Occupation: Co-owner, manager, Leo’s Rollerland
Hometown: Baton Rouge
Some hug the edge, their bodies weighted on elbows against a gleaming wall.
Leo Perry Seaman II flies, on his way to adjust the air conditioning at Leo’s Rollerland beneath the glancing disco ball and the thrum of Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”
His dad, Leo Seaman the First, flew, too.
In World War II, he taught soldiers how to fire machine guns on D-Day.
But before and after the war, he was building skating rinks.
He is the company’s namesake.
The wheels were harder back then, less forgiving. Now, new materials have come to quiet and speed up the swoop.
One thing has never changed: Skating makes people grin.
Seaman grins too, but at the rink, he’s also all business.
“I don’t have many moves in me,” he protests. “Forward and back—that’s it.”
And yet, he wears skates all day. And when he goes to select a pair for a patron, he gleams the service area behind the counter.
Still trim and flexible, on his skates, he carves it up.
Seaman’s smile is not the sort that you put on just to make a sale. This is a skating smile, one reflected by the hundreds of skaters on his dance floor every day.
Turns out today’s children still love the “Cupid Shuffle” and the “Cha-Cha-Cha.”
Seaman has watched a lot of fads come and go.
Leo’s Rollerland, which has an adjacent ice-skating rink at its location that opened in 1977 near Cortana Mall, has had three sites around Baton Rouge since Seaman’s father started the business in 1946.
In his free time, Seaman seeks adventure in the mountains and rides bicycles, laugh-inducing pursuits that give him a break from the everyday rhythm of Leo’s Rollerland. He manages and co-owns the business with his three brothers and a sister.
The night before he was born, Seaman’s mother—”They met at my daddy’s skating rink,” Seaman says—was working at the roller rink.
His father couldn’t wait to pass on the family’s way of life.
“When I was in my little bassinet, I was skating,” he says, chuckling. sk8leos.com