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




NOLA’s BACKYARD – Chretian Point

Seventh Post

Mint Julep at Chretien Point, Sunset Louisiana

Chretien Point

Now as a complete departure, we enter into what can only be described as a “Gone with the Wind” moment. Mint juleps on a silver tray, a refined gentleman to escort us for a tour of the mansion and grounds, and we are educated on the history of this cotton plantation in Sunset, Louisiana. Civil wars were fought on this site and the front door still bears a battle scar. Again, a photographer’s dream as the light is getting a little lower in the sky. Time, I just wish that I had more time but these are the parameters of the project. So, no mint julep for me … it’s shooting time.


This has been a long day and the drive takes us a little longer than planned so the light is getting low when we arrive at White Oak Plantation in Baton Rouge, LA. Chef John Folse has planned a  Fête de Boucherie.

Chef John Folse

Before we lose the light I capture some shots of the group and the grounds and food presentation. This is frustrating as I’m left just craving one more hour of light to document this beautiful display. While the lighting is far from ideal, I’m able to capture the essence of the evening and Chef extends an invitation to come back in the future. I may have to take him up on this.




…out of light and almost out of cupcakes.