Santiago was a much caught after rhythm banjoist in New Orleans playing with the best bands in Storyville, the Maple Leaf Orchestra, Louis Armstrong at Anderson’s, Arnold Metoyer, and Paul Barbarin. He also recorded with Kid Rena on his Delta recordings. He is the uncle of pianists Lester and Burnell Santiago. (See Al Rose and Edmond Souchon, New Orleans Jazz: A Family Album, p. 112)

Willie Santiago (banjo) with Albert Nicholas' Band at Anderson's Annex (circa 1923). Courtesy Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University.

Willie Santiago (banjo) with Albert Nicholas’ Band at Anderson’s Annex (circa 1923). Courtesy Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University.