He wears his big, black sunglasses at all waking hours no matter where he is and what he is doing (mostly playing the drums or singing as the vocalist of the Treme Brass Band). His golden watch hangs around his left hand (careful, not wrist, hand!). His dressy shirts always buttoned all the way up his skinny neck.
His name is Lionel Batiste, or Uncle Lionel as everyone calls him around the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans. And the name is not at all linked to his age, but mostly to his influence as a maestro for most of the youngest trumpeters and Jazz musicians he has helped foster.
His attitude on the dance floor as well as his sweet voice and solid instrument percussion have been an inspiration for most of the aspiring Jazz musician in the Louisiana scene, since he started playing when he was 15 years old.
So, last night when Uncle Lionel turned 78th we partied and danced with him and his black and gold suit he wore in occasion for the Saints’ victory at the Super Bowl at the Sweet Lorraine Jazz Bar on St. Claude Str until the early hours of the morning.