Through a project of the Loyola Documentary and Oral History Studio, part of the College of Humanities and Natural Sciences at Loyola University in New Orleans, a series of oral histories was created by students to document the importance of the iconic Dooky Chase restaurant’s place in New Orleans before desegregation.
Those interviewed were people such as Carmen Morial, a native New Orleanian from the 7th ward and a former teacher at Valena C. Jones school; Raphael Cassimere, Jr., a professor at the University of New Orleans and a civil rights activist; Emile Evans, a New Orleanian from the 7th ward who began working at the restaurant as a junior in high school; and Shirley Thomas, a former employee and native of Opelousas, Louisiana, all of whom recounted how the people of the 5th, 6th and 7th wards were welcomed at Dooky Chase’s when they would not be admitted to the famous downtown restaurants.
Leah Chase chef, author and television personality is
known as the Queen of Creole Cuisine. Her restaurant, Dooky Chase, was known as a gathering place and was patronized by civil rights activists as well as the surrounding community.
I had the opportunity to be in the audience for the presentation and was fully engaged in the humor, pathos and deep recollections of the interviewees. We must applaud Loyola University for creating this project, delivering so well on its promise and providing it to the communities at large. Please visit the Loyola Documentary and Oral History Project for more information and to listen to the oral interviews at:
Sources: wikipedia.org, southernfoodways.org
Courtesy: Loyola University Documentary and Oral History Studio