In an interview with NY Mag, Wendell confirmed that he was playing a human.
Pierce was born on December 8, 1963; in New Orleans, Lousiana. He grew up in the Pontchartrain Park section of New Orleans.
Attended Benjamin Franklin High School and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA).
He had portrayed the roles of Antoine Batiste on Treme and of Owen Thoreau, Jr., on Men of a Certain Age. He was offered both parts around the same time but eventually chose Treme because it was about 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.
When he got the role of trombone player Antoinette Batiste, 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.