As most of the World knows, New Orleans is known for our unusual traditions. There’s Mardi Gras for us sinners who need to have a party before fasting for Lent. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday so on Fat Tuesday “Mardi Gras” its our last feast for 40 days so it has to be big. But that’s not the only party we have here. In between all of our festivals for “every occasion”, there are Second Lines and there are Jazz Funerals.

Sadly for every musician, their instrument will go silent. 81 year old Jazz musician Lionel Batiste of the “Treme Brass Band” recently lost his battle with cancer. Mr. Batiste, known as “Uncle” in the jazz community passed away and as usual, he would not go away without the traditional Jazz Funeral except in Mr. Lionel’s passing, his funeral was just as special as he was.

Snipped from the above article…

Blues guitarist Little Freddie King and his drummer/manager, “Wack-O” Wade Wright, stood outside the Charbonnet-Labat-Glapion Funeral Home in Treme on Thursday afternoon, pondering the scene inside for “Uncle” Lionel Batiste’s wake. “They’ve got him fixed up beautiful,” King said of the deceased Treme Brass Band drummer and renowned New Orleans character.

Wade agreed. “They’ve even got his watch on the mannequin’s hand,” he said, referring to the life-like figure standing in the funeral home’s chapel.
That wasn’t a mannequin, King replied. “That’s him.”

Never before, during his 50 years in the funeral business has Louis Charbonnet embalmed a body in such a life-like pose. After studying pictures of Mr. Batiste — who preferred to be photographed standing up — and considering various poses, he and the children decided Mr. Batiste should be on his feet, sans casket.

Lionel “Uncle” Batiste cheated death before in 2005.

During hurricane Katrina, Batiste used his drum to stay afloat in the floods after Hurricane Katrina, Clarinetist Michael White said.
“The water kept rising,” White said. “He couldn’t swim. The water was too high for him to walk out. He saved himself by floating out on top of his bass drum.”

May he find Home in the Heavenly cloud of the music he loved,
Beating his drum and tapping his feet,
Rest in Peace,
Lionel “Uncle” Batiste


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