By Edwin Buggage
The Building Blocks of Greatness
The Chase family is one that is close-knit with a commitment to serving others. It is in this spirit that the Legacy of Leah Chase lives on through those lives she’s touched. Data News Weekly had the opportunity to speak with Edgar “Dooky” Chase, IV, the grandson of Leah Chase, who is also the Owner and Chef of Dook’s Place located inside the Louis Armstrong Airport. Speaking of the importance of his grandmother and her amazing life and how she shaped them to pursue greatness he says, “The life and legacy of Leah Chase in terms of our family, she was the matriarch, the foundation and building block for all we do.” Continuing he says, “She taught every generation through the four walls of the restaurant not only about the industry, but about life introducing us to food, culture, art but most importantly about respecting people, about being inclusive.”
To Whom Much Who Is Given Much Is Required
Many who mention Mrs. Chase notes that’s what guided her life was a set of values and practices handed down from her father. “My grandmother’s motto she lived by was “pray, work and do for others.” That’s what was preached to her from her father and she passed it down to her children and they passed it down to us the grandkids and the great grandkids and that was a seed planted into us and what we will continue to live by.” While knowing of her impact on their lives; the family was surprised to hear stories of all the incredible things she did for others. “We were able to witness some, but we had no idea of the magnitude of the lives she touched and was loved by so many people.”
Building Bridges and Bringing a Community Together
Speaking with pride of his grandmother and her contribution to the lives of so many he says, “That is how she lived her life. The outpouring of support we’ve been getting is unbelievable and that is through the media, community and around the world. It’s really been uplifting to my family, it’s been inspirational not only to see her impact on so many people but it has been a driving force to sink into us that passion she had to do that we have to; to continue that legacy to pray work and do for others the same way she did.”
Leah Chase was true to the Spirit of New Orleans and being the bridge that brought people together.
“It was the love of people, that’s what she had. The love of community and that’s where her appreciation for art, food and music came — the things that bring the community together. Just the love of people and making them feel good that made her happy.”
Feeding the Soul with Love and Compassion
As he speaks of the life of his grandmother, there is emotion coming out as he composes himself speaking about her life and journey, “When we read these stories of how many lives she’s touched it sometimes brings us to tears thinking how she’s impacted our lives but WOW, look at all the people she’s helped and in many ways, made the world a better place spreading so much love and positivity.”
In a moment where his voice lights up thinking of the Life of Leah Chase he remarks, “I am fortunate and blessed to have had her as a grandparent, but even if she wasn’t, we were fortunate to have her in our presence being a truly phenomenal woman throughout her life. She will be missed and I hope the community and all the people who have been showing us love and support keep her in their spirit and that’s what she would want us to do — and pray, work and do for others.”
This article originally appeared in the New Orleans Data News Weekly.