Barbara A. Gillmor, a New Orleans friend, colleague, and mentor to many, passed away after a long illness on March 3 at the age of 62. Gillmor was a long-time participant in many aspects of the local music and entertainment industry and is the former wife of Walter “Wolfman” Washington. She worked as an events organizer, club and bar manager and owner. and stage director for French Quarter Fest from 1988 through 2014, OffBeat’s Best of The Beat Awards, and many other events. She also worked tirelessly for the New Orleans Musicians Clinic and WWOZ.
Born April 10, 1955, Barbara was a talented music production specialist, and loyal friend, mother and grandmother, remembered fondly for her effervescent personality, her distinctive voice, her kindness to all and her knowledge of music. Described by longtime friend Pat Jolly as “usually smiling while taking pleasure in being of service to others,” she worked closely with countless musicians over the years and was one of the people Joe Krown thanked for helping bring his 2013 album Soul Understanding to fruition.
Barbara was born in Freemont, OH, and moved with her mother and her second husband to Slidell, then Chalmette. Barbara loved everything about the city, and learned the ropes of the business by working with Judy Latour, who founded Palmetto Productions. Barbara, Judy and Harry Mayronne actually created a musical about New Orleans.
Efforts are currently underway to give Barbara a proper send-off. Organized by Gillmor’s daughter Sheryl Mulligan Frught, the Barbara A. Gillmor Funeral Fund has already raised $2000 of its $6000 goal, a figure taking into account the cost of cremation as well as a private service and interment at Lake Lawn Park Mausoleum. In place of contribution to the Funeral Fund, friends are asking for donations to be made to the New Orleans Musicians Clinic in her name.
On Friday, March 9, Barbara’s frequent haunt the Maple Leaf Bar will host a “Celebration of Life with Family & Friends” beginning at 4 p.m. and running far into the evening.
She is survived by her daughter Sheryl, her dearly-loved grandchildren and hundreds of friends and colleagues. The entire OffBeat family extends its condolences to Barbara’s family, many friends and the New Orleans music community. We will miss her.