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The Story of New Orleans Creole Cooking: The Black Hand in the Pot


The Story of New Orleans Creole Cooking: The Black Hand in the Pot is a full-length documentary that unveils the untold stories of black chefs, cooks, street food vendors, grocers, and butchers in New Orleans from 1718 to the present.


The film was made as a student project, and it was partially funded with a grant from the Louisiana Endowment for Humanities. Students involved in the making of the film paired their core curriculum academic studies with newfound knowledge from the Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture. The result was a comprehensive deep dive into the history of New Orleans food as well as the impact that culture had on the rest of the city and the country as a whole.


The documentary highlights the trials and triumphs of being black while working, cooking, and eating in the culinary capital of the United States throughout the centuries. It chronicles a wide range of subjects, from Nellie Murray, the most sought-after Créole de couleur caterer in New Orleans for many premier society balls and parties in the 1890s, to the legendary Leah Chase, chef and co-owner of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant.



2601 Gentilly Boulevard
New Orleans, Louisiana 70122

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