For 66 years, Edgar “Dooky” Jr. & Leah Chase have worked tirelessly to uplift their family and community as best they could through their faith, successful management of their Creole Cuisine Restaurant, active involvement in social justice that fosters inclusion, and support of the creative and culinary arts. They have been catalyst for social change and voices for progressive movement for the People, City, and State they love. The establishment of a public family foundation will serve as a conduit to continue their efforts and support others that embody the same passion and values.
PHILANTHROPIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE HISTORY
Mr. & Mrs. Chase have been actively involved in philanthropy for decades in support of values and causes that are most important to them. Mrs. Chase modestly supported their church, schools or civic organizations’ fundraising efforts by humbly baking hundreds of Lemon Meringue Pies. She also provided visionary leadership as President of the Women’s Auxiliary of Flint Goodridge Hospital and served as chair of one of the earlier Ebony Fashion Fair Fashion Shows. A fundraiser to sustain the operational mission of Flint Goodridge Hospital, the city’s main healthcare facility for African Americans during the era of racial segregation.
Mr. & Mrs. Chase have constantly served as pioneers and advocates for Civil Equality and Inclusion. During the Civil Rights Movement they willingly gave of themselves and their family’s business to support progressive and successful social justice causes, movements and conversations of inclusion. Mr. Chase was a trumpeter for voter registration and bravely encouraged so many to register to vote, even after his family’s business was hit with a Molotov Cocktail bomb. Dooky Chase Restaurant went on to provide a safe place for individuals of all ethnic communities to meet and discuss strategies for the Civil Rights Movement. Iconic Civil Rights Leaders such as Oretha Castle Haley, A.P. Tureaud, Ernest “Dutch” Morial, Rev. Andrew Young, Revius Ortique, Thurgood Marshall, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. all gathered to have pivotal discussions over a bowl of gumbo in the safety of the walls of the Upstairs Dining Room.
Mr. & Mrs. Chase were forerunners that vigorously worked to open doors for African American Artists and Entertainers. Mr. Chase as a legendary musician and Leader of the Dooky Chase Big Band, was the first African American to co-promote a musical concert that was held in the Municipal Auditorium. Billed as “The Greatest Show of 1949” a line-up that included Duke Ellington and his full Orchestra, Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughn, Dancer Peg Leg Bates, and Comedians Timmy Rodgers, and Paterson and Jackson. This historical event was enjoyed by a racially mixed audience during the era of segregation.
Mr. & Mrs. Chase are also patrons of black art and helped to created opportunities for African American Artists to showcase their talents. Their collection — displayed on the walls of the restaurant — was at one time considered New Orleans’ best collection of African American Art. To this day, Mrs. Chase serves on the board of the New Orleans Museum of Fine Arts and has even testified before Congress to lobby for greater funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. They are true ambassador for the Creative Arts and have empowered and inspired artists to live their dreams.
The Edgar “Dooky” Jr. & Leah Chase Family Foundation will host annual fundraising events on or around the birth dates of Edgar “Dooky” Jr.& Leah Chase. Proceeds from these events will go directly to support the mission of the foundation.
Mailing Address: Edgar “Dooky” Jr. & Leah Chase Family Foundation P.O. Box 791313 New Orleans, LA 70179