New Orleans is mourning the loss of the great jazz clarinetist, composer an educator Alvin Batiste. He was due to perform at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival with singer and pianist Harry Connick Jr. on the very day of his death.
Batiste taught at his own Jazz Institute, part of Southern University in Baton Rouge. Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, saxophonists Branford Marsalis and Donald Harrison, bassist Chris Severin, Randy Jackson from American Idol and Charlie Singleton of the group Cameo to name only a few studied under Batiste. He also recorded with Cannon Ball Adderley.
Batiste came to love the city's music at a very young age.
"I remember following a parade when I was 3 years old," he told a Baton Rouge reporter last year. "It was Easter Sunday. I had on a little white suit and, all over New Orleans, the people fed me. When I got home, after they expressed the happiness for me being there, then they almost killed me."
Batiste is survived by his wife of 53 years, Edith Chatters Batiste of New Orleans and Baton Rouge; three children, Alvin Batiste Jr. of Plaquemine, La., Marcia Wilson and pianist Maynard Batiste, both of Baton Rouge; a sister; and 12 grandchildren.