How did Dooky Chase get his nickname? ‘One never knows,’ Leah Chase says

NEW ORLEANS -- February is Black History Month, a month-long celebration remembering the important contributions that African Americans have made in our nation's history.

In honor of Black History Month, News with a Twist is featuring the people and places of New Orleans and beyond that helped to shape our community.

Today's, it's Dooky Chase's Restaurant in Treme.

"I always say, the name doesn't make the man; the man makes the name," Chef Leah Chase says. "My father-in-law was the first Dooky. How you get your nickname in the South, one never knows."

Dooky Chase's Restaurant is world-famous, thanks to the hard work of the late Dooky Chase Jr. and his wife, Leah. It’s known for classic Creole cuisine and African-American art.

The original "Dooky" Chase was Edgar "Dooky" Chase, Sr., Leah Chase's father-in-law.

Dooky Chase Sr. opened Dooky Chase Restaurant in 1941. It started in 1939 as a sandwich shop and place to buy lottery tickets, eventually blossoming into the renowned eatery it is today.

"My mother-in-law was the one who started the restaurant," Leah Chase says. "In 1941, she was making so many sandwiches until we got to where we are here. When I came in, in 1945, she was well on the way, making money, making her sandwiches. I came in and said, 'I worked in the French Quarters and that's not what we did down there'  I thought we should grow and said we could eat the same things -- jambayala, mushrooms creole, oyster stuffing, chicken with oysters stuffing. So here we are."

Our Black History Month series is brought to you by The King Firm.