Grew up in the Pontchartrain Park section of New Orleans.
Attended Benjamin Franklin High School and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA).
Both the part of Antoine Batiste on "Treme" and the part of Owen Thoreau, Jr., on "Men of a Certain Age" were created with him in mind. He was offered both parts around the same time but had to choose "Treme" since it was about New Orleans, his hometown.
According to the Marketplace radio program, in December, 2011, he opened Sterling Express, the first in a chain of grocery stores selling fresh produce and other staples in his hometown of New Orleans.
Wendell Pierce plays trombone player Antoine Batiste on the TV series Treme, but he is not really a trombonist. When he got the role he started taking lessons so that his handling of the instrument would look credible on-screen. An off-screen professional trombone player provides the actual music for Batiste's scenes of playing the instrument. Pierce told NPR that prior to accepting the role on Treme, his horn playing had previously been limited to about two weeks of trumpet lessons in the sixth grade.
The Wire really is an American classic, and I think that's something to be very proud of. If you see me on the street, feel free for the rest of my life to call me Bunk.
The great thing about shooting [The Wire] in Baltimore was we were each other's best company. We worked hard, long hours, but we partied hard, too, man. One bar made the mistake of having celebrity-bartender night. It happened one time, and one time only! That's all I need to say!
There was a little disappointment last year because people here in New Orleans wanted the New Orleans version of The Wire. But what's so different about Treme is that it's trying really hard to capture culture, and show the impact culture has on people's lives. Culture is the intersection of people and life itself. It's how we deal with life, love, death, birth, disappointment... all of that is expressed in culture. And we've lost that understanding in America. We don't understand the role of culture. The role of culture is that it's the form through which we as a society reflect on who we are, where we've been, where we hope to be. It's like the way thoughts are to the individual, but on a bigger scale. We only see the residual of it, the entertainment. "All right, perform, and entertain me." Entertainment is just a residual of culture. It is not the sole purpose of it. The sole purpose is that we kind of reflect on what the hell we're doing here, and how this thing of ours is going.
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