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Leah Chase would be pleased with protests; struggle with COVID-19 restrictions, grandson says

Edgar Chase said his grandmother would struggle with the restrictions because of her desire to love others.

NEW ORLEANS — More than a year after the passing of legendary New Orleans chef and culture bearer Leah Chase, her grandson Edgar Chase IV told WWLTV how he'd imagine her dealing with restrictions because of COVID-19.

Edgar said his grandmother would struggle with the restrictions because of her desire to love others.

"From her aspect, it would definitely be tough times during COVID-19 because she loved to get out and work and touch and share her love with other people," Edgar chase told WWLTV's Paul Dudley.

As Leah Chase might have struggled to withhold love by physically distancing, her family continues to work to preserve her legacy, and that's more than the restaurant, Edgar said.

"This is what my family has to do," Edgar said. "My aunt, my dad, my brothers, my cousins — all of us are involved in this industry. We took that from my grandparents to continue that legacy. That's where you will see us — not only in the industry but outside as well."

Breaking the law during the segregation era, Leah served people food — together — regardless of the color of their skin, supporting civil rights advocates by giving them a place to eat.

After her death more than a year ago, Austin Badon, the clerk of First City Court and close friend of the Chase Family told WWLTV that Leah Chase's contributions to the Civil Rights Movements were consequential.

"(The restaurant) gave the Civil Rights Movement a place where the people who were orchestrating the movement, could go and feel secure and have a hot meal,"  Badon said. "Her role in the Civil Rights Movement should not be underestimated." 

As far as demonstrations across the U.S. for civil rights and against police brutality, Edgar said his grandmother would have been pleased.

"She would be excited to see what's going on," Egar said. "She worked very hard not only in the industry but promoting social justice and civil rights across the board. I think after this we will continue to move forward. We will continue to get better as a nation; we have to. There's no choice. She would be the one to lead the charge. She would still be pounding the pavement, saying this is what we have to do."

The Edgar "Dooky" Jr. & Leah Chase Family Foundation helps support organizations that encourage education, culinary arts, cultural arts, and social justice activities. Learn more at their website here.

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