NOLA’s BACKYARD – Dooky Chase’s

Eighth Post



Chef Leah Chase

Our final day finishes with a trip to the Dooky Chase Restaurant where Chef Leah Chase will share her famous Gumbo des Herbes that she customarily makes on Holy Thursday. Among those who have dined with Chef Leah Chase are President Barack Obama, President George W. Bush, Hank Aaron, Earnest Gaines and Quincy Jones. Dooky’s is the premier restaurant for authentic Creole cuisine and remains a gathering place for Politicians, musicians, visual artists and literary giants.

Gumbo des Herbes

I have had the privilege of documenting several living legends but spending time with Chef Leah Chase will go down as one of the highlights of my career. There are times when covering someone with such a rich history, that you almost forget to shoot, or maybe you forget that you are shooting because you are so enthralled in the moment. For me, listening to Leah Chase’s stories and also watching the reverence that this celebrated group bestowed on Chef Chase, was one of those times.

Conversation with “little John Kennedy” about segregation and integration of schools …

“God gave you this earth.

He put you here.

Do what you want to do.

But he wants you to make it move.”

Chef Leah Chase

Chef Chase telling the “little John John” story to Lisa Abraham from Bigelow Tea and this Photograher.

In 2005 Dooky’s didn’t stand a chance against Katrina. 5 ½ feet of water flooded the restaurant and everything was lost. Family, friends and several of the chefs that Leah had mentored helped and Dooky’s was reopened in 2007.


… just have faith and do what you have to do…just put your heart into it.”

Chef Leah Chase

October 15, 2015




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