Tulane University Special Collections acquires Offbeat Inc. Materials

Tulane University Special Collections (TUSC) is pleased to announce the acquisition of the business papers and correspondence of OffBeat magazine, OffBeat publications, OffBeat-sponsored events, and publisher Jan Ramsey. A monthly magazine that features news, reviews, interviews, and profiles about New Orleans and Louisiana music, musicians, culture, business, and events, Offbeat, Inc. was founded by Jan V. Ramsey in May 1988 to improve and expand local music culture and business. Based in New Orleans, Offbeat magazine was distributed in print throughout the metro New Orleans area and internationally via subscription until the company switched to a digital model with its April 2020 issue. Additionally, OffBeat, Inc. is responsible for the Louisiana Music Directory database and the annual Best of the Beat Awards. The collection is rich in research value, especially related to music business.

In September 2020, Jan Ramsey, president of OffBeat, Inc. and editor-in-chief of the publication, notified Melissa A. Weber, Curator of the Hogan Archive of New Orleans Music and New Orleans Jazz, that OffBeat was moving from Frenchmen Street to a smaller location inside the New Orleans Jazz Museum on Esplanade Avenue. After conducting a site visit, Jennifer Waxman, TUSC Head of Collection Management, and Weber accepted the materials, which include magazines, posters, photos, papers, and more, in November 2020.

“Jan Ramsey's tireless work in and dedication to New Orleans music and its industries is commendable. As New Orleans’ premiere entertainment monthly, OffBeat’s consistent reporting allowed for expanded coverage of topics that may have been overlooked in local weekly newspapers,” says Weber.

Ramsey is a trailblazer in late 20th century New Orleans music business leadership, advocacy, and journalism. Her work outside of the magazine warrants greater attention, as it includes co-authoring the first economic impact study of music on the New Orleans economy and the first Mayor's Forum on Music and Economic Development. Ramsey also founded the New Orleans Music & Entertainment Association and co-founded the Delta Music Initiative. She is the recipient of various local and national awards and honors, including the AMPT Award from ASCAP, Governor's Award, State of Louisiana Lantern Award, Community Arts Award, Cultural Economy Award, and numerous Press Club Awards.

The collection is unprocessed and is not yet open to researchers. To learn more about this collection, contact Melissa A. Weber, Curator of the Hogan Archive of New Orleans Music and New Orleans Jazz, at mweber3@tulane.edu or 504-247-1807. For more information about Tulane University Special Collections, visit https://library.tulane.edu/tusc, contact specialcollections@tulane.edu, or call 504-865-5685.

Published November 2021

Offbeat magazine covers featuring Dr. John, Trombone Shorty, Kermit Ruffins, Tarriona "Tank" Ball, Fats Domino, and Big Freedia