New Orleans Celebrates the Life of Lionel Batiste | New York Times


The drums could be heard first and then the brass,
William Widmer for The New York Times
and then, far down the street in the twilight, people could be seen dancing and swaying, the bells of sousaphones above them like halos. Shuffling back and forth at the front of the parade was a paint horse named Sunshine that somebody taught how to dance.

The man being laid to rest is Lionel Batiste, known to everyone for decades as Uncle Lionel, to many simply as “Unc.” Mr. Batiste, who was 80 when he died of cancer on July 8, was the singer, bass drummer and assistant grand marshal for the Treme Brass Band. He was also one of the great New Orleans personalities, the face of Treme and a consummate man about town...

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