Photo: A closer walk

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.

Uncle Lionel

“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.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000