Pearl River, LA. — Longtime New Orleans sportscaster and award-winning journalist Kenneth Wilkerson died Monday in his Pearl River home due to complications from a lingering battle with cancer.
Wilkerson, born on May 16, 1961, attended Jesuit High School and studied at both the University of New Orleans and Delgado Community College. He began his career in journalism reporting for various sports departments including KLFY-TV in Lafayette.
In 1997, Wilkerson became a sideline reporter for WWL’s broadcasts of the New Orleans Saints games. He joined WWL 870AM and covered major sporting events for the station for more than 17 years.
Wilkerson was best known on the station for co-hosting WWL’s afternoon drive talk show “SportsTalk” with former New Orleans Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert. Prior to that, Wilkerson was the sidekick to Buddy “D” Diliberto until Dilberto’s death in 2005.
Much like Diliberto, Wilkerson was considered an independent voice who held team officials and players accountable for their on-the-field decisions and actions. Over the years, Wilkerson became a mainstay at local NFL draft coverage, Saints camp, Saint games, and just about any major sporting event in town.
Upon leaving WWL 870AM, Wilkerson continued reporting with WIST Radio and WLAE Television. He was the recipient of numerous awards from the New Orleans Press Club and Associated Press.
Neck surgery caused Wilkerson to miss reporting for a while. He was diagnosed with cancer in April 2012. He began to suffer medical setbacks and over the weekend his health took a turn for the worse. He died peacefully at his home.
Wilkerson is survived by his mother, former Jefferson Parish School Board Member Judy M. Colgan, his father Pat Wilkerson, three brothers, five stepsisters and one stepbrother. Wilkerson is also survived by stepfather Larry Colgan and stepmother Mary Lou Wilkerson.
Services for Wilkerson will be held at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home on Tuesday, July 9 at 2:00 p.m. Family and friends are invited to visitation from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Interment will be immediately following the service at Hope Mausoleum.