Thursday, July 10, 2014

WATCH-New Orleans Chef Leah Chase fed "The Freedom Fighters" and "Civil Rights Movement"

"Your Job on earth is to earn a salary, your walk on earth is what you do for others, you can die with a million dollars, if you have not picked anyone up, it was a worthless life"...Leah Chase

I love this story. Her restaurant is the first one I will look for when I make trip to New Orleans! I find it hilarious and all too familiar when she recounts her story about feeding President Obama! Check it out & Share!


Chef Leah Chase, or as she’s widely known for her famous New Orleans cooking, the “Queen of Creole Cuisine,” quite literally helped to feed the civil rights movement.

As the chef and owner of the renowned New Orleans restaurant named after her husband’s father, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, Chase’s family took great risk in braving the South’s infamous “Jim Crow” laws to allow black and white organizers of the civil rights movement to use the popular restaurant as a safe meeting place.

“You just did the work you thought you were expected to do,” Chase said. “Anything you thought that could better people, you just did it.”

Fifty years after the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, Chase sat down with “Power Players” to remember the days when Freedom Riders worked from the upstairs level of her restaurant to plan their bus routes through the segregated South.
“I knew I had to feed them, and I knew I could not do what they were doing,” Chase said. “My whole life, honey, was this restaurant.”

Though the Chase family was unwavering in their commitment to the movement, the restaurant did become a target. On one occasion, a bomb was thrown at the restaurant from a passing car. But fortunately, Chase is quick to follow-up, “no one was hurt.”

Beyond its role as a meeting place for civil rights planners, Chase’s restaurant became a popular New Orleans destination for black celebrities, including the likes of Ray Charles and Duke Ellington.

“Ray was good,” Chase said of musician Ray Charles. “I loved him, because I like people with emotional strength, with physical strength. Now, he was blinder than blind, but that didn't stop Ray from doing what he thought he had to do, or contributing where he thought he could. I like that in people.”
And in more recent years, word of Chase’s Creole cooking has even spread to presidents. Chase has fed every president since Bill Clinton.


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