Born in 1973 into the musical Brunious and Santiago families, Mark Braud always wanted to be an entertainer. At age twelve, his uncle Wendell Brunious gave Braud a cornet, and soon after that he began playing jazz with Nicholas Payton. He recalls, “I had always listened to my uncles and my grandfather [composer/trumpeter John ‘Picket’ Brunious Sr.]. . . . But when I started meeting younger guys who were into music, it was an inspiration for me to play jazz and get more into listening to records.” Braud started his career with the Olympia Kids, an offshoot of the Olympia Brass Band for younger musicians, and soon began gigging, recording, and touring with New Orleans legends, including the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, Eddie Bo, Henry Butler, Harry Connick Jr., and Dr. Michael White.
Braud began playing at the Hall when he was thirty-four, and he says a lot of people comment on how young he is. “But at some point,” says Braud, “all the other guys were young, too.” Still, the talk around the Hall is that Braud has filled his uncle John’s spot with the grace of a much older gentleman. He even tells “old man jokes.” Hall director Ben Jaffe notes, “His uncles, Wendell Brunious and the late John Brunious, were both leaders of the Preservation Hall Band. . . . Mark recorded a wonderful tribute to his grandfather, ‘Hot Sausage Rag,’ a compilation of his grandfather’s compositions.”