The Rose Club

kaylie st. pierre staff

 The grand opening of The Rose Club in the 1950s was the beginning of years of dancing, music and memories for the South Louisiana residents of Verdunville. 

The Rose Club was a dance hall that welcomed many talented Black artists, starting during the grand opening with Hosea Hill’s Serenaders. The Serenaders were a house band of The Sugar Bowl, a popular bar on the Chitlin’ Circuit in Thibodaux near Verdunville. The owner of The Sugar Bowl, Hosea Hill, started the band. 

Rose and Curtis Martin originally owned the club, located at the intersection of Highway 182 and Prairie Road. Originally a store and gas station in the 1930s, it became the Rose Club in the 1950s. Their grandson Billy Martin has fond childhood memories of the club.

“In the ’50s, Popsi bricked it and redone inside,” says Billy Martin. “It was awesome as a little kid to go inside. I stayed on the pinball machines.”

This venue offered dining and dancing every night, except Mondays from 6 p.m. to midnight. The menu had a variety of items from steaks and fried chicken to seafood. A highlight was live music on Saturdays and air conditioning. 

The Rose Club hosted a variety of orchestras and bands. Thomas Lyons, a Thibodaux resident, always had a love for music. 

In 1972, he discovered a local Black zydeco artist named Clifton Chenier. Years later, Lyons got word of Clifton performing with his brother, Cleveland at The Rose Club. He took a trip to Verdunville for Chenier. 

“I had this transcendent experience because Clifton Chenier was playing,” Lyons says. “I am fixated on Cleveland playing the washboard to this day.” 

Rose Martin, great-granddaughter of Rose and Curtis, says her family’s venue inspires her.

“I’ve heard many beautiful stories about the club — how fated relationships were created there; family outings were spent there and nothing but good times were a big hit at the club."

In 1981, a fire destroyed The Rose Club. Although the venue is no longer, its memory remains.

Rose Martin says, “I can only hope that one day our little community can have something like that again.”