Rains don't dampen fun even as Lionel Batiste second line is canceled



Posted on July 20, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 20 at 6:51 PM

Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

After many other second lines celebrating the life of musician and singer 'Uncle' Lionel Batiste, today was supposed to be the final one following his funeral service.  

But while the downpour changed the plans, it did not dampen the spirits of the hundreds who showed up.    

It looked like a river in the theater parking lot. The rain flowed down the streets, and so did the libations, and the memories.  

"From the little children on up to we seniors, he took care of us. He gave us great joy," said Tee-Eva Perry, a friend and soft shoe dancer partner of Batiste's.  

"Look at the people around here, in here. White, Black, Hispanic, everything. We enjoy ourselves no matter what and like I say it's called life," said George Quinn, the Wild Man of the Golden Blades Mardi Gras Indians Uptown.   

People spilled out of a near full Mahalia Jackson Theater for the performing arts, remembering what 'Uncle' Lionel Batiste taught them.  

"He taught me so much about charisma and about what you call protocol and about the business and how to carry yourself as a gentleman and a musician," said Shannon Powell, a drummer with the Treme' Brass Band.  

"He was one of the best base drummers we ever heard and we ever saw," said Musician James Andrews. He says Batiste inspired his music career. "Absolutely, and he inspired me so much I wrote the song 'Gimme My Money Back' for the Treme' Brass Band."  

So how do you celebrate the life of the ultimate celebrator of life? You don't let rain on your parade.  

Hundreds gathered outside of the theater and danced and played music. They were dressed in bright clothes with clear rain ponchos over them.  

If there was ever a time that you really did need a real umbrella at a second line, it was today. But rain didn't stop people from having fun.

  In Treme', you just put a protective, clear, rain shield over your umbrella.

But the cemetery was flooded so there was no burial today. One family member said, 'He just ain't ready to go!'  

"Uncle Lionel really broke a record. He been having music for the last week and a half, two weeks. I ain't seen nobody top that off yet," said Benny Jones Sr. a member of the Treme' Brass Band who is also his nephew-in-law.  

The complete second line is now planned for Monday at 11 a.m.

It'll go from the Charbonnet-Labat-Glapion Funeral Home on Saint Philip Street to the Mount Olivet cemetery in Gentilly.