'Uncle' Lionel Batiste Dies at 81

lionel batiste

New Orleans jazz great, Lionel Batiste, died Sunday morning after battling cancer for just a few months. The longtime bass drummer for Treme Brass Band was an icon for many local musicians.

After several months in the hospital this spring, Batiste was released June 26, still ill, and attended the Treme Brass Band's gig that night. “He was in a wheelchair, very frail, half the size he was before,” said Tom Thayer, the club's owner. “But he seemed to have a great time. He hung out most of the night. He smiled and posed for pictures, and after the first set, he signed every single CD everyone bought. There was a good energy there.”

A portion of sales of the "Treme 2012" poster, which is a photograph of Batiste, will be donated by the group to help with Batiste's medical and funeral costs.

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