A 'standing wake' held to celebrate Lionel Batiste in New Orleans

The late Treme brass band drummer Lionel Batiste‘s family and friends decided to celebrate him in death, the way that he was in life. Dressed in watches rings, a cream suit, cane, wearing sunglasses and leaning on a light post. Nola.com reports that the Batiste’s body in an upright position as family and friends danced and played music all around.

Blues guitarist Little Freddie King and his drummer/manager, “Wack-O” Wade Wright, stood outside the Charbonnet-Labat-Glapion Funeral Home in Treme on Thursday afternoon, pondering the scene inside for “Uncle” Lionel Batiste’s wake. “They’ve got him fixed up beautiful,” King said of the deceased Treme Brass Band drummer and renowned New Orleans character.

Wade agreed. “They’ve even got his watch on the mannequin’s hand,” he said, referring to the life-like figure standing in the funeral home’s chapel.

That wasn’t a mannequin, King replied. “That’s him.”

In a send-off as unique as the man himself, Mr. Batiste wasn’t lying in his cypress casket. Instead, his body was propped against a faux street lamp, standing, decked out in his signature man-about-town finery.

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