Even as a New Orleans native, there are many times that I drive around and have no clue who some of these streets are named after. The “Who Dat?” series is uncovering the history behind these people. This edition is dedicated to John Churchill Chase.
John Churchill Chase (1905-1986) is likely best known for his book “Frenchman, Desire, Good Children, and Other Streets of New Orleans”. He was a cartoonist, author, public speaker, and illustrator.
A native of New Orleans, he spent time in Chicago attending the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Returning in 1927, he became a cartoonist for the newspaper the New Orleans Item. (It changed names to the New Orleans States-Item.) The principal character he drew, until 1964, was “Mr. New Orleans” or “The Little Man”.
Throughout the 1960s, Chase was known for his editorial cartoons that aired on WDSU.
The book that John is known for “Frenchmen, Desire, Good Children, and Other Streets of New Orleans”, recounts the expansion of New Orleans. It’s meant to be a funny, yet informational, book about the development of street names across the city. There are also fun stories about other people and events that helped shaped the Crescent City.
Chase also created a comic book about the Louisiana Purchase. Celebrating the 200th anniversary, he released the book called “The Louisiana Purchase: An American Story.” It’s historically accurate with a healthy dose of hilarity.
Chase also taught at Tulane University and his cartoons were in the football programs.
He also created cartoons for the Texas Longhorns’ mascot “Bevo.”
He was not only the former president of the American Association of Editorial Cartoons, but Chase also authored 5 books.
John Churchill Chase Street
The small street named for him in the Warehouse District was created after his death. This street was formerly a section of the street Calliope.