NEW ORLEANS - Lionel Batiste (buh-TEEST), the vocalist, bass drummer and assistant band leader of the Treme (truh-MAY) Brass Band - and the face of the Treme neighborhood's bicentennial - has died. He was 81.
Band leader Benny Jones Sr. says Batiste was ill about a month before his death on Sunday. He says funeral arrangements are incomplete.
Jones says Batiste had been with his band since it was formed in 1995, but had played bass drum since childhood.
In this 2006 file photo, Uncle Lionel Batiste, foreground with umbrella, dances during the Krew of Cork parade through New Orleans' French Quarter. Batiste, the vocalist, bass drummer and assistant band leader of the Treme Brass Band, has died. He was 81. Band leader Benny Jones Sr. says Batiste died Sunday.
Clarinetist Michael White says Batiste, known as "Uncle Lionel," used his drum to stay afloat in the floods after Hurricane Katrina.
The "Treme 2012" poster is a photograph of Batiste. Toni Rice of the Multicultural Tourism Network says the group is donating part of poster sales to help with Batiste's medical and funeral costs.