"To lead is to live dangerously." Ronald Heifitz
She was most famous for being a world-renowned chef - the Queen of Creole Cuisine....but she also
was a Civil Rights activist who hosted and fed the Freedom Riders, Dr Martin Luther King, Thurgood Marshall, and meetings of local and national civil rights leaders. Staunch supporter of women's equality.
served both blacks and whites in her restaurant when it was illegal and unsafe do so
served many great musicians, such as Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Mahalia Jackson, Duke Ellington and so many more
curated great art and supported the arts with her money and her talents
often was the only woman and only African American in a roomful of powerful men
came back, stronger than ever, from 4 feet of water that rotted her restaurant and home for weeks after Katrina
inspired the first Disney African American princess - The Princess and the Frog.
Being in her presence was a blessing - she was a shining light, always gracious, outspoken, always learning, resilient and kind. I was so lucky to have met her and hear her speak. She was the greatest of many examples of grassroots women leaders I visited with, along with a group of others curious to learn about the leadership that brought New Orleans back.
The video interview below gives you a taste of her humor, strength, and values. And answers the question: "why do all these white men hang around you?" 😆 Still inspirational and brilliant at 94.
May she rest in peace. We will mis her. Ms Leah Chase, a national heroine.