Dave Petitjean *
Inducted on July 23, 2005
Dave Petitjean Jr. was born in 1928 (died on June 18, 2013) to Dave Sr. and Mary Petitean, who ran a warehouse that stored crops for local farmers. Influenced by Louisiana humorists Bud Fletcher and Justin Wilson, Petitjean, with his Acadian ancestry, found he could mimic the Cajun dialect and started telling jokes after sales meetings. He went on to record his first album at a Houston nightclub in 1961.
Living in Crowley, La., he and his wife, Audrey, were married in 1950 and had two sons. With the phrase, "A smile is contagious, so be a carrier," Petitjean published a newsletter "Cajun Recipe for Humor" on the Internet at www.cajunlaff.com.
He briefly attended Louisiana State University at age 16, but left the school to join the Navy and was assigned to the USS Estes, flagship for the 7th Fleet. As the ship's disbusing storekeeper, he was stationed in Tsingtao, China, for his entire naval career. After the war, he studied agriculture at Southwest Louisiana Institute (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette). He graduated and joined Olin Chemical Co. around 1950, from which he retired after some 25 years. He then joined Farm Bureau Insurance and retired in 2000.
He credited Bill Gove with teaching him how to organize routines and develop motivational messages through humor.