The City of New Orleans has lost one of its icons.
“Uncle” Lionel Batiste passed away July 8, 2012.
Mr. Batiste, or ” Unc” as he was affectionately known, was a jazz and blues musician.
A member of the Treme Brass Band, he loved New Orleans
and New Orleans loved him right back.
I won’t write too much about his legacy.
Anyone wanting to know about this marvelous man can find some info here.
When Uncle Lionel was waked, he wasn’t exactly lying in state like most high-profile folks.
Mr. Batiste went out in quite a unique way…
even for a city that thrives on uniqueness.
Mr. Batiste was waked standing up while propped up against a faux street lamp.
Keith Spera of the Times-Picayune wrote:
In a send-off as unique as the man himself, Mr. Batiste wasn’t lying in his cypress casket. Instead, his body was propped against a faux street lamp, standing, decked out in his signature man-about-town finery.
He wore a cream sport coat, beige slacks, tasseled loafers, ornate necktie and matching pocket square, bowler hat and sunglasses. His bass drum and his Treme Brass Band uniform were positioned nearby.
His hands rested atop his omnipresent cane. The gold watch spanning his left palm was his trademark, representing his desire to always have “time on my hands.”
His head was cocked slightly to the left. He appeared ready to step from behind the velvet rope and saunter off to Frenchmen Street, where he reveled in dancing and drinking beer.
“He looks better today than when I saw him the Thursday before he died,” said Storyville Stompers tuba player Woody Penouilh.
“Heaven is agreeing with him.”
Rest In Peace Uncle Lionel.
Or better yet…
give’em one heck of a second line on the other side.