The somber passing of revered char-actor and Treme Brass Band bass drummer Uncle Lionel Batiste on Sunday, July 8 affected New Orleans music fans the world over. Following a second-line-for-the-ages a week earlier, a funeral procession on Friday, July 20, marked Batiste’s final sendoff.
Undaunted by an afternoon deluge, a spirited crowd of “Unc’s” nieces and nephews paid tribute the patron Saint of Frenchmen Street and in true New Orleans fashion. After winding around the streets of Treme, the procession concluded at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. Included in that number of fans, friends, strutters and steppers were local musicians James Andrews, Corey Henry, Shannon Powell, Derrick Freeman, members of the Treme Brass Band, spoken-word artist Chuck Perkins, fellow char-actor Tee Eva and the mayor of New Orleans himself, Mitch Landrieu.
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Due to the torrential downpour on Friday, July 20, the Batiste held a second funeral procession yesterday, Monday, July 23.