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Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans Part 1

Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans Part 1

Eating Crabs at a Crab Boil, 1938, Raceland, Louisiana, Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Eating Crabs at a Crab Boil, 1938, Raceland, Louisiana, Courtesy of the Library of Congress

 

Jazz musician Edgar “Dooky” Chase married Leah Chase, a native of Madison, Louisiana. The couple would go on to start Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans. “I'd worked in some of the finest restaurants in the French Quarter and" I wanted "to make this a truly fine restaurant for black people,” says Leah Chase known to many as “Queen of Creole Cuisine.” In the 1940s and 50s the restaurant served Count Basie, Sarah Vaughn, Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, and Cab Calloway. These artist played in segregated venues in New Orleans for white patrons. Jim Crow laws prohibited them from eating in the places where the performed. “There was no other place to go, really,” recalls Leah Chase, so word of mouth led them to Dooky Chase. “Sarah used to order our stuffed crabs, and Lena, she likes our fried chicken,” remembers Chase. 

Sarah Vaughn’s Favorite New Orleans stuff crab recipe

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces I can’t believe it’s not butter

4 1/2 ounces chopped onion

1 1/2 ounces chopped bell pepper

1 ounce celery

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 1/2 ounces claw crab meat (or vegan substitute)

1/2 teaspoon parsley

1 1/2 to 2 ounces bread crumbs

1 ounce chopped green onions

Method

Sauté onions, bell peppers, and celery until half done. Add garlic salt and cayenne and sauté until vegetables are translucent. Add claw meat, bread crumbs, parsley and green onions. Mix thoroughly and stuff accordingly. Recommended baked but some served it fried

 

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