Neighborhood Curators

In January of 2017, Neighborhood Curators were introduced as a fixture to the Where Y’Art gallery series. These are people with great style and taste, visionaries and cultural leaders in the community. They are people with a unique point of view in their respective field, someone who you’d want to sit down and have a beer with, but may or may not specifically have a “visual art background.” The goal is to engage a new audience and open the door to New Orleans culture and art in a way that makes art feel more accessible and open.  

Gene Guidry

Historic Adaptive Re-Use Architect at Trapolin-Peer Architects, History and New Orleans Lover, Curator of Building Blocks: The Culture of Architecture in New Orleans

Gene Guidry, a native of Lafayette, Louisiana of Cajun ancestry, has been living and practicing architecture in New Orleans since 2007. He is an associate at Trapolin-Peer Architects, a local historic preservation, adaptive-reuse and jack of all trades firm. Gene came home to south Louisiana directly after Hurricane Katrina to help with the rebuilding process and settled into his architectural practice. Gene’s work focuses on historic renovations of differing scales: from single to multi-family, municipal, hospitality and institutional projects. Along with his love of architecture, he is an amateur artist, avid reader, history buff and most recently, a developer. Gene’s projects include the Pontchartrain Hotel, Robert’s Fresh Market grocery store on St. Claude ave, Orleans Parish Fire Stations, and the McDonogh 31 school. In his spare time, Gene is restoring historic homes in the Holy Cross neighborhood. Gene is an Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery ambassador, and resides in New Orleans’ Upper Ninth Ward.

Richard Campanella

Professor, author, geographer. Curator of Urbanism and Eccentricities.

Prof. Richard Campanella, a geographer with the Tulane School of Architecture, is the author of ten books and over 200 articles on the geography, history and culture of the New Orleans region and related topics. His research, which integrates the mapping sciences and spatial analyses with the social sciences and humanities, has been praised by The New York Review of Books, Journal of Southern History, Urban History, Places, Louisiana History, The Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, and other forums. The only two-time winner of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year Award (2006, 2009), Campanella has also received the Tulane Honors Professor of the Year Award (2016), Louisiana Literary Award (2015), the HNOC Williams Prize for Louisiana History (2011), Mortar Board Award for Excellence in Teaching (2010), the Monroe Fellowship (2011-Present), and the Hannah Arendt Prize for Scholarship in the Public Interest (2014). In 2016, the Government of France named Campanella Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques (Knight in the Order of the Academic Palms). In 2018, he was selected as king of Krewe du Vieux.

Nina Compton and Abigail Gullo

Nina Compton is the Chef & Owner of Compère Lapin and Bywater American Bistro and Culinary Ambassador to St. Lucia. Abigail Gullo is Head Bar Maven of Compère Lapin.
Curators of Art of Flavor.

Winner of the James Beard Awards “Best Chef South” and one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs 2017”, Nina Compton is Chef/Owner of award-winning restaurant Compère Lapin in New Orleans’ Warehouse District. Her second restaurant venture, Bywater American Bistro (BABs), is located in New Orleans’ “Sliver by the River” Bywater neighborhood.

Born and raised in St. Lucia, Nina grew up with the flavors and beauty of the Caribbean. Upon completion of secondary school in England, she returned home where she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a chef. Her wary but supportive parents arranged an internship with a friend’s hotel in Jamaica where she fell in love with the creativity and camaraderie of the kitchen. Leaving the cozy, warm winters of the Caribbean, Nina chose to move to chilly Hyde Park, NY to study at The Culinary Institute of America.

Since opening in June 2015, Compère Lapin has received critical acclaim including Eater National’s “Best Restaurants in America 2017”; a rave review in The New York Times, and Top 10 Winner of Playboy’s Best New Bars in America 2016. At Compère Lapin, the talented toque creates robust dishes that meld the flavors of her Caribbean upbringing and love for French and Italian cuisine, while highlighting the Gulf and Louisiana’s beautiful indigenous ingredients.

A native of Hyde Park, NY, with roots in Georgia and Virginia, Abigail Gullo first discovered her love for mixology when her grandfather taught her how to make a Manhattan when she was only 7 years old. As a young adult, she moved to Ireland to work in theatre, and quickly became known for transforming her Dublin apartment into a cocktail salon, crafting libations for friends and colleagues.

Gullo’s original cocktails have been recognized in numerous national and international competitions as well as in the media. Her margarita won People’s Choice at the 2010 Tales of the Cocktail, and her drinks have been featured in The New York Times, Imbibe, Garden & Gun, In The Mix, and Food & Wine magazine among others. Gullo was named Eater NOLA’s “Bartender of the Year” in 2014; winner of Heaven Hill’s “Bartender of the Year” 2016; and winner of Tullimore Dew’s “Best Bartender Stories.” Since opening in June 2015, Compère Lapin has received critical acclaim including Eater National’s “Best Restaurants in America 2017”; a rave review in The New York Times, and Top 10 Winner of Playboy’s Best New Bars in America 2016., as well as “Best New Restaurant” nods by New Orleans Magazine and Times-Picayune.


Founder & Creative Director of Old Brand New, a creative studio specializing in design, art direction, branding, photography, and brand partnerships. Curator of Art Crush.

Hello! I’m Dabito, but you can call me Dab. I was born in the heart of Chinatown, Los Angeles. I majored in Fine Arts, with a focus in printmaking and photography at UC Santa Cruz. After graduation, I moved back to Los Angeles where I worked at a litho printing company in the Arts District. We printed for now big-time artists like Chris Johanson and Shepard Fairey. After that, I worked for April Greiman at Made In Space, a graphic design consultancy. It was around that time when I started blogging about my thrifty adventures and Old Brand New was born.

I turned Old Brand New into a design studio about five years ago. The meaning behind the name is pretty straight forward—it’s all about mixing the old and making it brand new!

Also, check out his New York Times bestselling book, The New Bohemians.

Photo by: Avery White

Melissa A. Weber, aka DJ Soul Sister

Veteran radio programmer and host of “Soul Power” show on WWOZ, vinyl collector, crate digger, party promoter and tastemaker. Curator of (Somebody Got) Soul, Soul, Soul

Known worldwide as the “queen of rare groove,” DJ Soul Sister has hosted her “Soul Power” show on WWOZ FM and “right on party situations” for nearly two decades in her native New Orleans. One of the longest-running live dj artists in New Orleans, the veteran radio programmer and host of the longest-running rare groove radio show in the U.S., vinyl collector, crate digger, party promoter and tastemaker is highly regarded and respected not only in her hometown, but around the globe.

The first DJ to receive a “Best DJ” award in New Orleans (Big Easy Entertainment Award and OffBeat Magazine Best of the Beat Award multiple times), Soul Sister has thrown down her seamlessly blended, and vinyl-only, funk/soul/rare groove/discotheque/jazz fusion/true school hip hop sets everywhere from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and BUKU Music + Art Project to performances in New York, Los Angeles, and London – and in New Orleans at her near decade-long “Hustle Saturdays”* weekly residency (now at the Hi-Ho Lounge; formerly at Mimi’s in the Marigny and Leo’s Bar & Grill). She has opened for everyone from George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic, Bootsy Collins, Questlove, Chaka Khan, and Afrika Bambaataa to Teena Marie, Galactic, The Roots, and George Duke, to the funky Meters, DJ Low Down Loretta Brown (aka Erykah Badu), Chuck Brown, Maceo Parker, DaM-FunK, and many, many more, and was even personally invited by George Clinton to DJ his 71st birthday party.

In addition to her party and event promotions and creative dj sets, she is also a tastemaker and recognized authority on funk, soul, disco, hip hop & rare groove music and musicians. From conducting on-stage oral history interviews with musicians like George Clinton, the Ohio Players, and Chuck Brown at the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, to being featured on TV and film, such as Nelson George’s Finding the Funk documentary (2013; which premiered on VH1’s “Rock Docs” on Feb. 4, 2014) to being included in books like Dust and Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting (2014) and highlighted in national magazines like URB, Spin, and Wax Poetics (first and only woman, to date, featured in its “Record Rundown” section), Soul Sister’s opinions are welcomed in articles, lectures, panel discussions, and broadcast presentations about classic funk, soul, rare groove, disco, and hip hop music, as well as DJ culture. She is also dedicated to presenting more “soulful” events in New Orleans, ranging from DJ culture events and live music concerts to film screenings and panel discussions.

Soul Sister has taken the nightlife by storm in her hometown, known more for its top-notch live musicians than its underground DJ scene. To her credit, Soul Sister’s parties and live DJ sets are now regarded and respected alongside those of her jazz, blues, rock, R&B and funk musician colleagues, many of them fans.

Michael DeMocker-The Times-Picayune

Don Marshall

Executive Director of The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation.

Curator of Southern Abstraction. Bywater, New Orleans.

Don Marshall is a native of New Orleans who began his professional career in the arts as the first Director of the Contemporary Arts Center in 1977. Under his leadership the center grew into one of the largest multi disciplinary Alternative Arts Centers in the country. Marshall curated over 30 exhibitions at the C.A.C. during his tenure. One of his major projects during that time was the creation of the coordinated gallery openings that has been a trademark of the local arts scene and since duplicated throughout the country.  As Director of Le Petite Theatre, Marshall founded the Tennessee Williams Festival in conjunction with a group that was organizing a New Orleans Literary Festival. During that period, he brought together local artists and community activist to form both the New Orleans Film Festival and the Krewe du Vieux. As an educator, he has served as the Director of the Cultural Resource Management Program at Southeastern Louisiana University and Director of the Arts Administration Program at the University of New Orleans. In 2004 Marshall became the Executive Director of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation. During his tenure with the Foundation, he has worked to expand programming that fulfills the mission of the organization to promote, perpetuate and support the music, arts and culture of Louisiana . Since Katrina, the Foundation has created new events to celebrate the rich music and cultural heritage of Louisiana and to promote tourism such as the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival, the Congo Square Rhythms Festival, the Treme Creole Gumbo Festival and the Louisiana Cajun Zydeco Festival.