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New Orleans creole cuisine pioneer dies at 88

Dooky and Leah Chase have been married since 1946. They owned and operated Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans.
Dooky and Leah Chase have been married since 1946. They owned and operated Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans. Courtesy

A New Orleans restauranteur, whose namesake restaurant is famous for its fried chicken and Creole dishes, has died.

The Advocate reports that Edgar “Dooky” Chase died Tuesday at 88. Chase owned and operated Dooky Chase’s at 2301 Orleans Ave. with his wife, Leah. It was opened by Chase’s father as a sandwich shop in 1941.

Chase married Leah in 1946 and they eventually took over the business from Chase’s father. Leah Chase, 92, continues to operate the award-winning restaurant, which is famous for Leah Chase’s fried chicken and Creole delicacies such as gumbo and Shrimp Clemenceau.

Dooky Chase’s was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but it reopened in 2007.

It has been featured on the Food Network and was a favorite New Orleans spot of Presidents Barack Obama and George H.W. Bush.

Chase’s full obit can be found here.

Dooky Chase’s seafood gumbo

  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 pound small white shrimp (30/40), peeled and deveined
  • 8 ounces Creole hot sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 8 ounces smoked sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 8 ounces beef stew meat, cubed
  • 8 ounces smoked ham, cubed
  • 6 chicken wings, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon file powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 dozen oysters, with their liquid
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme

Heat the oil in a skillet over low heat and add the flour to make a roux, browning until golden about 3 minutes. Add the onions and cook over low heat until the onions wilt about 4 minutes.

Put the shrimp, sausages, stew meat and ham in a 5-quart pot over medium heat. Pour the onion mixture over the ingredients and add 3 quarts water, the chicken wings, file powder, paprika and salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes or until broth reaches desired thickness.

Add the oysters, parsley, garlic and thyme. Lower the heat and cook until the shrimp is pink, about 10 minutes more, before serving.

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