Bridging the Gap Between Black Banks and the Black Community

President Obama eats gumbo with restaurant owner Leah Chase during his visit at Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana, on February 7, 2008. Obama was in New Orleans, ahead of Louisiana's primary on February 9, and said the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina which ravaged the city in 2005 was a metaphor for a broken US government. AFP PHOTO/EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama eats gumbo with restaurant owner Leah Chase during his visit at Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

by Patrice Gaines / Urban News Service, June 16, 2016

Leah Chase recalls a time when she couldn’t get a loan from a White-owned bank to expand her now-legendary New Orleans restaurant.

“I remember my husband going to a bank we used for years,” said Chase, 93. “When we went to get a loan, we couldn’t. This was in 1957, and we wanted to make the restaurant bigger.

“Then Liberty Bank came along,” said Chase, referring to the Black-owned Liberty Bank and Trust, headquartered in New Orleans. The Chases got a $150,000 loan from Liberty to remodel their Creole eatery, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant. Chase has 15 employees today, “sometimes more,” and has fed “the Jackson Five, Duke Ellington, the Freedom Riders … President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.”

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