Curator of Jazz

Melissa A. Weber, also known as DJ Soul Sister, has been named curator of the Hogan Jazz Archive, the leading research center for the study of New Orleans jazz and related musical genres. The archive is part of the Special Collections division of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. Weber was previously program manager of the Newcomb-Tulane College Office of Academic Programs.
“I am beyond thrilled to lead the next exciting phase in the Hogan Jazz Archive’s history,” said Weber.

Weber, a Tulane musicology master’s student, has presented papers at numerous academic conferences, including the International Association for the Study of Popular Music-U.S. Annual Conference, the Museum of Pop Culture Conference and the National Council for Black Studies.

Weber juggled a wide range of responsibilities during her nearly 10 years with Newcomb-Tulane College, from managing the undergraduate research grant-funding program to producing the annual Lagniappe Series concert featuring renowned jazz musician Ellis Marsalis.

Melissa Weber inside the Hogan Jazz Archives
Melissa A. Weber,aka DJ Soul Sister, sits among the stacks of carefully preserved material in the Hogan Jazz Archive. (photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

In her spare time, Weber is known as one of the longest-running live DJ artists in her native New Orleans. She hosts a nearly 25-year-old radio show called “Soul Power” on WWOZ-FM, on which she spins vinyl from her expansive collection of 1970s and ’80s rare groove funk, soul and R&B. She also gives talks and presents film screenings throughout the city.

As curator of the jazz archive, Weber’s responsibilities include developing partnerships across Tulane and the broader research community, securing new historical pieces to increase the archive’s holdings, instructing students on how to use the archive to find primary sources, and supporting division outreach efforts by contributing to exhibitions and other programming.

“I would love to see the entire story of New Orleans music come up to the present, so that we can continue that story of music and culture. Because the story has not ended. It has continued, and it is happening right now.”