Leah Chase, legendary New Orleans Creole chef and civil rights icon, has died at the age of 96, according to the Associated Press. Chase broke segregation laws in 1946 when she transformed the Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans, named after her father-in-law, into the city’s first “white-tablecloth” restaurant for black patrons. The restaurant, which was wiped out by Hurricane Katrina and rebuilt, was a favorite of presidents and celebrities and Chase is credited with introducing Southern Louisiana Creole cooking to a global audience. “Her daily joy was not simply cooking, but preparing meals to bring people together,” a statement by her family stated. “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.” Chase died surrounded by her family.
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