Dubbed “the voice of St. Landry Parish,” Cajun broadcaster René Paul Fontenot died at his home on Feb. 7 of a heart attack. He was 71 years old.
Fontenot spent entire 54-year radio career at KSLO(AM) in Opelousas, La., where he first went on air as a high school student in 1956. Most recently he handled the morning show at KSLO, airing news and farm reports in English and Cajun French six days a week.
“When they heard that voice, no matter what was going on, whether it was bad news or bad weather, they knew it was going to be OK. If René said the weather was going to clear up, the weather was going to clear up,” KSLO General Manager Chris Lamke told the Opelousas Daily World.
In 2009, the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters presented Fontenot with a distinguished service award during its annual convention. . He was also a member of the Louisiana Entertainment Hall of Fame.
In the 1950s, Fontenot was a member of the Dezauche Blue Room Gang, a Cajun and country music band sponsored by Dezauche’s Feed Store that performed on KSLO and toured the South and Midwest to promote Red Bird brand yams.
A tribute to Fontenot on the Web site of KTAC-TV in Lafayette, La., reads in part: “The distinctive voice of René Fontenot has been heard for generations. He will be missed by all who knew him, but especially by the farmers and ranchers in the Acadiana area who counted on this steady, reliable voice to give them the information they needed.”