William Geary "Bunk" Johnson was born into a large New Orleans family with African American and Native American roots. He didn't waste any time grabbing the opportunity to learn music. He learned to read music and play several instruments which included trumpet, cornet, drums, clarinet, saxophone, French horn, and the slide trombone.
In his mid-teens, Bunk began his professional music career playing in Adam Olivier's New Orleans area band. He joined the legendary Buddy Bolden band and played cornet. In the 1920s and 1930s, Bunk played music in Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas with New Iberia, Louisiana as his "base" and primary residence until his passing in 1949. William Geary "Bunk" Johnson is buried in the St. Edward Catholic Church Cemetery.
In his honor, The Bunk Johnson Jazz, Art, & Heritage Festival, Incorporated celebrates the music, visual and performing arts, and heritage of jazz, as well as other music genres, through activities, events, and performances. Through these activities, the Festival hopes to enrich the lives of the citizens and visitors to the state of Louisiana.