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Lionel Batiste, Treme Brass Band Bass Drummer, Dies at 81

Known as “Uncle Lionel” in New Orleans

Lionel Batiste, vocalist and bass drummer of Treme Brass Band, died on July 8 near New Orleans. He was 81 and the cause was cancer; he had been ill for several weeks.

Known as “Uncle Lionel,” Batiste was regularly featured on the HBO series Treme. He had been with the Treme Brass Band since its formation in 1995 but had played the bass drum since age 11, initially with the Square Deal Social & Pleasure Club. According to one obituary, he used his drum to stay afloat in the floods after Hurricane Katrina.

Batiste also sang and played kazoo.

Originally Published