June 9, 2023

Community News

May 4, 2022




Take note of the Batistes who take music to a whole ‘nother level beyond

performance at home in New Orleans & Around the World.


NEW ORLEANS - The D'Batiste Fathers & Sons with select former members of the famed Batiste Brothers Band will Film on Congo Square Stage at 12.:20 p.m. at the 2022 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell Friday, May 6th, 2022. 

Headed by Louisiana Hall of Fame inductee David Batiste (David Batiste and The Gladiators) who was a pioneer of "New Orleans funk", will be joined by sons Damon, Russell, Ryan, and Jamal Batiste; and a new edition in grandson Christopher Prosper Batiste for a mid-day blast of down-home funk and Rhythm 'n Blues. With approximately 25 members performing professionally, NOLA’ Royal Family of Music”, the Batiste family is heralded as being "Louisiana's largest musical family."  Mpume and Nikki Williams, South African powerhouse performers, will be joining NOLA's Royal Family as they perform their phenomenal form of music.

The Batiste’s musical notes are heard around the world on and off the stage.  Damon Batiste the founder of NOSACONN, (New Orleans South Africa Connection) has served as a cultural ambassador with a focus on investing in the African Diaspora and BIPOC communities in the U.S. and Africa.  In celebration of his award-winning first cousin Jon Batiste, bandmaster for the Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert, His Majesty King Makhosoke 11 and her Royal Highness Queen Sekhothali Mabhena of the Amandebele Nation joined Damon Batiste with partners Virtual Nation Builders’ Candice Dawkshas; Brett Bowes, an Executive of Guqula (Zulu word for change) for “The Grammy Party in the Bush”at the Sensational Sunset Safari Lodge in a Game Reserve in South Africa.   The Grammy Party in the Bush was the perfect venue for the business partners to announce a $500 Million Dollar (USD) Music, Film, & Tourism Project.


“We have delivered West and South Africa as part of a continued mission after over 23 years since NOSACONN was established in 1998,” said Damon Batiste, Economic, Cultural & Tourism Ambassador, Founder of NOSACONN. “The work and commitment speak for itself.  Join us as we continue to lead a BIPOC example of equity, diversity, and inclusion. We can expand together.”  


Most recently Batiste's African travels, resulted in the film 'Le Ticket a Tout Prix' from the Ivory Coast being screened at the recent Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and also at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, where the NOSACONN African Heritage Series was launched with an NAACP hosted fundraiser for a student exchange program between Ivory Coast and Nicholls State.


The Ivory Coast cultural and tourism delegation of Mr. Dramane Coulibaly, the CEO of the lottery company of Cote d’Ivoire, LONACI; Alain Guikou, director and producer of the movie “The Ticket at Any Cost;” Alfred Zebi, partner in Sol Prodd Consulting; Fate Toure, actress, co-producer of “Le Ticket a Tout Prix” and top model and Necy N’Dri, actress and TV host for a cooking show, not only enjoyed the Saturday’s fundraiser but were also guests Tuesday evening at a special reception at Nicholls State’s Chef John Folse Culinary Institute with Nicholls State President Dr. Jay Clune and Louisiana State Lieutenant Governor Billy Nunguesser in attendance.  The culmination of the Ivory Coast cultural exchange began as Dr. Vivian Ray, with over 30 years as a chef and educator, a member of the staff at the culinary institute served as Cultural Ambassador for NOSACONN in Senegal and the Ivory Coast during March, Women’s History Month.  Her trip featured by LyfePulse New Orleans can be seen on YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb-oIDrb3Mw.



From the stages of  New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to the world stage, “NOLA’s Royal Family of Music” celebrates the joie de vivre while making music and making a difference.



Born one of seven boys to Estella and Jean Batiste from the community of Little Farm (River Ridge, La.), David Batiste, Sr. would one day have fifteen children of his own. Initially a bass drum player in Bunch Village Junior High School, David fell in love with the keys when his father bought the family a piano when he was 13 years old. In 1962 he formed (King) David Batiste and The Gladiators and recorded the tunes "Cut Out" and "6th Ward High Step" in 1964. A year later they would win Harlem's "Amateur Night at the Apollo" in New York. In 1970 David Batiste and The Gladiators had a hit record with "Funky Soul" which would help propelled them to building an international following. David also performed with the Meters as the keyboardist from 1977-1980 and performed on Saturday Night Live in 1977. It was during that time that the Batiste Band was formed, headed by David's younger brother Paul Batiste with Michael and Peter Batiste forming the nucleus of the band.

David Batiste "Louisiana Music Hall of Fame" and 2021 Cutting Edge Music Influencer of Year and Lifetime Achievement Award from Whitehouse for Arts Education & Community Outreach with Obama Administration would go on to work with such musical greats as Jackie Wilson, David Ruffin, ZZ Hill, Percy Sledge, Cyril Neville, Johnny Adams, Major Lance, Isaac Hayes, Cyril Johnson, Ollie Nightingale, James Carr, Ann Pebles, Ernie Kado, Chris Kenner, King Floyd and others.

In 1982 various members of the family, including Paul, Michael, Peter, David, Damon, and Russell recorded the "FREEZE" album under the name of The Batiste Brothers Band. The group would also go on to record "Spice" and the "New Orleans Music" CD and a number of other singles until 1989 under Paul's company Dynasty and Artang Records.

The Batiste family has appeared across the United States as well as in South Africa, Mexico, Europe and Japan.

Russell Batiste, Jr.

David Russell Batiste, Jr. started playing drums at the age of four and began playing in the family's band when he was only seven. After a two year stay with Charmaine Neville's band, Russell joined The Meters band (Funky Meters) in 1989 as a replacement for Zigaboo Modeliste.

Russell has performed with a wide range of musicians and bands including George Porter, Jr. and Brian Stoltz (Porter Batiste Stoltz); Joe Krown and guitarist Walter "Wolfman" Washington (Krown Washington Batiste trio); this unit released a live CD Live at the Maple Leaf in 2008. He has also performed with Papa Grows Funk, Vida Blue, Harry Connick Jr., Champion Jack Dupree, Robbie Robertson and Maceo Parker. In 1987 Batiste was in the New Orleans funk band Nuclear Rhythms featuring percussionist songwriter Rosie Rosato, psychedelic funk guitarist songwriter Dirk Billie and bassist songwriter Mark Adam Miller. As a solo artist, he leads his own band Russell Batiste Jr. and the Orkestra from 'Da Hood and has released two albums under the name.

Batiste credits many New Orleans funk drummers for inspiration, but most of all Stanley Ratcliff and Zigaboo Modeliste.

The Vida Blue album (Elektra 2002) with Phish's Page McConnell and The Allman Brothers' Oteil Burbridge, shows Batiste to be a master of texture and changing gears. "Anybody can solo," he says. "Anybody can sit behind the drums and go nuts. Anybody can play riffs on the bass, and anybody can play songs on the piano. But playing music is when two or more people get together from out of nowhere and turn it into something."

Damon Batiste

Damon J. Batiste is the President & Cultural Ambassador of the New Orleans South African Connection. Mr. Batiste has traveled to Africa over 82 times since his first trip to South Arica in 1998 to include a visit in December 2021 just as the  new COVID-19 variant emerged in South Africa. The beginning of his African visits resulted in a solid cultural music exchange between New Orleans & South Africa. This Connection has seen the likes of Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masakela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Jimmy Dludlu, Selealo Seloto, Prince Kupi, Musi Manzini & Miss South Africa and more return to the Birth Place of Jazz New Orleans, Louisiana.

Damon went to St. Stephens Elementary School and St. Augustine High School, then attended Southern University of New Orleans and the University of Southwest Louisiana. Damon has been a part of the Batiste Brothers Band since 1978. "When my father left the Meters and return to play with his brothers with the Batiste Brothers Band, Damon and his brother Russell also became part of the family band. "I think Russell was fifteen years old at the time, and I was thirteen" said Damon.

In 1994, Damon Batiste maintained his own production company; Thumbs Up Productions, where he served as CEO. He has been involved in events such as "McMania" a high school music extravaganza held at McMain High School, to large productions like the 1997 Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C., and Batiste's 1997 performance in the HBO Sinbad Soul Music In Aruba Festival, which included musicians George Clinton & P-Funk Allstars. Among Mr. Batiste's other accomplishments is his involvement in the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, he has assisted the festival in Public Relations, booking venues, organizing budgets, and generating contracts for artists. In addition, Batiste has served as Production Coordinator for the Essence Music Festival since 1996 & Sponsorship Director for the International Arts Festival over the past 2 years. Damon Batiste has, over the years, assisted in celebrating music cultures from all parts of the world.

In 1998, Batiste was bestowed with the honor of being named President & Cultural Ambassador to the New Orleans South Africa Connection (NOSACONN). In this capacity, Batiste produces festival activities related to cultural exchange to establish economic development related to trade, music, art, & tourism from both the USA & South Africa. In 2004, NOSACONN sponsored over 150 South African artists, highlighting South Africa, at the 2004 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Damon also prepared a mission statement for South Africa, at the end of Apartheid, which he believes resulted in South Africa hosting the 2010 World Cup. He's made numerous trips to South Africa, and was even able to attend Nelson Mandela's 80th birthday.

Damon Batiste's past community work includes having served on the Board of Directors of the New Orleans MultiCultural Tourism Network and as Music Director for VoceroNews.com, the Leading Bilingual Newspaper in Louisiana and Mississippi. Batiste has been involved in the music business around the globe for over (20) years. In 1989, Mr. Batiste began producing, organizing, and entertaining attendees at over fifty music festivals. He has brought the necessary flavors of hip-hop, jazz, gospel, reggae, neo-soul, and salsa to thankful audiences worldwide.

Damon also played an instrumental role in the development of music venues along Frenchmen Street. For a while, he was even co-owner with his friend, Mardi Gras Indian Chief Shaka Zulu, in Ray's Boom Boom Room on Frenchmen Street. Damon and Shaka Zulu also played in a band together at that time, called Damon Batiste and the New Orleans All Stars.

Damon performed with other prominent New Orleans bands as well. He recorded a live funk song with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, featuring the djembe drum.

But Damon has committed his adult life to preserving and growing New Orleans culture and music through a variety of programs and ventures. His accomplishments are both numerous and admirable. A NOSACONN delegation, including Damon, his father David, his brothers - Jamal, Russell and Ryan, along with musicians Donald Harrison, Jason Neville and Cyril Neville, as well as Chief Shaka Zulu performed at the Alunay All Blues Festival, just outside of Paris in 2012. However his crowning achievement was perhaps his role as co-founder of the Batiste Cultural Arts Academy at Live Oak Elementary School.

Today, Damon serves as Director to #B Kids with Metairie Sunrise Rotary Club and Leads Music Appreciation and Cultural Enrichment in State Largest School District of Jefferson Parish.  Mr. Batiste also created the  Jazz Cruises for the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen and has just completed the 1st South Africa Grammy Party at Zebula with Virtual Nation Builders. 

Jamal Batiste

Drummer Jamal Batiste is one of many musical seeds of New Orleans's own Batiste Family. The son of David Batiste, Sr. and Jackie Shedrick was born on June 18, 1982 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a producer and an exceptionally talented drummer, who has been playing drums since the age of three. Jamal earned his specialized B.A. degree in Jazz Studies from the University of New Orleans.

Jamal has performed in the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival since the age of five. He performed with the Batiste Brothers Band and had his own show in the Kid's tent, Congo Square stage, and the Acura Stage. He's toured in Africa, Europe, Asia, and USA with international bands such as Los Hombres Calientes, Jon Cleary, The Wild Magnolias, and a host of others.

Jamal's rhythmical tone is a Gumbo of Funk, R&B, Latin, Gospel, Second Line, Rock, Hip Hop, Classical, and Jazz that has inspired and mesmerized his fans and supporters of all ages. For his first project, Jamal recorded and executive produced his father's first rhythm & blues solo album, "New Orleans Is Coming Back" by David Batiste & the Gladiators. For his follow up projects he produced "The Unorthodox Drummer: The First Assemblage" and "T.U.D. Just Jamal" that's in stores and online (iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, etc.). He has shared the stage with international artists such as DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Doug E. Fresh, Drake, Jill Scott, Lalah Hathaway, Ledisi, Anthony Hamilton, Bonnie Raitt, Yolanda Adams, and many more. He recently made his debut appearance in the James Brown movie Get On Up, playing as James Brown's long-time drummer John "Jabo" Starks, and a debut performance at the NAMM Show in California with his band. He's currently performing and recording with rapper Dee-1, Bill Summers, Topsy Chapman & Solid Harmony, Trombone Shorty and his fire, explosive band, Jamal Batiste Band.

Jamal has Performed & Recorded with: Jon Batiste (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert), Aloe Blacc, Dee-1, Trombone Shorty, Jonathan "Sugarfoot" Moffett (Michael Jackson), Bill Dickens (Janet Jackson), D'Wayne Wiggins of Toni Tony Toné, Bill Summers (Herbie Hancock), Leo Nocentelli (The Meters), Art Neville (The Meters), George Porter (The Meters), Jon Cleary, and Christian Scott.

For two years, Jamal held the position of Assistant Band Director at The Batiste Cultural Arts Academy, and is serving as the Minister of Music at Hill of Zion Baptist Church in Metairie, LA. More recently, Jamal has brought his talent and expertise to a host of projects; including The Batiste Family endeavor Fathers and Sons of the New Millennium, and a sold-out show at the Aulnay All Blues Festival in France.

Media on both a local and national level has featured Jamal and his work. CNN, CBS Nightly News, USA Today, Ebony, WGNO's News with a Twist, The Times-Picayune/NOLA.com, Offbeat, and Gambit are just a few outlets where Jamal has recently appeared. Jamal played snare drum in Ne-Yo's video "Never Knew I Needed" from Disney's Princess and the Frog, and gave a talk at the 2014 Cutting Edge Music Conference about the audition process for his role in Get On Up.

Jamal has toured on an international scale, playing in Africa, Asia, North America, and Europe. He has shared the stage with luminaries such as Bonnie Raitt, Jill Scott, Public Enemy, Drake, Trombone Shorty, Dee-1, Irma Thomas, Burnell Worrell of George Clinton & P-Funk, among many others.

Ryan Batiste

At the age of 4 Ryan Batiste began playing the drum. His parents noticed his musical abilities even before then, and that for him music took precedence over playing outside with friends and sports. The 2002 Modern Drummer magazine dubbed Ryan as "future grove master" at the tender age of nine.

That love of music would take Ryan to the Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp and eventually a graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCAA). "As I continued to expand my knowledge of music and the music business I formed a hip-hop group called Raw Revolution in high school my senior year. I had a few friends that I hung out with often and some of them played instruments while others rapped....


There are several success stories in the Batiste family.

Recently, my cousin 
Jon Batiste was chosen to be the band director of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. When I received the news I was extremely excited and happy for him. It was amazing because that's my first cousin and I used to see him all the time, but NOW he's in New York with the top cats!

I don't get a chance to talk to him as much as I'd like to, which is a good and a bad thing. It's bad because of course that's my family and I don't have the opportunity to see him or bounce ideas. I'd love to talk to him and hear how he is embracing the music scene in New York, especially with his new job venture and all the rigor and fun associated with it. However, it's a good thing because he's busy working and doing incredible things as he lives his dream. Destiny is what happens when faith, preparation and opportunity meet...


As is the story of the Oak tree, it begins from an acorn and ends with strong roots and mighty branches offering benefits to others in various forms. Everything happens in time and good things are worth the wait. At this point in my life I am just playing the waiting game. I believe I will be successful; it's just a matter of when opportunity presents itself. Until then, I continue practicing, playing and pursuing" adds Ryan.

Ryan Batiste graduates this May from Dillard University New Orleans with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Industry and a minor in Marketing. Ryan also plays the piano.

Christopher Prosper Batiste

Christopher Prosper Batiste is the son of Russell Batiste.


The 2022 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell kicked off April 29 and runs through May 8, 2022.

NOLA’s Royal Family of Music salutes fellow musicians in this year’s festival including: The Who, Stevie Nicks, Lionel Richie, Jimmy Buffett, Luke Combs, The Black Crowes, Willie Nelson and Erykah Badu; The Avett Brothers, Norah Jones, Lauren Daigle, Ludacris, Billy Strings, Nelly, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Death Cab for Cutie, Ziggy Marley: Songs of Bob Marley, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, The Revivalists, Lukas Nelson & POTR, Randy Newman, Melissa Etheridge, Boz Scaggs and Irma Thomas and other great talent. The musical performances showcase various genres including:  blues; gospel; traditional and contemporary jazz; Cajun; zydeco; Mardi Gras Indians; brass bands; and social aid and pleasure clubs.


Started in 1970, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival continues to showcase the most important names in music history alongside many of Louisiana's favorite entertainers.  Tickets are available at www.nojazzfest.com

NOSACONN Media Contact:

Jackie Wright,

Wright Enterprises San Francisco ~ Dallas


415 525 0410




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