July 10, 2012 5:41 AM
Photos by Paula Burch-Celentano
Many in the Tulane community will remember drummer Lionel Batiste, who died on Sunday (July 8). He was a frequent member of Dr. Michael White’s Original Liberty Jazz Band, which has played at Tulane functions for more than a decade.
“Lionel was a real New Orleans character,” says Michael White, who had known Batiste since the 1980s. “He had a charismatic personality and a spirit that sort of defined what the city was all about. No matter where he was performing — whether it was a hotel convention or the Tulane convocation or performing in Europe — he would always carry the same spirit of the streets and the community wherever he went. He stayed real.”
Batiste, shown above playing at a Tulane convocation ceremony, performed with White alternately as bass drummer or grand marshal. Best known as the longtime drummer of the Treme Brass Band, he was 81.
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