By Michelle Millhollon / The Advocate

Twenty-three years after the state retired Gruesome Gertie and switched to lethal injection for executions, the electric chair could make a comeback in Louisiana.

States are scrambling for death penalty alternatives because of a clampdown on the availability of deadly drugs for executions. Old-time tools that were banished to states' history museums when lethal injection came onto the scene could once again come into vogue. In Missouri and Wyoming, firing squads are under consideration. Gas chambers and electrocutions also are up for discussion as legislators across the country balk at being hemmed in by drug companies' aversion to facilitating the death penalty.

In Louisiana, where 81 men and two women await execution, state Rep. Joseph Lopinto said he expects to file legislation this year diversifying the state's death penalty law. At the moment, executions in Louisiana must be carried out through a needle. A hangman's noose, gas chamber, electric chair and firing squad are not legally allowed alternatives.

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