We shared this story back in 2011, but in honor of Leah Chase's recent 90th birthday, and celebration of Martin Luther King Day, it seemed only fitting to pay homage to this civil rights activist.
When Leah Chase is about to speak, the whole room goes quiet.
Democratic strategist James Carville noted this from his perch at the faraway end of the dining room table at Eatocracy's Secret Supper a couple years back. Ms. Chase, seated at the center, stirred in her seat and Carville, along with the other 14 guests, stopped talking and craned in. When the now 90 year old "Queen of Creole Cuisine" has words to share, they tend to be worth hearing.
(Editors' Note: We originally ran this piece on August 29, 2010 - the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. With our beloved New Orleans and Gulf Coast in the path of Hurricane Isaac, it seemed fitting to share this reminder of why this region is so dear to our hearts and vital to the world. Want to help? CNN's Impact Your World has a great list of resources.)
To pay our own tribute to the New Orleans spirit, we rounded up a celebrated group of people from all walks of the Louisiana living tradition to share their own stories on why the region's food culture should not - and will never be - washed away.
Five Reasons to Eat in Louisiana
Andreas Preuss is a Supervising Producer at CNN. He's based in Atlanta, but New Orleans is his happy place.
For the next two weekends, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is ground zero for music lovers, food enthusiasts and anyone who wants to soak up the culture of South Louisiana. There's a lot to offer on all these fronts. For me, as a native New Orleanian, it's the best two weekends on earth.
You really can't go wrong at the Jazz Fest; there are food booths setup in strategic locations around the site at the New Orleans Fairgrounds. Locals know how to navigate the field and for visitors it's a bit of delicious hide and seek.
One of the best ways to meet and eat is by sitting with some fellow festival goers. There are small tables set up around the food booths – and they can quickly become a sort of buffet of what people are eating. You hear a lot of "What's that?" and "Where did you find it?" and the inevitable "Wanna try a bite?" I tend to be nomadic in my Jazz Fest feasting. And just like exploring the city itself, there's a new food adventure around every corner.
Laissez les bons temps rouler! It's Mardi Gras time in New Orleans, and to us that means an excuse to down as many muffulettas, oysters, bowls of etouffee and gumbo, and glasses of brandy milk punch as we can fit in our mouths.
It's also a time for New Orleans' residents (and many fans) to celebrate the resilient spirit of a city that refused to give up, despite a series of tragedies that threatened to destroy their way of life forever.
Fill up a Hurricane glass, grab a beignet and get a taste of life in America's most delicious city.
What NOT to Do During Mardi Gras - Lu Brow advises not to bargain for beads and shares the importance of a Popeye's run with strangers
Five Cocktails I Enjoy Creating and CONSUMING During Mardi Gras - but Lu certainly knows how to cut loose, too
What we ate in New Orleans - and you should, too.
iReport: The best bites in New Orleans - We asked, and you shared your must-try foods all over town.
The food that got them through - New Orleanians love to talk...and argue...and educate...and opine about food. It's who they are, and what has kept them going, even when their very way of life was in danger of being swept away forever.
Destination U.S.A.: New Orleans
iReport is taking a closer look at what the United States' most vibrant cities have to offer, and we need your help! Over the next year we'll put the spotlight on a different city each month, collecting your insider recommendations for the best those hot spots have to offer. We want to get the nitty gritty of what you like and why. We'll have a few assignments each month asking for something specific about the featured destination.
First stop: New Orleans, Louisiana
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