The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Leah "Dooky" Chase

Share on Social Media

Information about Leah "Dooky" Chase

Profile image of Leah "Dooky" Chase

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Chef
Restaurateur

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Favorite Quote:
Whatever You're Going to Do, You Better Do it and Enjoy Life.

Birthplace

Born:
1/6/1923
Birth Location:
New Orleans, Louisiana

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Chef
Restaurateur

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Favorite Quote:
Whatever You're Going to Do, You Better Do it and Enjoy Life.

Birthplace

Born:
1/6/1923
Birth Location:
New Orleans
See how Leah "Dooky" Chase is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Leah Chase, "the Queen of Creole Cuisine," was born January 6, 1923, in New Orleans, Louisiana, of Catholic Creole parents. She was sent to New Orleans in 1937 to live with her aunt and to attend St. Mary's Academy for high school. Her first job out of school was at the Oriental Laundry in the French Quarter. A week later, Chase was hired by the Colonial Restaurant on Chartres Street. She has been in the restaurant industry ever since.

In 1945, she met and married musician Edgar "Dooky" Chase II, whose parents owned the Dooky Chase Restaurant. At first, Chase spent her time raising her children and sewing, but once the children were old enough to attend school she began to work at the restaurant three days a week. She changed the menu to serve hot meals at lunchtime to black men who were beginning to work in offices. She started out as a hostess, but she was soon redecorating the restaurant and working as chef. Because of Chase, the Dooky Chase Restaurant is known for its good food, antiques and original African American art.

Chase has received many awards both for her culinary genius and her community service including: the coveted New Orleans Times Picayune 1997 Loving Cup Award, the Weiss Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the Torch of Liberty Award, the University of New Orleans Entrepreneurship Award, the Outstanding Woman Award from the National Council of Negro Women, and numerous honors from the NAACP. She serves on many organizational boards including the Arts Council of New Orleans, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Urban League. Chase is a frequent guest on many of the televised cooking shows and was visiting culinary professor at Nichols State University in 1996. She has four children, sixteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Chase passed away on June 1, 2019.

See how Leah "Dooky" Chase is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leah Chase's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leah Chase lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leah Chase talks about her family's history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leah Chase talks about her ancestry
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leah Chase describes her Creole ancestry and the contributions of Creoles
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leah Chase talks about Patois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leah Chase describes her father, Charles Lange
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leah Chase talks about her family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leah Chase describes how her parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Leah Chase describes her mother, Hortensia Lange
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Leah Chase describes the sights, smells, and sounds of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leah Chase talks about her parents' value for education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leah Chase talks about her Catholic education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leah Chase describes her role models
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leah Chase describes her childhood personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leah Chase talks about her first jobs after high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Leah Chase talks about her husband Dooky Chase and the Sandwich Shop
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Leah Chase describes implementing changes at Dooky Chase's Restaurant, pt.1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Leah Chase describes implementing changes at Dooky Chase's Restaurant, pt.2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leah Chase describes her relationship with her mother-in-law, Emily Chase
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leah Chase talks about her battle to add art to Dooky Chase's Restaurant
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leah Chase talks about featuring the art of Jacob Lawrence, Jonathan T. Biggers, Clifton Webb, Lois Mailou Jones, and HistoryMakers Elizabeth Catlett, Jonathan Green, David Driskell, William Pajaud
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leah Chase describes her food and the chef community in New Orleans
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Leah Chase talks about New Orleans chef Austin Leslie and managing restaurants
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Leah Chase talks about popular menu items and the hours of operation at Dooky Chase's Restaurant
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Leah Chase talks about Dooky Chase's Restaurant as a meeting place for civil rights organizations SNCC and COFO and activists like Oretha Castle Haley, James Baldwin, and Thurgood Marshall
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Leah Chase talks about Dutch Morial, the first black mayor of New Orleans
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leah Chase describes her hopes and concerns for the black community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leah Chase talks about her honors including the NAACP A.P. Tureaud Medal, the Loving Cup, and the Ella Brennan Savoir Faire Award
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leah Chase reflects upon her family's support and how they view her success
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leah Chase reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leah Chase talks about how she would like to be remembered