NEW ORLEANS – Richard Washington, originally from Shreveport, has spent almost half of his life cooking and selling chicken wings, and conquering the New Orleans market has been his longtime goal, according to those close to him.
He finally embarked on this challenge on Friday by opening one of his Wing Taxi restaurants at 539, rue Toulouse, in the French Quarter. But Washington will never know if Wing Taxi hits hard in Crescent City.
After work Sunday, the 48-year-old entrepreneur was gunned down on the back patio of his Marigny home, leaving his friends and family heartbroken and stunned.
While authorities have not officially released Washington’s identity, Dixon said he was the man found by gunshot in his back patio in the 2200 block of Burgundy Street around 7:40 p.m. Sunday. Paramedics brought Washington – who had just returned from work when he was shot – to University Medical Center, but staff there pronounced him dead late that night.
Police have not publicly named any suspects or discussed a possible motive for the murder. The only description of a potential killer is a man in a hoodie that a neighbor saw walking in the back of the Washington home after the fatal gunshots exploded, Dixon said.
Either way, the shooting marked the abrupt end of an entrepreneurial dream that began in the kitchen of a house Washington shared in college with his best friend, Patrick Stewart. There, Washington perfected his techniques and recipes for making the chicken wings he delivered to customers. Sometimes, Stewart told WWL-TV, the Washington girl accompanied him on those early runs for Wing Taxi, which he officially created about 20 years ago.
âHe just had a passion for cookingâ¦ wings,â Stewart said of Washington, nicknamed âSnapperâ for the way he aggressively ate peas growing up in the Cooper Road area of ââShreveport. âHe loved what he was doing. “
Washington eventually opened Wing Taxi locations in downtown Shreveport, the mall in its hometown, Dallas and Monroe. The official opening of his New Orleans location took place two days before his death, and he was planning to set up another Wing Taxi location in Houston.
Washington, who also previously ran a Creole restaurant, was particularly fond of providing jobs to people in his community through his businesses.
âHis business was not to make him rich,â said Stewart. âHe (thought) he had to provide. And what better way to provide than to cook wings? “
Dixon said his father would tell him that he wanted to leave the business to him, so his children could one day inherit it.
âHe never stopped working,â Dixon said. âHe was very keen on having something to pass on. “
Stewart said he was hopeful someone would show up and help police arrest whoever killed Washington.
âHe so didn’t deserve this,â said Stewart.