The Reverend Billy Graham is being laid to rest today in North Carolina. There is a Louisiana connection. The 99-year-old evangelist will be buried in a coffin made by prisoners at Angola.  Former inmate David Bacon says Graham was so impressed with the caskets they made for those who died while in prison, he ordered one on the spot.

“Franklin and Billy Graham came there and I can quote Reverend Billy Graham as saying, ’I’m a simple man, I preach a simple message, and I want to be buried in a simple casket.’”

Bacon recalls the time when there wasn’t much use for religion at Angola, but former warden Burl Cain opened the door for churches to come in and Graham helped to satisfy the prisoner’s spiritual needs.

“At the time, there was only one chapel in all of Angola.  Billy Graham’s ministries donated hundreds of thousands of dollars on different occasions, for the erection and the building of several chapels.”

Bacon says his life wouldn’t be what it is today, had it not been for him to meet Graham while he was at Angola.

“Billy Graham loved people, he loved the prisoners, just like God loves us… and just like God loves him and just like God loves everybody. Billy Graham showed that same love to us and to everyone else.”

Graham’s wife Ruth, who died in 2007, is also buried in one of the Angola caskets.

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