Denis Gaubert

Hometown: Thibodaux, Louisiana

Connection to the Circuit
Mr. Denis Gaubert is a local historian and former lawyer who was a child in Thibodaux during the time of the Chitlin’ Circuit. He has memories from his childhood, has researched, and heard stories from others in the community about the Chitlin’ Circuit.
What do you remember of the Chitlin Circuit days?
“Growing up in school and all that, we’d kind of – with my friends and all that – we’d kind of heard about the black section of town which is still called “back of town.” Gerald Peltier Drive, in fact, used to be called “back street” because it was back in the southern part, the southern boundary of Thibodaux way back when. You know, we would pass on canal going to school, to Thibodaux High with my friends – we’d pass a little hotel, a private hotel, called Roosevelt Sanders Holiday Inn over there back behind where South Thibodaux Middle School is now which used to be, well actually, it’s not even South Thibodaux Elementary School it is renamed C.M. Washington which it originally was – named after this lady who was an educator. That was the quote on quote “black section of town.” We knew that there were night clubs there that that’s where the black adults would go to have fun, listen to music. We just kind of knew or heard by word of mouth that the black entertainers who played at the clubs would stay either at the sugar bowl, which was Mr. Hosea Hill’s place, or at the Holiday Inn.” “Sometime I guess around the 1980s, I found his grave, Eddie Jones, (guitar slim) it is right in the family plot of Hosea Hill’s and then later I started listening to yanno, some CD’s of Guitar Slim, I said ‘man, this guy was really good’ in fact, yanno then later i found out that he, his style of playing the guitar had influenced Jimi Hendrix. That was very impressive.”
Do you remember seeing the advertisements for Hosea Hill’s Sugar Bowl around town?
“There used to be, even toward the abolition of segregation, that was a common way of advertising the concerts. They’d staple them to the telephone poles, and you’d see that on Canal Boulevard. You’d pass by and you’d see a white and black thing or white and blue – it was always a monochrome thing, and they’d have a photograph of who the entertainer was and say “this weekend” or they’d have the dates and the name of the entertainer. Some famous, yanno, some not so famous but you’d see that primarily in the area called “back of town.” There would be newspaper advertisements too. Newspaper ads that would announce when someone would be appearing at the Sugar Bowl.”

Sam Cooke

favorite artist