Tulane mourns the loss of ‘dean of the barber shop’

April 4, 2013 2:00 PM

New Wave staff

For the first time in more than five decades the Tulane University campus will be without a campus fixture as the university community mourns the loss of Tom “The Barber” Davis who died on Sunday (March 31).


Tom “The Barber” Davis will be remembered as much for his smile and quick wit as for his haircuts. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

Before arriving on campus, Davis served in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War, then started another barber shop in the Gentilly area of New Orleans.

He opened the doors to his barber shop on the Tulane uptown campus in the newly built University Center in September 1959 and immediately embraced the Tulane community.

In a 2009 video, Davis reflected on the changes he’d seen at Tulane during his time at the university, and said being around the students for so long helped to keep him young. Known as much for his personality as for his skill with the shears, many local alumni continued to visit his chair for a trim and a conversation.

At a party for his 83rd birthday, the Tulane Alumni Association bestowed honorary alumnus status on Davis in recognition of his decades of service. Always quick with a joke, Davis quipped, “I guess this makes me dean of the barbershop.”

A memorial service for Davis will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday (Apr. 5) at the Honaker Funeral Home in Slidell, La., at 1751 Gause Blvd.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu