Friday, August 10, 2012

When It Comes My Time - This Is How I Want To Go

Stolen from Keith Spera, The Times-Picayune


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.





On Thursday, the scene outside the funeral home grew increasing festive, despite threatening clouds. A brass band aggregation struck up on the corner of St. Philip and North Claiborne under the elevated Interstate 10. A crowd coalesced and spilled into North Claiborne, briefly blocking traffic.

Scores of friends, fellow musicians, neighborhood associates and curious onlookers milled around. Beer and barbecue were available for purchase. A man advertised an autographed copy of the 2010 Jazz Fest Congo Square poster depicting Mr. Batiste for $500. Another offered copies of The Boulevard, a free Central City publication, depicting Mr. Batiste on its cover for $3.

At 5 p.m., as the viewing wound down, a brass band led by trombonist Corey Henry paraded into the funeral home’s chapel. As the musicians raised their horns in an uptempo gospel medley, family members and fellow mourners commenced dancing.

I don't know about you, but if I can make that many people happy by dying, hold supper mama I'm on the way.

BTW.  Don't know if any of you have caught the HBO program Treme, but if you haven't you're missing a good one.  The music alone is worth the effort and Uncle Lionel was often included as an extra. 

26 comments:

  1. What a hoot! If I wasn't against embalming, I'd have to give serious consideration to my family and friends sticking me in a chair with a tiara on my head, a drink in one hand, and a joint in the other. Party on!

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  2. Replies
    1. A little ghoulish but what the hell, you only die once.

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  3. oh, how totally cool is that? I used to think about recording a message, so I could lead some fun singing at my wake, but I never considered being propped up against the wall. Nah. Not my style. I'd have to be sitting on the sofa with a book or newspaper in my hands. Or at the computer.

    By the way, it's all your fault. We're gonna visit our son's family in Orlando, and just because of the post you did last year about a car show, we're arranging our visit just so we can attend it. (Can't remember the name right now ... Mirror Lake maybe?) And tomorrow, we're going to a Model A swap meet/ car show. Should be a blast. An amazing private car collection will be open to us, too. THIS year, I'm taking my camera. Last year, the Tucker was out getting some transmission work done, but it should be back on display this time around. The cars in this collection are amazing.

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    1. Lake Mirror Classic fom October 19 - 21! Great car show.

      Sorry for jumping in, but this car show here in Lakeland is totally worth a side trip. If you see me there, wave!

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    2. Susan & Peeper. If you come for the Lakeland show we'll all have to get together for a cool one.

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    3. Thanks, Pixel. That's the one! We'll definitely be there, (or as definite as anything is at our age) but I don't know our exact itinerary just yet.

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  4. Or as Bill Cosby would say, "Doesn't he look like himself."

    I don't get HBO. That channel has so many excellent programs I've heard about, I'm afraid if I subscribed to it I'd never get off the couch.

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    1. HBO is one of those things designed to torment you. Each month you wonder if it's worth money and each month you decide that there is something on worth the cost.

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  5. i wonder if they can put me in my recliner with a remote in my hand in front of my tv , watching the Cowboys winning a game,and a book in my lap and me giving the finger..yup..that's it.

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    1. That's a great idea Granny. Could be a whole new thing. Create a coffin room. When everyone's through boo hooing, put a lid on it and lower it in the ground with a fork lift.

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  6. Replies
    1. In New Orleans most people are buried above ground, so who knows!

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  7. Certainly very different. If people were to say anything at my funeral, I'd want it to be, "Oh, look, she's moving!"

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. You could always have some sort of motor device in your arm. You could wave like the queen.

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  8. I don't get HBO because for every good show, there is a lot of crap and stupid reruns. But I do get the shows I like either on Amazon or I just buy the discs. I stopped buying True Blood after season 2 because I thought the show (minus Eric, Pam and Andy) had gotten so stupid. Now I'm reading through the entire Game of Thrones book series because I not only plan to buy that show, but use it in my classroom, tits and all.

    I want people to have a good yoga class and community reiki/acupunture/massage clinic at my funeral. Everyone can trade their skills--reiki for reflexology, bodywork for tarot card readings--share and learn. People should get something out of the experience. Good post, Mr. C.

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    1. Caveat... a lot more than tits in GOT. Now that sounds like a pretty cool wake. Certainly peaceful.

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  9. What the hell is HBO? Never heard of it,must be a 1% er's inside joke. Now you've made me re-think my cadaver donation to the local university. Pure Detroit baby! Bent over getting screwed with a sign around my neck saying "Fuck me!I'm from Detroit!" and the one that says "Kiss my ass" of course shredded and underfoot.

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    1. I'm sure the university is happy to find you're rethinking your donation as well. After all, how much trash, er, make that cadavers, could one institution use? As to your wake(LOL), with all due respect, I believe I'll read about it in the papers as I'm not sure it's something I really want to see.

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    2. Wayne State University supplies cadaver donations to anywhere within a thousand miles, it's in the donation contract.

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  10. Willie the Wimp and his Cadillac coffin.

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    1. I don't remember that one but it brings visions.

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  11. WM, Make sure you invite Mitt Romney to your wake as you know how much he values Detroit. Then when he goes to pay his respects, come back to life as a flesh eating zombie.

    But you probably would pass on Mitt as he isn't good eating.

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    1. Susan neither is rutabaga but in your proposed scenario I would choke him and Ryan down and ask for a complete 2007-2012 do over. Not that i now would have preferred McCain/Palin but if I am potent enough to choke Romney down I would install a bigger pair of balls on Obama when it came to dealing with the circus congress.

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