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Tommy: Remembering Leah Chase

Tommy Tucker, WWL First News
June 03, 2019 - 11:46 am

We were all saddened to hear of the passing of another New Orleans institution Saturday morning. But this time it wasn’t a building or a business. It was one of New Orleans’ originals. It was one of those people whose qualities, talent, integrity and charm made them even greater than the sum of those inestimable qualities.  We learned that Ms. Leah Chase won’t be in the kitchen any more.  After 96 years she gets to rest knowing that she left New Orleans and the world a far better place for her having been here.

"If you’re hungry, you better eat what you know. If you’re from New Orleans and you get really hungry, you better have New Orleans."  That was one of Ms. Leah’s quotes when she was talking about feeding the body.  When it came to feeding the soul, though, Ms. Chase’s words ran deeper:

"Food builds big bridges.  If you can eat with someone, you can learn from them; and when you learn from someone, you can make big changes.  We changed the course of America in this restaurant over bowls of gumbo. We can talk to each other and relate to each other when we eat together."  Although not a blessing before a meal, it could have been.

Ms. Leah Chase had a great run.  She gave more than she took.  We’ll celebrate her life, as she would want.  But we sure will miss her.

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