Ernie K-Doe (Ernest Kador, Jr.) on the cover of his hit record “Mother-in-Law.”
Natives of New Orleans, faithful listeners along the Chitlin’ Circuit, and lovers of Rhythm and Blues around the world are all familiar with Ernie K-Doe, the self-proclaimed “Emperor of the Universe” and creator of that famous song on familial relations: “Mother-in-Law.” Few if any of that loyal group of fans know anything about the actual family roots of Ernie K-Doe.
K-Doe took his name from the phonetic spelling for how his surname “Kador” was pronounced in French. Ernie K-Doe was born Ernest Kador, Jr. on 1936 in New Orleans’ Charity Hospital to Ernest and Eula Mae Kador, both natives of Pointe Coupee Parish.
Ernest Kador, Sr. was born in 1918 to Médard Kador and Elizabeth Paulin. The Kadors (also spelled Cador) lived near the community of Ventress in rural Pointe Coupee Parish. According to the 1920 Census, French was the first language of Ernest Kador, Sr., his parents, and his siblings who had many lyrical Creole names, including a sister name Melodie. Elizabeth Paulin Kador, the daughter of Harry Paulin and Mary Polite Paulin, died on 19 September 1929. Her husband, Médard Kador, died at the age of seventy-eight on 31 May 1958 (born about 1880).
Longevity certainly must be a trait of the Kador family, for Ernie K-doe’s great-grandfather, Isidore Kador, lived to the advanced age of 95, dying on 1 March 1940. His death certificate shown below indicates that he was a native of Pointe Coupee Parish although it does not list his parents.
Death Certificate of Isidore Kador (ca. 1845-1940) – Great-Grandfather of Ernie K-Doe
Isidore Kador, who worked as a farmer, was married to Julia Francois Kador who died on 19 May 1943, also a native of Pointe Coupee Parish. She was born about 1859-60 to Augustin and Adélaïde Francois. These old residents of Pointe Coupee Parish likely were enslaved prior to the Civil War. Like most Pointe Coupee families their roots in the area likely date from the colonial period of Louisiana’s history.
Below is an inset from the 1880 Census of Pointe Coupee Parish showing Isidore Kador and family.