New Orleans bids farewell to Alvin Batiste

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THE ASSOCIATED PRESS — Musicians in white shirts and black pants led a hearse carrying the body of clarinetist Alvin Batiste through the streets of New Orleans on Saturday, and hundreds of mourners attached themselves to the jazz funeral honoring one of the city’s most revered musicians.

In the morning, crowds lined up to pay homage to the jazz pioneer, whose body was laid out in Gallier Hall, an elegant Greek Revival building in the heart of the financial district and former City Hall.

A jazz funeral complete with grand marshals twirling umbrellas and marchers then poured out into the street, where traffic backed up for blocks.

Batiste died May 6 shortly before he was due to perform on the last day of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival with Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis.

Batiste, born in New Orleans in 1932, was considered one of the founders of the modern jazz scene in New Orleans.

He toured with Ray Charles, Billy Cobham and Cannonball Adderley, among many others. He also recorded with Branford Marsalis.

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