonio, that gets him busted again. After a few years in jail, he finds himself in a Houston Baptist church that takes in newly released cons. During one service, he goes down during the alter call. He’s perfectly sincere. But the change doesn’t stick, and soon he’s breaking and entering again.
During one long string of convictions and imprisonments, the Cat Man becomes disgusted with “the officers [in Mississippi and Louisiana] who were releasing me so I could commit burglaries where they received a particular payoff.” Eventually a straight cop sets him up for a bust when he tells a mobster information that could be used for a burglary. Still, the Cat Man enjoys preferential treatment from certain Louisiana officers. He continues doing his Opelousas jail time in a private room with its own shower, television and stereo. The room is next to the restaurant, The Rice Palace, from which the Cat orders all his meals.
He’s transferred to Dixon Correctional Institute, where he meets a guitar-playing “troubadour” named Glynn Wayne Savage. Savage and a correspondent named Nancy encourage the Cat Man to see dedication to Jesus as an escape from his plight. He’s intrigued, but can’t make the transition.
Savage is killed in a set up; Cat Man gets out of jail and continues burglarizing. He’s finally busted for good when he carelessly tries to sell a jeweler a class ring with the owner’s initials on it.
Cat Man bounces around various Mississippi jails, always winding up in the chaplain’s office. But it’s not a chaplain who finally puts his spiritual journey in high gear. One day he hears a recording of a Ray Boltz song called “The Anchor Holds.” The effect is transformational. “I opened the doors to my soul and asked Jesus to come into the heart of a sinner,” he writes. “I gave up all control.” And so the issue of control was finally resolved.
Of course, he still has to endure the hardships of prison. But he takes consolation in Timothy 2:1 — “My son, be strong in the Grace that is in Jesus Christ.”
What you’ve read here just scratches the surface of the plot. If you’ve ever wanted to know what happens in the life of a successful, professional burglar, this book will tell you. I found it a page turner.
The co-author of the book is Virgil Breeden. The price is a very reasonable $14.95. The book is published by Wise Publications in Sulphur. To enquire about buying a copy, call 225-270-0222 or 337-457-5668.
Jambalaya Or Mashed Potatoes?
Advocate correspondent Elizabeth Crisp recently reported that a LSU player said that he’d been promised dinner at the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion during recruiting. I wonder whether he was mainly interested in meeting with the governor or if it was the Oreo-crusted cheesecake he was going for.
A good ribeye is always welcome. But the sides for the governor’s dinner with the LSU football team’s freshmen — mashed potatoes and green beans — probably tasted less interesting than any number of Cajun or Creole sides that might have been served.
30 Guys In 30 Days
This month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Louisiana is holding a 30 Guys in 30 Days recruitment campaign to raise awareness of the agency’s urgent need for more male volunteers to become mentors for boys in Southwest Louisiana.
Nationwide, 66 percent of youth on the waiting list for Big Brothers Big Sisters are boys, but only 36 percent of volunteer mentors are men. Executive director Erin Davison says boys mentored by men are “46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol, 52 percent less likely to skip school, and are more confident in everyday life.”
In the community-based mentoring program, “Bigs” commit to spending time with their “Little” a minimum of twice a month. Together, the two do activities in the community, like going to the park, playing sports and learning new skills. In the school-based mentoring programs, Bigs meet Littles twice a month (or more) for the Lunch Buddy and Reading Readiness mentoring programs. Bigs and Littles spend time together to talk and build meaningful relationships.
The goal of the 30 Guys in 30 Days campaign is to recruit 30 male mentors by July 31. Visit bbbsswla.org/30guys or call 478-5437 to become a mentor. Groups or organizations who are interested in getting involved can contact Alex Stinchcomb at firstname.lastname@example.org or 337-478-5437, ext. 114.
Louisiana Is Beating Pension Debt
As you may know, the biggest financial problem for many states is skyrocketing pension costs. Baby boomers are retiring, and their pensions must be paid. The result is often a tremendous and always increasing debt for the state.
Louisiana’s enormous pension debt has gotten a lot of negative press in the last decade. But the Louisiana Budget Project just reported that Louisiana made “real progress” this year in decreasing its pension debt.
The reason? “The surging stock market.”
A recent Pew Memorial Trust study finds that Louisiana’s present pension debt of $18.2 billion represents a drop of nearly $2.5 billion from last year’s total.
Also, says Pew, Louisiana is doing a better job than most states in paying down the principal on its debt — one area in which the majority of states are not doing well. Pew allows that this year, “Louisiana paid more than enough to stop its debt from growing.” If whatever’s happening keeps happening, Louisiana could wind up building up some substantial financial security.
Will You See Rougarou?
So what makes Morgan City such a hot spot for ghosts and the like? Apparently the Atchafalaya Basin has been the site of many glimpses of Rougarou — the Cajun werewolf. And there are Civil War battle sites and Antebellum mansions — both perennial sources of hard-to-explain phenomenon of an unsettling nature.
According to the Travel Channel’s website, the first show deals with the Morgan City Police Dept.’s frustration with a mist that’s settled over a lake in the middle of town. The second show gets dramatic when investigators discover a malevolent presence in a house that’s long been thought to be haunted by a kind, helpful ghost of a little girl.