Jan Ramsey started OffBeat and its associated entities almost three 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 former site of 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.
Art Director, Photographer and Food Editor
Elsa Hahne is OffBeat‘s “allt-i-allo”—a Swedish term for someone who does pretty much everything. A photographer and writer, Hahne 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, was published by University Press of Mississippi in 2008. Her new book, The Gravy: In the Kitchen with New Orleans Musicians (High ISO Music, 2013) is based on her monthly cooking series in OffBeat (2008-2013).
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.
Marketing, Advertising, Events and Promotions
Camille Ramsey is bubbly and outgoing, yet quite a perfectionist, whose expertise and passion is marketing, promotions and putting together events for OffBeat. She loves working at festivals and events and talking to “OffBeat” people, and learning about the business from her “Mimi,” Jan. Camille is usually accompanied by her cute little Chorkie, William and now her precious baby girl, Korina Kristine. To get in touch with Camille to put together an event that includes OffBeat, please email Camille.
Digital Content Editor and Staff Writer
Amanda Mester is a New York City-born, Los Angeles-raised journalist with 15 years of experience writing about music and culture in the digital landscape. She has had her work published by Genius, UGHH, DJ Booth and Ambrosia For Heads. After spending three years teaching a journalism course at Adelphi University in Long Islnd, she moved to New Orleans to focus on writing and editing full-time. Email Amanda.
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.
Ruby Begonia (aka Ruby, the Rubester, Monstro and Cutie-Pie) is OffBeat‘s newest non-human staffer. She’s a Havanese Silk Dog by breed, and quite a lively handful, who not only will bark loudly at new acquaintances, but will also attempt to lick them to death. One thing you can say about Ruby: she loves everyone, especially her friend William, with whom she plays constantly. Unfortunately, Ruby does not respond to email, only scratches and treats.
Poppy, a mix between a Maltese and a Poodle, arrived at OffBeat in 2006. She quickly demonstrated her ability to relieve stress. She provided excellent social support and made it virtually impossible to stay in a bad mood. Our dear little Poppy died suddenly on Christmas Day, 2014, to the severe distress of her parents, Jan Ramsey and Joseph Irrera. She was our little baby, and is irreplaceable to us. Only those who have had a beloved 24/7 pet will understand how terrible her loss is to her mama and daddy, to the OffBeat staff, and to the many visitors she welcomed to our office over the many years she was with us. There was never a sweeter or more beloved puppy dog. We will always miss you, Pup-Pup.