Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Former employees, hostages and families to gather on anniversary of riot at Oakdale prison

OAKDALE — Former hostage Michael Grimes still keeps a knife given to him by his captor as a reminder of the nine days he and 27 other prison guards spent in captivity at a federal detention center in Allen Parish.

The knife was given to him by one of the nearly 1,000 Cubans detainees who took control of the Oakdale Federal Detention Center just before Thanksgiving 1987.

“They’d been telling us off and on that they were going to release us, so it got to the point we didn’t know what to believe,” Grimes said. “I looked out the window and saw them throwing knives up in the area. I didn’t know what was going on, then they told us we were released. We still couldn’t believe it. It felt like a crazy dream.”

On his way out of the facility, one of the Cubans gave him a big knife, which he hid in his blanket “just in case,” as he walked out.

He plans to bring the knife with him Saturday as more than 100 former employees, hostages and their families gather in Oberlin for their first reunion since the ordeal ended.

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Heroes Under Fire: Prison Siege from Wild Eyes Productions on Vimeo.