Jordyn Voisin features editor
Roller skating became a popular pastime across the United States in the 1880s and made its way to South Louisiana in 1869 when the first rink opened in New Orleans.
Since then, multiple rinks have come and gone along Southeast Louisiana, including Aggies Skate Connection in Houma, Wheels R Rollin in Schriever, Plaquemine Pop-up Skating Rink, and The Skate Connection in Patterson.
Teenagers and young adults would spend their weekends skating, attending lock-ins, and hanging out with friends at their local rink.
Skylia Concienne attended Patterson’s popular rink, The Skate Connection, while growing up in the 2000s.
“My favorite thing was how simple everything was; you got to hang out with your friends in a safe, controlled environment,” Concienne says.
The rink offered different food and drinks as well as a fun, laid-back atmosphere where kids could not only skate but dance and hang out all night long.
Celena Cunningham Courteaux, who ran The Skate Connection from 1987 to 1988 says,
“I loved meeting people and making new friends at the rink.”
Courteaux recalled lock-ins and birthday parties as the main events that kept people coming in, but sadly, the rink couldn’t stay afloat and closed its doors after 30 years in 2010.
“Many rinks close down because of the mom-and-pop owners tiring out, and wanting to retire,” says Tish Foret, the owner of Aggie’s Skate Connection in Houma. “The rink then gets bought for its size and property.”
Foret says that when people buy the rinks they don’t keep them as rinks, but usually use them for other things. The Skate Connection is a perfect example. It is now converted into apartments, a church, and a thrift store on one side, and a snowball stand on the other.
Despite the closures of various rinks like the Plaquemine Pop-Up Skating Rink and The Skate Connection, Foret’s rink is still going strong.
Aggie’s opened in 1998 and Foret has owned it for 25 years.
“It’s not that kids don’t skate anymore, it’s a lack of people with a passion to run a rink,” Foret says. “You have to be a total extrovert and love talking to people and being in a party atmosphere.”
Aggie’s biggest asset is the skating parties that they hold. The customer has the option of a two-hour party on either Saturday or Sunday including food and beverages of their choice.
Multiple generations over the years have come to Aggie’s to skate and Foret says they have many loyal regulars that come skate every weekend.
“I love when kids that were regulars grow up then come back with their children,” says Foret.
Although rinks may not be as popular as they once were, there is still a piece of them that lives on in the kids who grew up on those wooden floors.