New Orleans chef to present at NLCC

Published 11:51 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2008

NATCHEZ — Leah Chase, longtime chef at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans, will present a program, “Creole-izing Richard Wright,” at the 19th annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration.

Her program will take place after lunch at the Carriage House Restaurant on the grounds of Stanton Hall on Fri., Feb. 22.

The program follows the conference theme, “Richard Wright, the South, and the World: A Centennial Celebration.”

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Natchez is kicking off a year-long salute to the famous author of such block busters as “Native Son” and “Black Boy.” Wright was born near Natchez in 1908 and died in Paris, France, in 1960.

Chase has been named to the Lafcadio Hearn Hall of Honor at Nicholls State University’s John Folse Culinary Institute and has received the Candace Award, the Freedom Foundation Award, the NAACP Human Understanding and A.P. Tureaud Awards, the Times-Picayune Loving Cup and the Weiss Award from The National Conference of Christians and Jews.

She is the subject of the biography “Leah Chase: Listen, I Say Like This” by Carol Allen. Chase is the author of “The Dooky Chase Cookbook,” “And Still I Cook,” and “Down Home Healthy: Family Recipes of Black American Chefs.”

Bonnie Woodward, manager of the Carriage House Restaurant, will serve some of Richard Wright’s favorite foods at the luncheon Feb. 23. These were suggested by Julia Wright of Paris, France, the daughter of Richard Wright.

“You remember, of course, the famous meal in Black Boy when his mother made soup and a big platter of fried chicken, and my father was so afraid the preacher would eat all the fried chicken!” Wright said.

The luncheon will feature soup and fried chicken.

Introducing Chase will be Duncan Morgan of Natchez, who, years ago, as a young student at Xavier University in New Orleans, enjoyed meals at Dooky Chase Restaurant and became friends with Dooky Chase and his wife, Leah Chase.

Tickets for the luncheon and program are $20, available by calling 601-446-1289 or toll-free 866-296-6522 or visiting or emailing

The NLCC is sponsored by Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Natchez National Historical Park, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Partial funding comes from the Mississippi Humanities Council.