New Orleans Bids Farewell to Uncle Lionel

6 08 2012

A bird’s eye view of Lionel Batiste’s jazz funeral procession on July 23, 2012.

July 2012 might as well be forever known as Uncle Lionel month. Every time I’d try to file a story to Downbeat on his memorial second line, another second line was scheduled. Shannon Powell hosted a memorial concert at his home, there was a bass drum tribute, Facebook was inundated with videos or touring New Orleans acts honoring Unc in song from afar. And the funerals — the formal one at Mahalia Jackson, the rain-soaked second line to the Candlelight afterwards, the jazz funeral on the following Monday — ensured that Lionel Batiste went out with the same joyful noise that he ushered in during his life.

Check out my Downbeat coverage of the seamingly endless stream of love that finally ended when 500 mourners waved goodbye to Lionel’s casket at Hunter’s Field on July 23. Rest in peace, Uncle Lionel.

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