Dooky Chase, New Orleans

Dooky Chase, New Orleans

Dooky Chase holds an esteemed place in Tremé, known as the most renowned and culturally significant restaurant in the neighborhood. Chef Leah Chase, affectionately known as "the Queen of Creole Cuisine", dedicated seven decades of her life to this establishment until her passing in 2019. Throughout its history, Dooky Chase welcomed a diverse array of patrons, including locals, civil rights activists, politicians, and even U.S. presidents. It has gained recognition as a beloved spot to savor dishes like red beans and rice, crispy-fried chicken, peach cobbler, and Shrimp Clemenceau, a dish that was previously exclusive to whites-only eateries. In 2018, Food & Wine magazine acknowledged this restaurant as one of the 40 most influential dining establishments of the past four decades.

Beyond her culinary talents, Leah Chase hosted art gallery openings for emerging artists during the Civil Rights era and amassed an impressive collection of African-American artwork, which you are encouraged to admire. Her restaurant showcased numerous paintings and sculptures by acclaimed artists like Elizabeth Catlett and John T. Biggers, and she regularly featured local musicians in the bar area.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Dooky Chase served as a hub for Civil Rights activism, where progressive thinkers secretly gathered in the upstairs dining room to strategize nonviolent resistance against segregation. Prominent figures such as Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., who favored barbecued ribs, and James Baldwin, a fan of gumbo, frequented the establishment. Renowned singer Sarah Vaughan ordered stuffed crab to go, while Nat King Cole had a penchant for four-minute eggs. Notably, in early 2008, then-future President Barack Obama narrowly avoided a culinary faux pas when he attempted to add hot sauce to his gumbo but was tactfully dissuaded by the owner. Even amidst lingering tensions from Hurricane Katrina, Leah Chase graciously served President George W. Bush crab soup and Shrimp Clemenceau on the second anniversary of the devastating storm, a testament to her enduring hospitality.

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Dooky Chase on Map

Sight Name: Dooky Chase
Sight Location: New Orleans, USA (See walking tours in New Orleans)
Sight Type: Food/Drink
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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