Skip to comments.Cajun humorist and chef Justin Wilson, host of 'Cookin' Cajun' and other shows, dead at 87
Posted on 09/06/2001 7:34:30 AM PDT by HAL9000
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Justin Wilson, the Cajun humorist and chef whose distinctive accent delighted viewers of his "Cookin' Cajun'' television show, has died. He was 87.
His daughter Sarah Sue Easterly said Wilson died Wednesday in Baton Rouge. She would not give details but said more information would be released later Thursday.
Over Wilson's career, he released five cookbooks, 27 albums of short stories and an album of Christmas songs. He was host of several cooking programs, including "Louisiana Cookin'.''
He referred to himself as JOOS-tain and became known for the expression: "I ga-ron-tee!'' (guarantee), from the Cajun "J'vous garantis.''
"Cajun cooking is the ability to take what you have and create a good dish and season it right,'' Wilson told The Associated Press in 1990.
"It isn't all that hard, but so few people know how to take what they have and put it together and season it properly,'' he said. "It's creative cooking -- that's all it is.''
"I am a gourmet, but I am more of a gourmand,'' he explained. "A gourmet is somebody that's an epicurean. But a gourmand is somebody that's a P-I-G hog and that's what I am.''
A native of Amite, La., Wilson had lived in Summit, Miss., for about six years, his daughter said.
His last syndicated series of shows was titled "Easy Cooking.''
Wilson called himself a "half-bleed'' Cajun. His father was Louisiana's commissioner of agriculture for 32 years, and his mother, Olivet, was Louisiana French. She taught him how to cook.
"She was a great improviser,'' Wilson said. "She'd cook a dish and we'd go 'Mama, w'at's this here, hanh?' And she'd say, 'Children, that's a mus-go. It mus' go down yo' t'roat.'''
Some Cajuns found his fractured language annoying, but Wilson insisted he didn't mean to ridicule. He said his critics were "people who take themselves too seriously.''
Originally a safety engineer, he was inspired to pursue a career in public speaking after he met Will Rogers in the 1930s.
"He told me always to tell 'em clean, and always tell your audience something serious -- or they'll think you're a complete fool,'' he recalled.
Survivors include three daughters.
Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
He taught me that I could use the palm of my hand as a teaspoon measure for salt.
That doesn't sound like much, but if you've ever tried to bake bread with a 3-year-old, the last thing you need is to have to look for is a set of measuring spoons.
"Now, you put in jes' a leetle bit this Louisiana Hot Sauce. 'Bout a teaspoon full is all."
(Begins shaking the bottle violently over the food. Red jets fly with each shake. Still shaking, he turns back to the camera.)
"Don' wahn git too much, now!"
(Audience begins to titter. The red stuff is still flying.)
"You wanna measure raht so you git jes' about a teaspon."
(The audience is solidly laughing now. Neither they nor he has any real idea how much sauce is in the mix.)
"It isn't all that hard, but so few people know how to take what they have and put it together and season it properly," he said. "It's creative cooking -- that's all it is."
When my husband was alive we both would sit and watch The Cajun Cook. If you knew my husband you would know he could not boil water and cared very little for learning how to cook but watching The Cajun Cook made him take an interest in things going on in the kitchen (besides me of course)
It is indeed a sad day for me. GA Lady
Then you must remember 'Moose turd pie.' The funniest bit if ever heard. My father would just gasp from laughing so hard.
Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic!)
For some reason, "Judgement Day" comes to mind.
He was from Texas, but one of his parents was a cajun. An' mais, I tell you one ting; you got yo'self one pah'ent dat's a coon ass, den YOU a coon ass too. Once you get a little cajun spice in yah blood, yah ain't gettin' it out.
Rest in peace, Ju-stan.
My wife and her family knew Justin and he was a true Southern Gentleman and never a put on. In other words he was jes' folks. He could also be called the Firsr Ambasador of Arcadia. Millions of Americans would have never known a Cajon if it wasnt for Mr. Wilson. Later today, I think I'll drink a pearl pop witht he foam on top in his honor. God bless his soul.
The "Cajuns" long have been the pride of Louisiana, but they might have continued to blush unseen had it not been for another Louisianan, this one of English and French extraction, who lived in Cajun country and took its residents to heart.
This is JUSTIN WILSON, raconteur extraordinare and goodwill ambassador of the Louisiana Cajun. Wilson, son of Louisiana's late Commissioner of Agriculture, was working along the Bayou LaFourche when his duties as Warehouse Examiner took him to Crowley, in the heart of Cajun country. Being half Louisiana French himself, there was a natural affection between Justin and his Cajun neighbors.
Justin is quick to tell you that he is not a comedian, but a "Humorist" who finds something funny in almost everything. He does not laugh at his Cajun friends, he laughs with them and his genuine admiration for them shines through.
A safety engineer by profession, he traveled up and down the bayous for years telling Cajun stories. He found an ever growing market for his tales, and was finally persuaded to put them on record so that a vast number of people could enjoy them. After making his first album which sold over a million copies, he has now released a total of 27 albums of stories and one album of Christmas songs with a jazz band and has composed 10 songs of his own, as well as composing the background music for his cooking show.
"Joos-tain" as his Cajun neighbors refer to him, makes his home near Lake Dixie Springs in Summit, Mississippi, 41 miles from his birthplace in Amite, Louisiana. His recording fame has placed him in great demand as an after-dinner speaker, and he spends much time traveling all over the United States in this capacity. He is a professional member of the American Society of Safety Engineers, a "damn good cook", and incidentally, author of five best-selling Cajun cookbooks, 2 books of humorous Cajun stories, films a syndicated cooking show for educational TV, has served as an instructor on human relations for four police academies. . . and did a radio commentary on current affairs. He is a composer, patriot and a firm believer in AMERICA!!!
Thats a two hole gun. I prefer an aromatic.
The little boy is heard to say "I did it, I did it, I did it! She stuck it in my face, and I bit it!"
My dad used to have all HIS records, and we'd listen to him pontificate about Elvis and Billy Craham, and so on. Pretty funny stuff.
His funeral was scheduled at noon Saturday at St.
Luke's Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge, with
visitation Friday evening and Saturday morning.
He will be buried in St. Williams Cemetery in the
Livingston Parish town of Port Vincent, 19 miles
from Baton Rouge.
Over Wilson's career, he released five
cookbooks, 27 albums of short stories and an
album of Christmas songs. He was host of
several cooking programs, including "Louisiana
His white hair, big smile and bright red
suspenders were well known. He wore a belt, too,
saying it was because he was a safety engineer.
But he didn't play it safe on TV. He worked
without a script, taping before live audiences and
refusing to let mistakes be edited out or canned
laughter edited in, said Carl Fry, who produced all
of his Louisiana Public Broadcasting shows.
"He would say, `I'll tell a joke. If they like it, they
like it," Fry recounted.
Wilson used to say that he "granulated" from high
school at 16, then spent five years at Louisiana
State University "majoring in girls" before he gave
up on college without a degree.
He "hoboed around the country," picking fruit,
washing dishes, digging ditches and whatever
other work the Depression afforded.
In 1934, Gov. Huey Long hired him to police the
state's grain warehouse industry, starting a
career as a safety consultant and law
He was inspired to pursue a career in public
speaking after meeting Will Rogers in the 1930s.
"He told me always to tell 'em clean, and always
tell your audience something serious -- or they'll
think you're a complete fool," he recalled.
His recipes for television and cooking were
"Cajun cooking is the ability to take what you
have and create a good dish and season it right,"
Wilson told The Associated Press in 1990.
"It isn't all that hard, but so few people know how
to take what they have and put it together and
season it properly," he said. "It's creative cooking
-- that's all it is."
"A momma crawfish and her lil baby crawfish were walking along a wet pasture after a rain."
"Next thing you know, the lil baby crawfish go 'flap, flap, flap, flap' in reverse."
"The momma crawfish said 'What's the matter lil ones? Why you running away?'
"The lil baby craw fish said, 'We scared of that big thing mommy!'"
"The momma craw fish said, 'Oh! Don't worry bout that! That's just a cow. They don't harm us crawfish.'
"A little further down the pasture, the lil crawfish go flap, flap, flap, flap in full reverse."
"The momma crawfish asked 'What is is now? Why you so scared?"
"The lil crawfish say, 'Oh momma, we are scared of that!'"
"The momma crawfish said, 'Oh you lil crawfish! That's just a horse. They don't bothor us crawfish.'"
"Walking a lil further down the pasture, all a sudden the momma crawfish high tails it in reverse...flap, flap, flap, flap.."
"The baby craw fish asks, 'Momma! What's wrong?'"
"The momma crawfish told the lil crawfish, "Now you see that there is a cajun, and they eat anything!"
Only took 16 posts for someone to try to trash a dead man.
That may be the record.
It has been years since I have seen any of the shows...wish the would replay them.
Boudreaux was catching fish when nobody else in the bayou could catch a cold.
The game warden, a fella named Fontenot, came to visit Boudreaux.
They chat it up a bit and Boudreaux agrees to take Fontenot fishing the next morning.
They arrive at the bayou bright and early the next day and unload the boat
Boudreaux navigates out to his fishing hole and reaches under his seat for a cigar box.
He pulls out a stick of dynamite and crimps a cap on the end, Fontenot sees this and jumps up.
Boudreaux, you can't be doing that, it's against the law. Boudreaux calmly lights the fuse and hands it to Fontenot.
Fontenot, he says, are we gonna talk or are we gonna fish?