Former band students and family invite the public to a special tribute program honoring Rev. Leo Joseph Walker Sr. on Sunday, Dec. 22 at 4 pm at First Baptist Church, located at 1116 Amulet Street in the H.B. Barnum Fellowship Hall. Former students are invited to present a musical tribute in a group ensemble on their instrument. Contact: Michael Kennedy at 713) 503-7828 or Gwen Antee Hardison-Davis at (318) 290-7973 for more information.
Leo is the son of the late Carrie Lee Jean Baptiste Walker Bell and Berner Leon Walker. Leo’s mother was the oldest daughter of Ezekiel Jean Baptiste Sr. and Mayana Bobb Jean Baptiste of Natchitoches and the great grandson of Flaviant Jean Baptiste Sr.
Leo graduated from Central High School in Natchitoches (1962) as Valedictorian of his class. He then attended Grambling College (now Grambling State University) and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Instrumental Music Education in 1966. He continued his education at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana State University, and Northeast Louisiana University (now University of Louisiana at Monroe) as he taught music ad band in the Natchitoches Parish School System for 37 years. Leo was an active member of Louisiana Educator’s Association (LEA) and served as treasurer of the Natchitoches chapter. He has been an active member of Prince Hall Masons for over 50 years. He became an active member of his community by serving on various committees and in community groups focused on community improvement. Never being one to let grass grow under his feet, he used skills he learned from his grandfather to be a painter and carpenter as a hobby. After surviving a major car accident in 1976, Leo’s faith in God became the major driving force in his life; and in 1994 he became the Pastor of the historical St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, (Bermuda Community, Natchez, LA).
Leo has been married to Barbara Jo’ Mitchell walker since December 1965. They have six children: Leo Joseph Walker, Jr. (Janee), Letitia Jo’ Walker-Johnson (Martin, Sr.), LaLeta Jo’ Walker-Anderson (Derick), LaMer Joseph Walker, Lakesh Jo’ Wallker, and LaShunda Jo’ Walker.
Leo and Barbara are the proud grandparents of Alexis Walker, Sydney Walker, Whitney Walker, Martin Luther Johnson, Jr., Kiara Alexandra Walker, Malari Alexis Walker-Williams (Derrick), Madison Mackenzie Johnson, Joseph Arthur Johnson, Derrick Jamont Anderson, II, Domenick Jamont Anderson, and Walker Thomas Stone. They are the proud great-grandparents of Jazelle Alyse Douglas, Gianna Rose Williams, and Phoenix Reign Williams.
Former student and program initiator and coordinator, Michael Kennedy said, “I’ve always wanted to do something special for Rev. Walker. He did so much for so many of us (school children). He helped us to get scholarships in band at Grambling”. Mike with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science with a Minor in Math, still plays his trumpet, as an adult, today for various activities in a multi-state area in a band in which he organized, called Klock Work. Several members of the Houston based band are originally from Natchitoches and were under Walker’s leadership in parish schools.
Schools Walker serviced included Allen High, Robeline, Natchez, North Natchitoches (now L.P. Vaughn), Parks, Northwestern State University Junior High (NSU), NSU Middle Lab, Natchitoches Central High, Marthaville, and Provencal.