For 67 years, Edgar “Dooky” Jr. & Leah Chase have been catalysts for social change and voices for progress for the People, City, and State they love. The foundation serves as a conduit to continue their efforts and support of others that embody the same passion and values.
Mr. & Mrs. Chase have been actively involved in their community for decades to support causes that are most important to them. Mrs. Chase modestly supported their church, schools and civic organizations’ through 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. Chase was a trumpeter for voter registration and bravely encouraged so many to register to vote. 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. 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 Orchestra, 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. This historical event was enjoyed by a racially mixed audience during the era of segregation.
Mr. & Mrs. Chase are patrons of black art and helped to create 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. Mrs. Chase currently 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 Cultural Arts and have empowered and inspired artists to live their dreams.
The Edgar "Dooky" Jr. and Leah Chase Family Foundation seeks to cultivate and support organizations that engage in activities that support cultural arts, education, culinary arts, and social justice.