"Uncle" Lionel Batiste's funeral procession from the The Charbonnet Labat Funeral Home, located in the Treme, the oldest African-American neighborhood in the country, wound its way a few miles through the neighborhood he grew up in and inhabited with a charismatic presence until the day he died, and ended at Hunter's Field at the corner of North Claiborne and St. Bernard.
People have gathered at the Charbonnet Funeral Home on St Philip Street in Tremé from every quarter in New Orleans and from states across the union, north, south, east, west, to pay respects to Uncle Lionel Batiste as he is taken on his "home going" journey
July 23, 2012 Uncle Lionel Batiste's Funeral Procession Leaves Charbonnet Funeral Home in the Tremé neighborhood. Beginning at the 34 second mark, see the top of his gleaming cypress casket, drawn by two white horses on a funeral carriage, as it is carried slowly into St. Philip Street. The brass band plays "Amazing Grace" in slow dirge tempo. The procession began at the funeral home on the corner of St. Philip Street and N. Claiborne.
Get a sense of the dense and varied crowd... and listen...people often sang the verses as they walked or as the procession passed. And listen to the way the thumpinng bass drums dominate the procession, a rumble of thunder to announce Uncle Lionel's roaring take off, Uncle Lionel finally flying home.
July 23, 2012 Uncle Lionel Batiste's second line procession passes the Candlelight Lounge at 925 North Robertson (yellow building barely visible on left at beginning of video), where Lionel was a fixture playing bass drum with the Treme Brass Band, the band he co-founded with Benny Jones, Sr. At end of video (the 2:10 mark), hear Council Chief Alfred Doucette (with tambourine) shout, "Wear 'em out, Uncle Lionel!"...and he damn well was.
July 23, 2012 On the way to Hunter's Field, sunny 96 degree temperatures add heat to the moment as the march turns from Basin Street to North Claiborne
Uncle Lionel would love the dancing'!
Thousands of spectators fill North Claiborne and are lined up on the I-10 overpass ramp at the intersection of N Claiborne and St Bernard...and everyone is singing along with "I'll Fly Away". My camera ran out of memory just before the pall bearers lifted the casket to give Uncle Lionel the ceremonial boost to help him "Fly Away". Between that gesture and the thousands singing now, Uncle Lionel is finally flying away... going home in style.