James is Tiana's father from The Princess and the Frog. He was a hard-working family man whose dream was to have his own restaurant. Being a loving man, James took very good care of his family.
Although he almost never got what he wanted, he was a happy man, because he had what he needed, such as love, and never lost sight of what was really important. He gave Tiana practical advice about working hard that she took very seriously. He then made her promise that she would not lose sight of anything important either.
James was pressed into service and fought in World War I when the United States was provoked into joining the war. At some point, James was killed in action(K.I.A) during the war, so he never got to see Tiana get her restaurant. As shown briefly in the film, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (given for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force).
Role in the film
James was first seen when Eudora takes Tiana to her house where his daughter stirs a pot of gumbo to which she puts a bit of Tabasco sauce on the gumbo to add extra flavor. Her father also tastes it to which he becomes very satisfied of the gumbo as Tiana tells the neighbors to try Tiana's gumbo to which they all like the gumbo. James then explains to her daughter that whenever food tastes good, it attracts many happiness to satisfied customers. He then explains that when he opens up his own restaurant, he could attract more people to taste his food just like what Tiana did with the gumbo. Upon looking at Evangeline when James says to wish upon a star for her dreams to come true, he tells his daughter that wishing cannot always happen, telling her that she needs to work on her own to do her own job. Before putting Tiana to sleep, James tells her that she should never forget about her father who would always be with her as he and Eudora go to bed.
Years later, Tiana becomes an adult as she puts the poster of the restaurant by a portrait of her late father wearing a military uniform telling her late father that he should be with her. James later appears in a flashback during the musical number "Dig a Little Deeper" where the flashback is seen in a pot of gumbo and later during the confrontation against Dr. Facilier where she explains that her father never got the restaurant he wanted because he passed away as Tiana confronts him. However, her father's dream to build up a restaurant finally came true after Tiana and Naveen gave all the money to the Fenner Brothers before they sell the property.