Justin Wilson, Cajun humorist and host of a long-running public television cooking show, died Wednesday Sept. 5 in Baton Rouge, La. He was 87.
A native of Amite, La., Wilson made his fame recording Cajun humor with a distinctive accent, selling more than a million copies of his first album. During his lifetime, he released 27 albums of stories, songs and humor and composed 10 original songs as well as created the background music to his cooking shows.
The son of Louisiana’s late commissioner of agriculture, Wilson first began to use his humorist skills while working as a warehouse examiner in Cajun country. The safety engineer traveled the bayous for years telling stories before being persuaded to record an album.
Born outside Acadiana, the 19-parish region where most Cajuns settled in Louisiana, he was considered a “half-bleed Cajun,” but Wilson nonetheless became synonymous with Cajun expressions such as “I’ll guar-ron-tee” and “How ya’ll are?”
In addition to his syndicated television cooking series, in which he called himself a “damn good cook” as opposed to being a chef, Wilson published several Cajun cookbooks and was at work on a soon-to-be-published one for children. He also made public appearances across the United States, Europe and Australia.
He is survived by three daughters, eight grandchildren, two stepgrandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.