In the summer of 1973, the high school football star Forest Hammond traded his gear for cuffs, entering the Baton Rouge Parish Prison after being caught up in a situation gone wrong. The course of this young man's promising life changed with one mistake: the football hero with the athletic scholarship overestimated himself. In an attempt to dissolve a violent situation, he failed and became entangled in a violent crime leading to a prison sentence for murder. Saint, as he was known, went on to serve time in Angola, one of the most violent penitentiaries in the country. His mistake would cost him nine years.
His shot at a shorter sentence came after learning about a program allowing him to work as a servant in the governor's mansion in exchange for a possible chance at freedom. After serving as a butler for Gov. Edwin W. Edwards for years, he obtained the coveted gold letter of pardon. His experiences in Angola and the mansion greatly affected him and changed the direction of his life. His story is both cautionary and inspirational, while exposing an outdated custom that is even now in the headlines as controversial.