October 9, 2009
New Wave staff
This year, Tom Davis is celebrating 50 years of cutting hair on the Tulane University uptown campus. Davis opened his barbershop in 1959 in the basement of the newly built University Center and he continues serving the Tulane community in the Lavin-Bernick Center today.
Davis joined the Navy as a teen and after serving in World War II, he enrolled in Moler Beauty College on Canal Street to learn the art of barbering.
University photographer Paula Burch-Celentano offers this tribute to longtime uptown campus barber Tom Davis.
Before coming to Tulane, Davis operated a neighborhood shop in the Gentilly area of New Orleans, and over the years his shop has retained the mood and character of an old-time corner barbershop.
Davis has seen styles come and go, including the muttonchop craze. He has lived through lean times in the '60s when hairstyles demanded little professional care. And he has developed a loyal following of customers, including retired Times-Picayune columnist Angus Lind, who started coming to Davis for hair cuts while a student at Tulane and has remained a patron to this day.
"I try to listen to what they ask for," Davis said.
When his children were young, Davis moonlighted at Tulane Medical Center to help educate them. His son, Scott Davis, is a Tulane alumnus.
To recognize his service to the university, the Tulane Alumni Association bestowed honorary alumni status on Davis at a party for his 83rd birthday on Sept. 24. After receiving his proclamation, Davis said, "I guess this makes me the dean of the barber shop."
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