Hanging on to roller rink memories

Landmark memorabilia up for sale

{{tncms-inline alignment=”left” content=”<p class="p1"><strong>‘Those were some good times. I remember when the rink first opened and it was always packed and people would come from all of the surrounding areas, too.’</strong> </p> <p class="p3"><strong>John LaFleur</strong></p> <p class="p4">Owner</p>” id=”537e1c9a-ed13-466f-9aa3-05b8842e8424″ style-type=”quote” title=”Pull Quote” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

Once the LaFleur family of Sulphur realized how many people were nostalgic for times they spent over the years at LaFleur’s Roller Rink, they decided to make some of the salvaged items from the rink available for purchase.

A landmark on Ruth Street since 1958, the building is being torn down to make room for a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. The property recently sold for $421,000 and a restaurant will open soon at the site. 

Other items will be donated to the Brimstone Museum in Sulphur and others, such as wood from the rink floor, will be used to make tables and shadow boxes for the family. 

For many people, nostalgic memories of the rink, which closed in 1998, remain strong. Some may be able to get their hands on mementos from the rink to go with their memories of a bygone era. 

Items that will be offered at Polished Peasant on Maplewood Drive in Sulphur will include skates, posters and other memorabilia. 

An owner of the store said she was able to snag the original wooden cash drawer from the rink, which she said once held the first dollar — and the last dollar — spent at LaFleur’s.

Many locals shared their memories with the American Press of their skating days at the rink.

Crystal G. Duhon said, “LaFleur’s is where I got my first kiss.” 

Mike Dronet said he probably “skated before I could walk.” 

Billy Bertrand will never forget spending his 11th birthday at the rink; neither will his mother. “My mom planned for me to invite 15 friends but I must have invited about 75,” he said. “My mom wanted to kill me but everybody had a great time.” 

The LaFleur family said the sale of the property has been bittersweet for them as they prepare to say goodbye forever to the rink — but not to their memories. 

Owner John LaFleur’s parents, the late Goldman J. LaFleur and Agnes LaFleur, originally from Elton, were the ones who had the idea to build the rink. 

“All of us helped build it and my (late) brother, Tony, ran the rink most of those years,” LaFleur said. “Those were some good times. I remember when the rink first opened and it was always packed and people would come from all of the surrounding areas, too.”

The rink has been closed for 20 years but for some people, the memories are as fresh today as they were during the rink’s heyday. 

Mike Cormier said LaFleur’s Roller Rink was the perfect place to hang out with friends. 

“Tony was the owner and he was a great guy who wouldn’t tolerate bad behavior so it made for a good atmosphere to play video games, skate, and shoot pool,” Cormier said. “I believe if the place was still open that I would be there every weekend.” 

LaFleur said many people had encouraged the family to re-open the rink but that it just wasn’t feasible because of the cost factor and the time it would take to run it. “When you own a business, it’s 24/7,” he said. 

Aunjelle Burton, LaFleur’s daughter, said she and her family recently pulled up floor boards from the old rink so they could make tables for their homes as one way to preserve their memories of an era when the rink flourished and people on skates spent many happy hours going ‘round and ‘round that floor. 

Kenny Viator said he has lived in Sulphur all his life and he often went to sock hop dances, as well as skated, at LaFleur’s. “I have some great memories that were made there and I wish we could go back to that time,” he said. 

Polished Peasant, 2304 Maplewood Drive, is open the first and third Thursday-Saturday each month. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

‘Those were some good times. I remember when the rink first opened and it was always packed and people would come from all of the surrounding areas, too.’ 

John LaFleur

Owner