New Orleans Iconic Musician Uncle Lionel Batiste Dies
Treme Brass Band bass drum player Uncle" Lionel Batiste passed away on Sunday at the age of 80 after a short illness.
In a city filled with characters, Uncle Lionel may be the most recognizable. He began to play the bass drum at the age of ten and was a French Quarter tap dancer as a child. He played with numerous brass bands before settling in as a member of the Treme Brass Band with whom he played hundreds of Second Lines and jazz funerals.
When he was not playing music, he could often be found on Frenchman Street in his dapper clothing dancing in the clubs with groups of young female admirers. Uncle Lionel always had kind words for those he came into contact and he was an inspiration for numerous New Orleans musicians including trumpet player Kermit Ruffins.
He is survived by twelve children and numerous grandchildren. Tributes and second lines are being prepared to remember Uncle Lionel as the New Orleans music community mourns, remembers and celebrates the life of Uncle Lionel Batiste.