The Lafitte came here in 1938 or 1939, the same time that my mother-in-law got into that kitchen. We had a lot of civil-rights meetings in our restaurant. In New Orleans, when you meet, you have to eat. Down the street, in the Knights of Peter Claver building, A.P. Turead had his law office. So did Dutch Morial, the NAACP. Civil-rights leaders set up here, across from the Lafitte because they wanted to be in their own community, where they can reach people easily and where people can reach you easily. Morris Jeff lived in the project over on Galvez Street.
"When the project first got there, it was like a new lifestyle for people. But it was a different day and a different time. People were given rules to live by. You understood that you were there until you got on your feet. Then it became a way of life.
"They had problems over there. But they didn't cross the street with their problems. I didn't have iron bars on my windows. But I never got broken into, until Katrina came.
"I miss my neighbors. I hate to see those people living away. It must be awful to live somewhere else. So at first, I thought that they could tear down one part of the Lafitte and leave another. But I've changed my mind. That will not work. The buildings are too tight -- it's too many people under one roof.
"Now I say, 'Take the buildings out, take 'em out as fast as you can, and bring in the new.' Father Michael Jacques at our church (St. Peter Claver) has something to do with it. And he'll put down the same rules for madam on St. Charles as he does for Leah on Orleans." -- Reckdahl
- David Rae Morris
Leah Chase, 84
Proprietress and Chef Dooky Chase's Restaurant