Leah Chase, legendary queen of Creole cuisine, dies at 96

Bill Haber / AP file

"A New Orleans chef and civil rights icon, created the city's first white-tablecloth restaurant for black patrons ..."

NBC News - June 2, 2019

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans chef and civil rights icon Leah Chase, who created the city's first white-tablecloth restaurant for black patrons, broke the city's segregation laws by seating white and black customers and introduced countless tourists to Southern Louisiana Creole cooking, died Saturday. She was 96.

Chase's family released a statement to news outlets Saturday night saying the "unwavering advocate for civil liberties" and "believer in the Spirit of New Orleans" died surrounded by family.

"Her daily joy was not simply cooking, but preparing meals to bring people together," the statement read. "One of her most prized contributions was advocating for the Civil Rights Movement through feeding those on the front lines of the struggle for human dignity."

... "I love people and I love serving people. It's fun for me to serve people. Because sometimes people will come in and they're tired. And just a little plate of food will make people happy," she said during a 2015 interview with The Associated Press .

At a time when other black Creole women were working in the city's garment industry, Chase worked as a waitress in the French Quarter, which exposed her to the segregated city's pricey restaurants frequented by white people. ...
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