Damon J. Batiste is the President & Cultural Ambassador of the New Orleans South African Connection. Mr. Batiste has traveled to Africa over 74 times since his first trip to South Arica in 1998. The results were the beginning of 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.
In 1994, Mr. Batiste maintained his own production company, Thumbs Up. Productions where he served as CEO. He has gone on to be involved in smaller scale 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. Again in 1997, Batiste performed in the HBO Sinbad Soul Music In Aruba Festival, which included musicians George Clinton & P-Funk Allstars. Among Mr. Batiste’s biggest accomplishments is his involvement in the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival since 1990. 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. Recently 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.
Mr. Batiste currently serves on the Board of Directors of the New Orleans Multi Cultural Tourism Network and as Music Director for VoceroNews.com, the Leading Bilingual Newspaper in Louisiana & Mississippi. Batiste has been involved in the music business around the globe for over ( 20 ) years. Hailing from New Orleans, Louisiana, he stems from an upbringing rich in musical culture and heritage. He attended both Southern University of New Orleans and the University of Southwest Louisiana while continuing to grow musically. He has performed faithfully in his family’s legendary band the Batiste Bros. since its early inception. 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.