Charles Lee Sims
Charles Lee Sims
  • April 13, 1935 - February 5, 2017
  • Casselberry, Florida

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Charles L. Sims aka “Mr. Charlie”, the iconic chef-owner of the New Orleans jazz hot spot, Donna’s Bar and Grill in the French Quarter, was named by the New York Times as one of the 22 reasons New Orleans should be re-built after Katrina. Mr. Sims crossed over from this life Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017. Born April 13, 1935, in Rome, GA, but brought up in Chicago, Charlie was one of five children and is survived by his brother Lindsey Sims and sister Betty Sims. He is a 13 year Navy Veteran who was a crew member on the famous USS Skate, the first nuclear submarine to surface the Arctic Ice of the North Pole. From ships to trains, Mr. Sims attended the Culinary Institute of America and became head chef on the Amtrak “City of New Orleans”. He rode the rails to New Orleans where he met his wife, Donna Poniatowski Sims and decided to make his home there. He held court in the kitchen of Donna’s for almost 18 years, Parrain of musicians, local jazz enthusiasts and out of town regulars, as well as many international bands and lovers of the unique ambiance created by the extraordinary persona of the owner. “Charlie burgers”, BBQ ribs, and the best (voted so by musicians) red beans and rice in New Orleans, were just as easily given away to those in need as sold by this very special, larger than life character that was Mr. Charlie in the Quarter. A dearly loved husband, father, and friend, he is survived by his wife Donna, his sons and daughters: Terrell Burton, Michael, Charles Jr., Lyndon and Pamela Sims, Sherrie Sims Allen, Kathey Futrell and Marc, Janek, and Sofia McNeil Poniatowski. He is survived by 17 grandchildren-- William, Devon, Annalise, Anaya, Zechariah, Anjelica, Ella, Osias, Michael Jr., Ashley, Alissa, Myles, Kyle, Loni-Marie, Taylor, Kaelyn and Austin and great-grand children Jaden, Caden, Mariah, and Naomi . He will be deeply missed by his family and friends, as well as those whose lives he touched as their favorite music club owner. A Jazz Funeral will be held Saturday, March 4th, for Chef Charles Sims in New Orleans at the Historic Carver Theater, 2101 Orleans Ave with services beginning at 11:00 am followed by a second-line through the French Quarter to the MRB (a restaurant and bar) located at 515 St. Philip St. (St. Philip and Decatur) for the repast.

Please click this link to watch an amazing video that was made for Charlie's 71 st birthday by his good friend Keith -