HOUMA — A young alligator wrangler from Kraemer is stepping back into the public eye.
Sixteen-year-old Zamariah “Z.Z.” Loupe will join the cast of the History Channel’s hit reality TV show “Swamp People.”
Loupe first appeared on national television with his parents on Country Music Television’s “Trading Spouses” in 2004. The show took two families with radically different lifestyles and outlooks on life and switched the moms for a week, keeping the cameras rolling to watch what happens.
There, he won audiences over with his charming “Z.Z.-isms,” and fearless attitude.
“Swamp People,” which debuted in the fall 2011 to 4.4 million viewers, features hunters from Pierre Part, Port Sulphur, Bayou Sorrel and Lake Pontchartrain’s North Shore. The fourth season premiered last week.
“I hope this is a great stepping stone in my career. I want to become a great alligator wrangler and I hope through the show people can see I’m capable of doing a job most wouldn’t dare to do,” Loupe said. “Because I’m only 16, if I tell you all these stories about wrangling alligators, you’d look at me like I’m crazy. Now I have a lot of it on film.”
The teen’s mother, Diana Tregle, said he’s “been wrangling and filming since he could walk.”
“He comes from a long line of great hunters and great Cajun storytellers,” she said.
This season will showcase partnerships. Z.Z.’s wrangling partner is his uncle Tom “Pet” Candies.
The family is well-known around New Orleans and in French-speaking countries as the owners of Zam’s Swamp Tours in Bayou Boeuf, which has been open for nearly 40 years as a family-run business.
New Orleans locals often advise tourists to head to Zam’s for “the real thing,” Tregle said.
On the set of “Swamp People,” Z.Z. was not allowed to shoot or hit alligators with hatchets because of his age. He says he looks forward to the chance to do so, but for now, he just has something to prove through his appearance on the show.
“I hope this tells a lot of people they can stop worrying about me. There are about 300 people in Kraemer. You know the saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ Well, I’m the child they raised,” Z.Z. said, laughing. “Whatever I did that scared someone, they’d run back and tell my mom and I’d get in a little trouble. But I’m hoping they see they don’t need to watch me anymore and that they can keep their noses to themselves.”