Rodney Ronald Bernard

August 12, 1940July 12, 2020

Swamp pop music entertainer and broadcaster Rod Bernard passed away on July 12, 2020, in New Iberia, Louisiana, after a short illness.

He was born Rodney Ronald Louis Bernard in Opelousas, Louisiana, on August 12, 1940. As a child he learned to play guitar, sing, and yodel. As a teenager Bernard and high-school friends formed a band called Rod Bernard and the Twisters. In 1958 they issued their own version of King Karl & Guitar Gable’s song “This Should Go On Forever.” Originally released on the Jin label of Ville Platte, then licensed to the Argo label of Chicago, Bernard’s version became a national hit, propelling him onto Alan Freed’s rock ‘n’ roll show, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, and concerts and tours with Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, B. B. King, Duane Eddy, Roy Orbison, and Frankie Avalon, among others.

In coming years Bernard released many regional hits that today remain swamp pop classics. These include “Congratulations To You Darling,” “Forgive,” “Loneliness,” “Fais Do-Do,” and his own bilingual (French and English) version of the Cajun classic “Colinda.” In 1976 he teamed up with fellow Opelousas native, zydeco legend Clifton Chenier, to record the Jin album Boogie In Black & White — for its time a groundbreaking biracial collaboration.

In addition to his music career, Bernard worked in radio and television his entire life. For many years in the 1960s he deejayed, sold airtime, and served as a program director at KVOL radio in Lafayette. (Bernard was instrumental in hiring Lafayette’s first African-American deejay, Paul Thibeaux, who joined KVOL in 1965.) Around 1970 Bernard switched to a career in television and for nearly 30 years worked as an advertising executive and on-air talent for Lafayette’s KLFY-TV 10. He often appeared in television commercials and guest-hosted the channel’s long-popular Passe Partout and Meet Your Neighbor programs. He retired in 2018 from the Acadiana Broadcasting Group.

In his personal time Bernard enjoyed watching classic westerns, barbequing, cooking chicken and sausage gumbo, and listening to country and western, blues, and rhythm and blues music. He also loved to spend time with his family, especially his three grandchildren. In 2010 Bernard celebrated his 70th birthday by parachuting from an airplane — telling his family only after he returned from the jump.

Bernard was preceded in death by his parents, Louis Varnum “L.V.” Bernard Jr. and Irene Bordelon Bernard. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Jo Ann King, originally of Magnolia, Mississippi, and a longtime resident of Lafayette, now residing in New Iberia; his brother, Oscar Bernard of Scott; his children, Shane K. Bernard of New Iberia and Shannon Bernard Bourg of Metairie; three grandchildren, Colette A. Bernard and Alexandre T. Bernard of Lafayette, and Ella G. Bourg of Metairie; his daughter-in-law, Amy Lancon Bernard of New Iberia; and his son-in-law, Rusty Bourg, of Metairie.

Bernard proudly served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from 1962 to 1968, attaining the rank of sergeant. He was later active in the Lafayette-area Marine Corps League. His family asks that donations be made to the U.S. Marines’ Toys for Tots campaign at At his request no funeral will be observed.

The Bernard family would like to thank the New Iberia Police Department, Acadian Ambulance, and Iberia Medical Center for their swift response, concern, and professionalism.

To view the on-line obituary and sign the guest register, please visit

Evangeline Funeral Homes, Inc. of New Iberia is in charge of arrangements.


  • Jo Ann King Bernard, Wife
  • Shane King Bernard (Amy), Son
  • Shannon Elizabeth King Bernard Bourg (Rusty), Daughter
  • Colette Amie Bernard, Granddaughter
  • AlexandreTobin Bernard, Grandson
  • Ella Grace Bourg, Granddaughter
  • Oscar Bernard, Brother
  • Louis and Irene Bordelon Bernard, Parents (deceased)


Rodney Ronald Bernard

have a memory or condolence to add?

Audrey Millet

July 12, 2021

I will always treasure meeting you and getting to know you and your family. Bobby and I cherished the times we went to watch you perform. I hope by now you and he met up with each other in heaven. Prayers and love to your family. Audrey

Vicky Cormier

July 15, 2020

I worked with Rod at KLFY for a number of years and enjoyed all of that time together. He was always walking in to tell a joke or funny story. He also like to talk about his earlier time on American bandstand and all the famous people he knew and worked with. I’ve thought about Rod often through the years but didn’t see him much. He will be greatly missed by so many people, including me. My condolences go out to Joanne and his Son and Daughter and grandchildren. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

charles norman

July 14, 2020

Mitchell Douget

July 14, 2020

I got to know Rod a little bit many years ago in his capacity as a sales exec for KLFY. Such a beautiful man. Later when listening to his afternoon radio program he shared such wonderful memories. He will be missed.

Thor D'Avy Frederick

July 14, 2020

Oscar and family,
Rod's passing has stirred up a lot of good memories. Although is been a very long time since I saw him, I remember him as though it was yesterday. He was special.
May he rest in piece and ya'll remember you have an angel in heaven.
My thoughts and prayers to all.


Audrey Millet

July 14, 2020

Prayers and condolences to Rod’s family as they live their lives without him. It is not an easy road to travel. Just take one day at a time. May his wonderful memories help you through this difficult time. Cry when you have to, smile when you can. Love to all of you
Audrey Millet
Garyville La

Glenn Collins

July 14, 2020

Rod thanks for all the great memories. You were a relative that never forgot your friends. I loved going to the southern club long ago. I was 6-7 when daddy would take me to hear you every Saturday. God now has taken out little Opelousas Cajun musician. God needed another angel and Cajun musician to fill his band. Goodbye my cousin, friend. I am sorry for y’all loss and I will be praying for y’all. Ty Glenn

Kitty Courts

July 14, 2020

Shane and Family, My deepest sympathy and condolences to you and your Family. Your Dad, Rod, was a very special person, who leaves a musical and entertainment legacy that will.always be remembered. Remembering you and your family in my.thoughts and prayers

Priscilla LeMaire

July 13, 2020

Priscilla LeMaire

July 13, 2020

Rod came to my Husband an I 40th wedding Anniversary on August 20th 2010 that was a surprise to me that my son Wesley Jr ask him to do! He showed up with a dozen beautiful roses from their garden which he said his wife Joann told him to bring ! Thanx Ms. Joann their beautiful and I have a couple in my freezer that I saved! My name is Priscilla LeMaire an my Husband is the late Wesley LeMaire that passed away on February 12th 2020! We were so happy he showed up ! Rod got on stage and told everyone we share the same Birthday August 12th! Sure gonna miss him! My thoughts an Prayers goes out to y’all ! Love you all ! RIP Rod !!God Bless you all! Here’s a photo for our 40th wedding Anniversary !