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OffBeat magazine publisher Jan Ramsey has lung cancer: ‘I’m lucky they caught it early’ – NOLA.com

Keeping the New Orleans music magazine OffBeat afloat for more than 30 years has been a challenge for publisher Jan Ramsey. That struggle, made even more difficult by the pandemic, is ongoing.

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Keeping the New Orleans music magazine OffBeat afloat for more than 30 years has been a challenge for publisher Jan Ramsey. That struggle, made even more difficult by the pandemic, is ongoing.

And now she has another challenge to face.

Ramsey, 71, was diagnosed with lung cancer this summer. Doctors discovered a tumor in her lower right lung when she underwent a CAT scan for a different medical issue. A subsequent biopsy confirmed the tumor was malignant.

“It’s not very aggressive,” Ramsey said this week. “I’m really lucky with that, and really lucky they caught it early. I’m not on my deathbed.”

She hasn’t decided whether to treat the cancer with surgery or radiation. One consideration is how long each option would keep her away from work.

“I’m concerned about how long I’ll be out,” she said. “I’m between a rock and a hard place, between working and getting it taken care of.”

As publisher, she does everything from selling and producing ads to overseeing editorial content. Other than her husband, Joseph Irrera, the magazine only has two other full-time employees. Freelance photographers and writers provide much of what fills the pages.

“It’s always been a labor of love, but it takes a lot of work,” Ramsey said.

And it’s not particularly lucrative.

Filmmaker Michael Murphy, whose credits include a number of New Orleans music-themed documentaries, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Ramsey’s medical expenses not covered by Medicare.

She says she’ll use any leftover funds to help stabilize OffBeat’s finances, made even more precarious by the Small Business Association loan taken out to help keep the magazine afloat during the pandemic.

After printing the March 2020 issue with The Iceman Special on the cover, OffBeat shifted to online-only editions as the pandemic shut down the city’s nightlife. This year, OffBeat printed its “Jazz Fest Bible,” the festival preview that is traditionally its largest edition of the year.

Ramsey also plans to print the November issue to coincide with the retooled Best of the Beat Awards, which honor local musicians in numerous categories.

Normally staged in January, the Best of the Beat Awards is now slated for Nov. 10. The ceremony, a mix of performances and award presentations, is also moving to a new home: a tented space on the grounds of the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint.

OffBeat’s office is now at the museum; the two entities work together via a cooperative endeavor agreement. The museum is helping produce the Best of the Beat Awards. Scheduling and funding imperatives …….

Source: https://www.nola.com/entertainment_life/keith_spera/article_f5bd4012-2e69-11ed-9553-8fcf72e4e718.html

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