Leah Chase Dies: Chef, Civil Rights Icon, TV/Film Star And Inspiration For Disney Character Was 96

Leah Chase, who taught the nation about Creole food at her Dooky Chase’s restaurant in New Orleans and was a celebrity chef who appeared in numerous TV shows and film documentaries, has died. She passed Saturday at her son’s home near her New Orleans restaurant.

Chase and her husband, Edgar “Dooky’ Chase, had the first white tablecloth restaurant for black customers in the heavily segregated city. Dooky Chase’s began as a sandwich shop in the Treme district, but expanded into an upscale restaurant that was the equal of anything in the French Quarter.

Along the way, Leah Chase’s expertise in Creole cooking drew national attention. Cookbooks, innumerable media interviews and television shows, and film documentaries cataloged this unique regional cuisine. Princess Tiana, who wanted to own a restaurant in the animated Disney feature The Princess and the Frog, was based on Chase. Tiana was the first
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