OffBeat is the definitive guide to New Orleans and Louisiana’s music, arts, culture and cuisine. OffBeat Magazine is printed monthly and features news, reviews, interviews and profiles from streets of the Crescent City and throughout the Bayou State. Since its inception in 1998, OffBeat has been distributed for free across the metro-New Orleans area and available nationally and internationally via subscription. OffBeat’s media family also includes the Weekly Beat e-Newsletter, the OffBeat New Orleans Mobile app, the Louisiana Music Directory online database and OffBeat.com.
Jan Ramsey started OffBeat and its associated entities more than two decades ago as an effort to improve and expand local music culture and business. Known for her scathing “Mojo Mouth” essays, Jan has been a music activist since the early 1980s, loves local culture and lives down the street from the H&R Bar — which was blown away by Katrina — just to prove it. She is a native New Orleanian and a (former) good Catholic girl. Email Jan
Managing Editor, Business Manager
Joseph Irrera, a native of Brooklyn, is living proof that “real men” listen to opera. Joseph, whose forebears came from Sicily, has composed hundreds of pop songs few human beings have been privileged to hear, although he recently performed a song he composed for his wife (Jan Ramsey) at their wedding. He’s also an aficionado of and expert on classical music and opera, as well as European and mid-20th century U.S. pop music.
Amanda Schurr has lived, breathed and devoured music, the arts and culture in all its forms for 15 years. She was a correspondent and syndicated columnist with the New York Times Regional Media Group, editor for the Creative Loafing chain of alt weeklies and editor of Portland and Southwest Washington’s LGBTQ newsmagazine Just Out prior to her most recent stint as contributor at the Times-Picayune. A native of Central Florida, she cites music as her first love, New Orleans a close second. Email Amanda
Graphic Designer, Art Director, Food Editor
Elsa Hahne is OffBeat‘s “Allt-i-allo”–a Swedish term for someone who does pretty much everything. She was born in Sweden and has been working as a journalist since 1994 from Stockholm, Bordeaux (France), New York and New Orleans. Her first book, You Are Where You Eat: Stories and Recipes from the Neighborhoods of New Orleans, is being published by University Press of Mississippi (October 2008). She’s in charge of our cooking series, “The Gravy,” featuring local musicians’ food stories and recipes.
John Swenson has been writing about popular music since 1967. He joined OffBeat‘s staff in 1999 before editing the award-winning website jazze.com for Knit Media, then returned to OffBeat in 2005. He has worked as an editor at Crawdaddy, Rolling Stone, Circus and Rock World and was a syndicated music columnist for more than 20 years at United Press International and Reuters. Swenson has written 14 published books including biographies of Bill Haley, the Who, Stevie Wonder and the Eagles and co-edited the original Rolling Stone Record Guide with Dave Marsh. He is also the editor of The Rolling Stone Jazz and Blues Album Guide. His most recent book, New Atlantis: Musicians Battle for the Survival of New Orleans, was named Book of the Year by Jazz Times magazine.
Aaron Lafont began writing about music in 2005 when, on a whim, he responded to a “Writers Wanted” email advertisement, which led to stints as a contributor for UK-based websites ThisIsFakeDIY and Neu! Magazine. While enrolled at LSU in 2006, Aaron began covering New Orleans’ live music scene for Jambase and moved to the city in the fall of 2007. After stumbling upon a quote from one of his articles in an ad in an abandoned Jazz Fest Bible, he sent out another email in the dark… this time to OffBeat, where he has been a contributor since 2009 and a staff member since 2010. Email Aaron
Poppy, a mix between a Maltese and a Poodle, arrived at OffBeat in 2006. She quickly demonstrated her ability to relieve stress. She provides excellent social support and makes it virtually impossible to stay in a bad mood when her pair of loving puppy eyes meets yours.