Gilbert Rosiere I (called Titi Rosiere by his students) had been educated as a lawyer but had a tendency to hang around with the “wild set.” He soon dropped out of the legal profession to become a fencing master and opened one of the most successful fencing clubs in US history which, in turn led New Orleans to become a fencing center of the United States. During the Mexican War he made a fortune teaching officers to fence.
He himself fought several duels in one week. He was brave, generous, fond of music and a regular at the opera. Once, touched by the pathos of an aria, he wept at his seat….the man next to him laughed at him…..Rosiere slapped his face, “C’est vrai, je pleure mais je donne aussi des calottes.””(It is true that I weep, but I also give blows) The next day Gilbert ““inked” him in the duel.
Gilbert’s son was also a master.This club started near the late 1700’s and continued at least into 1887.
There is a famous duelling ground behind a chapel, a park called the duelling oaks. There is a street from the past called “Fencing Masters’ Row” where a number of salle d’armes existed many years ago.Exchange Alley is where many fencing schools were located many years ago.Up to and through the late 1930’s until ? New Orleans was NOT AFFILIATED with the AFLA. They hosted international opens inviting fencers from US, Canada, and Central and South America including professionals.
Gilbert Rosiere, you will remember was a great fencing master who came here before the Civil War, and taught fencing to many Creole gentlemen. He first opened a school of fencing, which developed into the “Orleans Fencing Club.” The city directory of 1872 gives the address of the club as 150 Royal Street.Both clubs were composed of the elite of Creole element. Mr. James Dupas, then Chancellor of the French Consulate in New Orleans, was its first president. Mr. Dupas was an accomplished fencer. He reached a high rank in French Diplomacy and died recently in Nice, France. Other distinguished members were, Dr. Dupaquer, father of the present Dr. Dupaquer, Dr. de Poncy, Armond Pilie, Paul O. Geurin, Raoul Tanneret, Charles Massicot, Gaston Salomon, J. M. Quayrouza, Willie K. Fassy, Dr. Robert Bords, William Cruzat, Albert Duquesnez, Jules Lemarie, Michel Commager, Portune Avegno, and Louis Arnaud and Alfred Meilleur.
Other Information, Researched by E.C. Rosiere III
Gilbert was born May 21, 1812 in Bordeaux, France. He died on August 18, 1879 in New Orleans and is buried in Saint Louis #2 cemetery in New Orleans. He is cited in history and fiction books as the “most popular” fencing master in New Orleans. He is noted for fighting seven duels in one week. Military records list him as fighting in the Civil War. Rosiere Street in New Orleans is named in his honor. It is rumored that his foils were donated to the Cabildo in New Orleans.
Historical accounts state that Gilbet said, “FENCING WILL DIE WITH ME”
on his death bed to J.M. Queyrolzie (known in those days as the Southern Fencing Champion). So it was……
The last public fencing exhibition was held in New Orleans in 1886