Brick Johnson, Les Arbres owner, dies at 95

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The bridge tables at Les Arbres Club, owned by the late Manuel "Brick" Johnson. (Lauren Carroll/Journal)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — In its heyday, Les Arbres Club was the place to be, a vibrant place that attracted black performers, artists and civil-rights leaders who socialized amid the sounds of jazz and soul music.

And Manuel “Brick” Johnson and his wife, Mable, were at the center of the action as owners and operators of the club, which has been in business for more than 50 years.

Brick Johnson died Tuesday of natural causes, Mable Johnson said Thursday. He was 95.

The couple started the club, also known by its English translation as “The Trees,” in the spring of 1959 with 30 charter members. And it remains in its original site: a 2,242-square-foot brick house at 3304 New Walkertown Road in northeastern Winston-Salem.

“He was quite a character, and we loved the music at the club,” Mable Robinson said.

Read full story: The Winston-Salem Journal