I have been fortunate enough to help in the decorating of the mansion about 6-7 times over the years. One of my favorite memories is sitting at that dining room table at midnight, eating pizza with the design team and 5-6 of the "Trustys" as they are called. The trustys are inmates of the NC State Prison, whose job it is to work at the mansion in various capacities. Some do yard work and gardening, some clean the house, some cook and some act as porters and aides to the staff.
No one is supposed to ask a trusty why he is in prison, but we are always curious. Most of them hardly seem like inmates. They are extremely polite, to the point of being obsequious. If you are in need of something, you have only to ask. We are treated as if we are honored guests - not laborers. The food is great, as well.
My boss is in preparation for the 2006 decorations at the Mansion. I will post photos of that in early December. We didn't get to decorate in 2005 because the mansion was being renovated and treated for mold, so we are all happy to be going back there to decorate for this season. Getting to go there is one of the perks of the business!<>