I WAS BEYOND honored to write this story for Preservation magazine about the deep history of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans. The Chases played host to so many families and their functions over the decades and is still going strong. One of the biggest joys I have had in recent years is to to be able to take friends there for a special meal and tell my grandfather’s stories over a plate of red beans.
Many thanks to the Chase family for bringing this important history forward.
From the piece:
“Leah Lange had let it be known that she didn’t much like to truck with musicians. Nonetheless, in 1945, she was swept away by Edgar Lawrence “Dooky” Chase Jr., a New Orleans jazz trumpeter, and had to shift ground on this score. The two met at a nightclub where Chase’s orchestra lit up the room. He’d somehow sailed past her defenses. Still in that whirlwind early the next year, they married.
Chase’s family owned a popular little spot in New Orleans’ Tremé neighborhood that served as a community hearth in one of the nation’s oldest African American communities. Established in 1939 and named after Edgar’s father, Edgar “Dooky” Sr., the business began as a street-corner stand selling po’boy sandwiches and lottery tickets. In 1941 the Chases moved across the street to the restaurant’s present location at Orleans Avenue and North Miro Street. Headquarters for key strategizing during the Civil Rights Movement, immortalized in song, this corner brick building with its two attached double shotgun houses has been a Tremé touchstone for five generations of New Orleanians.”