Jul 10, 201207:00 AM
The Lighter Side
Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy
Remembering Uncle Lionel Batiste Through a Little Art
Everyone has seen the guy around. Like Kermit Ruffins, he just popped up everywhere or in anything having to do with New Orleans. I've often wondered how they have the energy to be in all these places at once. Do they have twins we don't know about? Like in The Prestige?
No, it's just because they are extraordinary, larger than life and an essential part of the fabric of New Orleans. The death of Uncle Lionel Batiste, bass drummer for the Treme Brass Band, was a great loss. But he lived such a full and long life that his memory will forever be stamped across the story of New Orleans, brass bands and music in general.
What I've found to be interesting is how much of an inspiration he has been to New Orleans artists. Like picturesque staples such as St. Louis Cathedral, Café du Monde and Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, Lionel Batiste pops up everywhere from canvases and posters to TV shows. His image is as familiar to folks down here as any NOLA landmark, and as you walk around the French Quarter gazing at all the artwork, you see his iconic cap with "Treme" in big bold letters, sunglasses and big bass drum.
Here are just a couple New Orleans works that Uncle Lionel Batiste was a part of:
The Jazz Fest 2010 Congo Square poster by New Orleans artist Terrance Osborne. His work is always so brilliantly colorful with a woozy perspective, depicting what it might be like to go on an acid trip around the city. I love it. All the visuals with none of the brain damage.
Uncle Lionel's bass drum is the focal point of the poster for Spike Lee's documentary If God is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise. I'm guessing that the designer had to photoshop the "Treme" off of his hat so as to not confuse the doc with HBO's original series Treme - in which Batiste also appeared.
The official poster for the Treme 2012 bicentennial celebration.
A portion of sales will go towards Batiste's funeral expenses.
And for a little something else here's a really cool post from "jazz hobo and wandering poet" Jason Crane about his day of celebrating Lionel Batiste's life on Sunday. There are also come cool photos from his second line on Frenchmen Street.