Tag Archives: Louis Armstrong

A ShoutOut to Sister Thecla in the Spirit World From Airlift Productions

Sister Thecla celebrating her 75th year as a nun in the Order of the Holy Family ~ along with Micheal Ziants in 2009

Today, January 10th, 2018, would have been Sister Thecla’s 104th birthday.

Born Agnes Bonner in 1914 in Scott, LA, Sister Thecla was a nun in New Orleans’ Order of the Holy Family for 75 years!

I first met the good sister through mutual friend John Lee in the aftermath of a rather painful divorce.  We took to each other immediately.  She wore her air of peaceful equanimity and compassionate non-judgment like a crown.

Calling the house every night for 7 straight years, she consoled and comforted, listened and directed, laughed and cried … and prayed with me.

Would that we all could make the ‘other side’ so clearly visible from this one.

Sister Thecla in 1934, as she took her vows to be a nun. I always used to tease her that we would get Halle Berry to play her in the made-for-TV movie! 🙂

Never one to proselytize, catechize or evangelize – ‘Sister Tee’ showed by her example, the way she lived her life every minute of everyday … the way to a Kingly life.

After all, True religion is not something to be ‘put on’ for an hour or two a week in a building, but rightly used is knit into the day-to-day fabric of our very lives.  Wow!  Did Thecla ever get that.

Through her 75 year run as a nun she led the posse at the Order, in the French Quarter originally, and then on Chef Menteur, through quite a litany list of soap operas … as they tended to the temporal, as well as the spiritual, needs of everyone!

That’s everyone.  From hookers, homeless and drug addicts … to abandoned children and severely abused women.  The Sisters of the Order of the Holy Family even took in Louis Armstrong at one point in his life.

In 2004, on her 90th birthday, Sister Thecla visited the Airlift Productions Studios to record her life story


*** Thecla Therapy  ~  “What a Wonderful World” from Airlift ***

Sister Thecla’s unyielding faith, relentless compassion, and inner strength are captured in her voice.  Listen to just a bit of this remarkable spirit – the patron saint of Airlift Productions –  in this recording made on her 90th birthday in 2004.

Sister Thecla hanging with the sinners – the Ziants boyz Ben & Micheal – on Thanksgiving 2004

Though she dropped her body in 2009, I won’t say ‘rest in peace’ at this point.  Because she’s still at it today … planning her work, and working her plan.  That’s what that Roman Catholic concept of ‘communion of the saints’ is really all about.

Let me just say God Speed, ‘Sister Tee’!  And thanks ever so for helping me to be a little more than just human … and for helping Airlift Productions in NOLA to be  a little something more than just a recording studio.

Airlift’s Micheal Ziants and BFF Sister Thecla hanging around the Order of the Holy Family commissary on Father’s Day 2008



“Mike, thank you for 25 years of successfully teaching Algebra to children of color and students who were living in poverty. They aren’t living in poverty anymore thanks to you and the mathematical skills you gave them. They are doctors, engineers and scientists today.” ~ the late JOHN R. LEE, founder & creator of the I CAN Learn Mathematics Educational Software



Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy & Digital Magic from New Orleans… since 1984

NOLA Set To Funk-Up Late Night TV This Fall

Jon Batiste takes the call from Stephen Colbert, Late Night House Band Leader
Jon Batiste takes the call from Stephen Colbert to become CBS-Late Night House Band Leader

Well ahead of his late night CBS-TV debut this fall, Stephen Colbert made the big announcement just last night.  His pick to lead his house  band will be New Orleans (actually Kenner, bruh) native and the insanely talented — JON BATISTE.

Hailing from a long line of incredible N’awlins musical talent that stretches from today’s Harry Connick, Jr., Dr. John & Trombone Shorty back to “Satchmo” Louis Armstrong himself, Jonathan may not be an American household name – yet.

But trust me, this star is rising.  Into the stratosphere!

** Batiste & his “Stay Human” Band take us all down to the St. James Infirmary **

Concerned that way too many folks today are totally lost in their own little “plug-in, tune-out digital worlds”, Jon has named his band “Stay Human”.  As he touts live music’s unique ability to unite and uplift humanity.

Now, how cool is that?

And just as personable and warm as he can be, Batiste is magically magnetic in front of the camera, too.  Perhaps you’ve already caught him on HBO’s “Treme”, or in Spike Lee’s  “Red Hook Summer”.

Yes, late night television  is getting a shot of funked-up electrifying New Orleans jams that will make getting to bed just a little more difficult this fall.

And somehow you have to know that somewhere, some place, relaxing in front of the flat screen in a dimly lit den will be Dave & Paul, tapping their feet, smiling in approval.

Oh, and more than one or two ultra-proud New Orleanians, too!

Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from NOLA since 1984.