Lionel Ferbos Day

July 17, 1911 – July 19, 2014

Sister Kate

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Trumpeter Lionel Ferbos was born on July 17, 1911, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Ferbos began a rigorous musical education at 15, his childhood trumpet teacher did not allow Ferbos to play until he’d mastered music reading and theory.

During his career, Ferbos worked with some of the most prestigious jazz bands of New Orleans. He continued to perform until his passing at the age of 103.

Believing that if a girl could play a wind instrument so could he young, Lionel acquired a used cornet at a local pawnshop on Rampart Street and set about taking lessons.

His professional career started in society jazz bands at the onset of the 1930s before joining Captain Handy’s “Louisiana Shakers” in 1932, and later with the Fats Pichon Band accompanying blues singer Mamie Smith.

Although he was not a hot player, as he put it, his ability to read music would ensure that he never had trouble finding work.

Like so many, he didn’t earn a whole lot from his music but did have a lot of fun and kept his day job as a tin smithy until retirement.

Lionel who was often called upon to recount his experiences in historic New Orleans, received the Big Easy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

On the morning of Saturday, July 19, 2014, Linoel Ferbos, New Orleans’ oldest living musician, died at his home at the age of 103.

The late Lionel Ferbos and the “Louisiana Shakers” perform at the Fleur de Lindy in New Orleans, Louisiana in April 2010.


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