Edgar 'Dooky' Chase Jr., Renowned Restaurateur, Musician, and Civil Rights Activist, Dies at 88

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One of Chase’s claims to fame was turning a family-owned sandwich shop into a legendary restaurant
Dooky Jr.

Dooky Chase’s Restaurant / Facebook

Chase was an active part of the New Orleans community, beyond the food and music industries.

Edgar “Dooky” Chase Jr., founder of the legendary Dooky Chase Restaurant in Treme, died Tuesday, Nov. 22, at the age of 88, NOLA.com reported.

Chase was born March 23, 1928, in New Orleans into a musical and entrepreneurial family, according to the Dooky Chase Restaurant website.

Chase’s parents opened a family-owned-and -operated sandwich and lottery ticket shop in 1939. Chase assisted with the family business by delivering sandwiches in the neighborhood and connecting with the community.

Following in the footsteps of his parents, Chase opened the Dooky Chase Restaurant in 1941, which became a haven for “music and entertainment, civil rights, and culture in New Orleans.”

While in the food industry, Chase remained passionate as a jazz musician and started the Dooky Chase Orchestra with his sister, Dorris Chase. It was also through music at one of the orchestra’s performances that Chase met his wife, Leah.

Chase was also a civil rights activist who encouraged others to exercise the right to vote and provided a “safe place for individuals of all ethnic communities to meet and discuss strategies for the Civil Rights Movement” at the Dooky Chase Restaurant.

Chase and his wife later founded the Edgar "Dooky" Jr. & Leah Chase Family Foundation, which supports culture, education, culinary arts, and social justice, according to NOLA.com.

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