Justin Wilson (chef)

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Justin Wilson
BornJustin E. Wilson
(1914-04-24)April 24, 1914
Roseland, Tangipahoa Parish
Louisiana, USA
DiedSeptember 5, 2001(2001-09-05) (aged 87)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Resting placeSaint William Catholic Cemetery in Port Vincent in Livingston Parish, Louisiana
OccupationSafety engineer
Known forCajun humorist and chef
Political partyDemocratic
ReligionRoman Catholic
Spouse(s)

(1) Sara R. Wilson (deceased)

(2) Jeannine Meeds Wilson
Parents

Harry D. Wilson, Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner (1916-1948)

Olivette Mintern Toadvin Wilson
RelativesBrother-in-law Bolivar Edwards Kemp, Jr., Louisiana Attorney General (1948-1952)
Website
http://www.justinwilson.com
 
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Justin Wilson
BornJustin E. Wilson
(1914-04-24)April 24, 1914
Roseland, Tangipahoa Parish
Louisiana, USA
DiedSeptember 5, 2001(2001-09-05) (aged 87)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Resting placeSaint William Catholic Cemetery in Port Vincent in Livingston Parish, Louisiana
OccupationSafety engineer
Known forCajun humorist and chef
Political partyDemocratic
ReligionRoman Catholic
Spouse(s)

(1) Sara R. Wilson (deceased)

(2) Jeannine Meeds Wilson
Parents

Harry D. Wilson, Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner (1916-1948)

Olivette Mintern Toadvin Wilson
RelativesBrother-in-law Bolivar Edwards Kemp, Jr., Louisiana Attorney General (1948-1952)
Website
http://www.justinwilson.com

Justin E. Wilson (April 24, 1914 - September 5, 2001)[1] was a southern American chef and humorist known for his brand of Cajun cuisine-inspired cooking and humor and storytelling.

Cajun humorist[edit]

Wilson was born in Roseland near Amite, the seat of Tangipahoa Parish, one of the "Florida Parishes" of southeastern Louisiana. He was the youngest of seven children of Harry D. Wilson, the Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry from 1916 to 1948 and a former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives. Harry Wilson was of Welsh descent. His mother, the former Olivette Mintern Toadvin (1880-1976), of French descent and known as Olivet Wilson, was an expert in the improvisation of meals and taught Justin how to cook. Olivet Wilson was also a composer and pianist of instrumental music even into her nineties.

Wilson began his career as a safety engineer while he traveled throughout Acadiana. The safety lectures that he made to refinery workers prompted him to become a Cajun storyteller. He remembered it this way on the back cover of The Justin Wilson Cook Book:

"Way back when I first started as a safety engineer, I took myself pretty seriously, and I found I was putting my audiences to sleep. So having lived all my life among the Cajuns of Louisiana, and having a good memory for the patois and the type of humor Cajuns go for, I started interspersing my talks on safety with Cajun humor."

Wilson later recorded several comedy albums, beginning with The Humorous World of Justin Wilson on Ember Records. He also recorded several albums for Jewel Records on the Paula label and a few for Capitol Records. He later appeared as a guest on the popular CBS series The Ed Sullivan Show. He was known for the catchphrase, "I gar-on-tee!".

As a comedian, Wilson was enormously popular in Louisiana, and to a lesser degree in neighboring states, but his humor may have been a little too specifically regional to enjoy the wider popularity of Southern comics such as Jerry Clower or Archie Campbell.

He composed ten songs, as well as composing the background music for his cooking show and recorded one album of Christmas songs with a jazz band. Wilson wrote seven Cajun cookbooks and two books of Cajun stories. He hosted several cooking shows on PBS that combined Cajun cooking and humor. Most were aired from the studios of WYES-TV in New Orleans.

Author Harnett T. Kane said of Wilson: "I know of no one [else] who portrays the Louisiana Cajun as well, so skillfully and entertainingly".[2]

Politics[edit]

As the son of the former agriculture commissioner who died in office in 1948, Wilson was politically active in his early years. In 1951-1952, Justin Wilson was the manager of the unsuccessful Democratic gubernatorial campaign of Lieutenant Governor William J. "Bill" Dodd. He and Dodd were close though they often disagreed on political philosophy. Wilson's brother-in-law, Bolivar Edwards Kemp, Jr., was the Democratic attorney general of Louisiana from 1948 to 1952, while Dodd was lieutenant governor. Kemp served between the two terms of Attorney General Fred S. LeBlanc of Baton Rouge.

Known for his emphasis of patriotic themes, Wilson over the years became involved in numerous Louisiana political campaigns. Former State Senator Don W. Williamson of Caddo Parish recalls Wilson having cut a commercial for Williamson's Democratic challenge in 1979 to incumbent Insurance Commissioner Sherman A. Bernard. Williamson recalls that Wilson just volunteered to help him. Williamson only narrowly lost to Bernard, who later was imprisoned for fraud in the handling of his state job duties.

Wilson's last residence was in Summit in Pike County, Mississippi. He is interred beside his first wife at Saint William Catholic Cemetery in Port Vincent in Livingston Parish.[1]

Bibliography[edit]

By Justin Wilson[edit]

Other authors[edit]

Discography (partial)[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Justin E. Wilson". findagrave.com. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Wilson Slated as Speaker at Appreciation Banquet for Educators January 26," Minden Herald, December 29, 1960, p. 1
  3. ^ I Gawr-On-Tee, Justin Wilson. Project Records 8001 (1961)

External links[edit]