When I die, bury me / In my high top Stetson hat / Put a twenty-dollar gold piece on my watch chain / God'll know I died standin' pat.
July 9, 2012 9:51 PM   Subscribe

It is a sad day in New Orleans. At the age of 80, Uncle Lionel has passed on. Uncle Lionel was the long-time bass drummer and sometime singer for New Orleans favorites the Treme Brass Band. (Watch the Treme Brass band playing one of their standards, "It Ain't My Fault".) Known to many as The Best-Dressed Man in New Orleans, he was a legendary and universally-loved fixture of the New Orleans music scene. Here is a video of him partying down at Sydney's Saloon on St. Bernard Ave, age 78. Here he plays drum and sings Let Me Call You Sweetheart at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe, earlier this year. And finally, here he is with Monty Banks singing Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans? at the Spotted Cat in 2009. Funeral arrangements have not been announced, but rest assured there will be one hell of second line the day they lay Uncle Lionel down.
posted by Scientist (29 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I feel like Scrooge; I’ve just realized I’ve been living poorly, but there may still still time to change.
posted by bongo_x at 10:13 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by fingers_of_fire at 10:18 PM on July 9, 2012

I was unaware of this individual, but based on this post, I can only offer a heartleft

posted by hippybear at 10:22 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by redheadedstepchild at 10:45 PM on July 9, 2012

posted by brundlefly at 10:46 PM on July 9, 2012

The musicians say they're going to second line every night until the funeral--which will be a sight to see. Legends about the man--he couldn't swim and floated out of his flooded neighborhood sitting atop his bass drum. He was quite a dandy, wore a frock coat and carried an elegant walking stick, was something of a roue and had roving hands. When his drum was stolen a few years ago, there was such an outcry that the thieves returned it.

New Orleans has lost a treasure.

posted by Anitanola at 10:53 PM on July 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

posted by St. Sorryass at 11:05 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

In the NYT. Here's the story about the theft of his drum.
posted by Anitanola at 11:27 PM on July 9, 2012

posted by sonic meat machine at 3:39 AM on July 10, 2012

posted by scruss at 4:23 AM on July 10, 2012

posted by runningdogofcapitalism at 6:23 AM on July 10, 2012

That guy was fucking COOL.

RIP Uncle Lionel.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:19 AM on July 10, 2012

This clip is short, but sweet.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:23 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by vibrotronica at 7:56 AM on July 10, 2012

Everyone who ever met him knows this already, but he always wore his wristwatch around his palm, and when you'd ask him why he'd say "Cause I got time on my hands."

posted by CheeseLouise at 8:09 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by justgary at 8:25 AM on July 10, 2012

Uncle Lionel epitomized "cool" to me. He was loved by all, hated by none, never did an unkind thing, and didn't give a damn what anybody else thought of him. RIP.
posted by Scientist at 8:56 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by Ziggurat at 9:28 AM on July 10, 2012

posted by ob1quixote at 10:58 AM on July 10, 2012

This is why I want to be a dandy. Thank the Lord they'll give him his due in celebration and mourning. The world needs more men like this.
posted by kalessin at 11:33 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by asperity at 11:39 AM on July 10, 2012

posted by gusandrews at 1:22 PM on July 10, 2012

Details and schedule of second lines and benefits leading up to the funeral, posted by Red Cotton. Plus the official donation site posted by the family.
posted by Anitanola at 5:07 PM on July 10, 2012

posted by umbú at 9:09 PM on July 10, 2012

Funeral is July 20. Details from Red Cotton.
posted by Anitanola at 7:27 PM on July 13, 2012

NYT: "New Orleans Celebrates the Life of a Bandleader":

"NEW ORLEANS — The drums could be heard first and then the brass, 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."

posted by MonkeyToes at 6:49 AM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

The funeral will be tomorrow, the 20th, but the viewing and wake was a sight to see. Uncle Lionel's last stand.
posted by Anitanola at 9:11 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the update, I think:

"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.

"...“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.”"
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:21 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

I guess this is why we are called Big Easy. The burial was postponed. It rained torrents on the day of the funeral and, while the well attended event was conducted at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre and the musicians played throughout the city in the rain, the body was returned to the funeral home. Now it is sunny and today at 11, the second line and burial is scheduled to take place.
posted by Anitanola at 10:25 AM on July 23, 2012

« Older The Ones We've Lost: The Student Loan Debt...   |   Guitar Hero with swords Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments