Walter “Fats” Pichon was born and raised in New Orleans, and began playing piano in his childhood. He also played baritone horn in brass bands in his youth, already a professional musician by 1920.
He first went north about 1922, playing at various venues in New York City and New Jersey before settling in Boston for a few years where he studied at the New England Conservatory of Music. After touring the United States and Mexico with various bands in the mid 1920’s, he settled again his home town of New Orleans for the later part of the decade, playing with trumpeter Sidney Desvigne, and leading bands under his own name at dance halls and on river boats on the Mississippi River. On visits back to New York he made some recordings, mostly as a vocalist on novelty numbers, with Luis Russell and other New Orleans groups.