"Uncle" Lionel Batiste was born in New Orleans on February 11, 1931 and died at 80 on July 8, 2012. He was a jazz and blues musician and singer. He began his music career at the age of 11 playing bass drum with the Square Deal Social & Pleasure Club. He was the bass drummer, vocalist and assistant leader of the Treme Brass Band; known for his kazoo playing and singing as well, and has recorded a cd as a vocalist. Besides inspiring younger musicians with his playing, he served as a role model to many of them: trumpeter Kermit Ruffins calls Batiste his "total influence," saying that Batiste "taught him how to act, how to dress, how to feel about life." He was king of the Krewe du Vieux for 2003. With his omnipresent sunglasses, a wristwatch worn across his hand, and his kazoo, he literally moved to the beat of his own drum. As a child he lived on St. Phillip Street and started performing with brass bands as a boy.
“The Gospel According to New Orleans” my collection of iconic New Orleans musicians commemorates their role in the evolution of the eccentric culture and music traditions of New Orleans. All depicted in this series are musical and cultural icons who make or live on through their significant contributions to the uniqueness of what composes the spirit of New Orleans. They exemplify the joie de vivre that runs through all aspects of life here in all of its diversity. All work is copyrighted and registered