NEW ORLEANS — Cookbook author and radio personality Poppy Tooker will host a new public television program premiering this weekend.
Produced in partnership with WYES, Zatarain’s, and the Louisiana Funeral Directors Association, Louisiana Mourns! will explore the grieving process with the rakish joie de vivre of a New Orleans second line.
“I’ve always thought of food as Louisiana’s great equalizer,” Tooker explained in her trademark sing-songy, effusive style. “But really, whether we thicken with okra or filé, the grim specter of death awaits us all at the bottom of the Dutch oven.”
Tooker promises the new show will feature the same traditional and contemporary Louisiana music her radio listeners have come to love, as well as visits to various small-town funeral homes, New Orleans’ Odd Fellows Rest cemetery, and the office of Terrebonne Parish Coroner Victor “Red Beans” Tedesco.
“Whether we thicken with okra or filé, the grim specter of death awaits us all at the bottom of the Dutch oven.”
In a scene from the pilot episode of Louisiana Mourns!, Tooker whips up a batch of her jambalaya and demonstrates how it can be placed near the casket of the deceased in lieu of a flower arrangement.
“What comforts the average Louisianan more: a vase full of calla lilies or a cast-iron pot full of rice and andouille? You tell me,” the ever-ardent Tooker says on the episode.
When asked about what sets her new show apart, Tooker said, “It’s our interviews with the bereaved that make the show truly special. For Louisianans, it can go from dabbing your eyes to waving that handkerchief to a brass band beat in seconds flat!”
Poppy Tooker’s Louisiana Mourns! premieres on WYES this Sunday and will be almost immediately canceled.