Tag Archives: Louisiana Music Factory

New Orleans Music

A Tribute to “Uncle Lionel Batiste”

Uncle Lionel playing the drum

Treme Brass Band

As everybody in New Orleans knows by now, “Uncle” Lionel Batiste, bass drummer for Treme’ Brass Band in New Orleans, 81, died on Sunday, July 8 after a brief bout with prostate cancer.  “Uncle” Lionel had become a poster boy for the resurgent New Orleans music scene in the last few years since Hurricane Katrina.  Long, lean, dapper, perpetually snappily dressed with a trademark gold cross and wristwatch worn over his knuckles, “Uncle” Lionel sauntered around the French Quarter and Frenchmen Street.  He was the face on the New York City Times Square banner for Spike Lee’s Hurricane Katrina documentary, “If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise.”  His image graced the 2010 Congo Square poster for New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell, and of course, for the historic Treme’ neighborhood bicentennial poster. It’s 200 years in 2012 since the country’s oldest historic African-American neighborhood was founded.

But more than becoming a visual icon of New Orleans, “Uncle” Lionel was a consummate musician and mentor to many younger musicians.  The Treme’ Brass Band’s weekly gig on Wednesdays at the Candlelight Lounge in Treme’ became a hipster and tourist destination after HBO’s “Treme’” TV show began running in 2009,  but there was nothing touristy about the music, or the joy that the music brought.  “Uncle” Lionel was a direct link to an earlier time in New Orleans, when traditional brass band music wasn’t even especially well-known outside of New Orleans.  It grew out of the neighborhoods, and it was handed down in the old-school way, by the “older” guys teaching the younger ones.  If you want to hear “Uncle” Lionel playing and singing, Treme’ Brass Band records are available at Louisiana Music Factory, 210 Decatur St. in New Orleans, and for download at www.locobop.com.   Sound of New Orleans, www.soundofneworleans.com,  recently re-released its 1980s recording of Treme’ Brass Band, “I Got a Big Fat Woman,” and it’s about as authentic as you can get.

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New Orleans Attractions

New Orleans Own – The Louisiana Music Factory

logo is a yellow drum with the words Louisiana Music Factory written inside against a red background

Best Place to Purchase Local Music


If you visit New Orleans, chances are you’ll go out and hear some awesome music.  Maybe you’ll hit Frenchmen Street and stop in at the Spotted Cat to hear Panorama Jazz Band on a Saturday evening; or maybe The Three Muses, where you can get some terrific food while hearing the latest neo-traditional jazz band.  Or if you’re Uptown, you might go to The Maple Leaf on Oak Street on a Tuesday night and catch the Rebirth Brass Band; or maybe you’re in the Bywater neighborhood and  you’ll make it Vaughan’s on Thursday night (again, food is involved  as long as Kermit Ruffins has his barbecue truck).

After hearing all that great music, you’ll probably think about taking some of it home with you. That’s when Louisiana Music Factory comes in.  It’s at 210 Decatur in the French Quarter, across the street from House of Blues.  It’s got the best collection of Louisiana recorded music you’ll find in town, and probably in the world.  Owned and operated by Barry Smith and Jerry Brock, it’s been around since 1992 and in its present location since 1996. Barry just happens to live across the street from Southern Comfort Bed and Breakfast

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