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.
Brett Milan joined the OffBeat staff as editor in March 2013 after writing about New Orleans and Louisiana music for the magazine since 2005. He first came to Jazz Fest in 1989 (the year of OffBeat’s very first Jazz Fest issue—but we probably weren’t on his radar then) and has caught almost every Fest and Ponderosa Stomp in the years since. Brett is married to the lovely Marlene and hails from the cold clime of Boston, where he has written for the Boston Globe and Boston Phoenix. He has also authored two books. His first book, Vinyl Junkies: Adventures in Record Collecting was released in 2001; The Sound of Our Town: A History of Boston Rock & Roll followed in 2007. Email Brett
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
Katie Walenter is the music listings editor for OffBeat’s website and magazine. She also works as a freelance writer and editor. To add an event to OffBeat’s listings calendar, please email Katie.
Hailing from Motown, music and dance have been a part of Jocelyne’s life ever since she was very young, so it was only natural that she gravitated to the music mecca of New Orleans in 2005. She helped to build the popular alternative music and culture hub, Fusicology.com for six years and founded its Detroit and New Orleans chapters, as well as contributed to progressive culture magazines such as Real Detroit Weekly, URB and XLR8R as a writer and stylist, respectively. After more than 10 years of serving an array of clients and partners as a publicist, promoter, event planner, marketing consultant, social media strategist and community engagement facilitator in both her hometown of Detroit and her adopted home of New Orleans, Jocelyne joined the OffBeat team in March of 2013 as Director of New Media & Promotion where she continues to build OffBeat’s digital media strategy and serves as a contributing writer. Email Jocelyne
Marketing & Sales Representative
Miami, Florida native Carly Levenshon came to New Orleans in 2006 to study Marketing and Management at Tulane University. A fan of the city’s music, food and culture, Carly joined OffBeat’s staff in the summer of 2012. For advertising and marketing inquiries, email Carly.
Marketing & Sales Representative
Bywater denizen Chris Peet is a 15-year media sales veteran who grew up Marrero. Throughout his career, Chris has lived and worked in many states, but his love of live music and the Saints never fails to bring him back home. Chris joined OffBeat’s team in March 2013. Email Chris
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.