A toast to a civil rights activist Leah Chase
January 21st, 2013
01:30 PM ET
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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.
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April 29th, 2011
09:19 PM ET
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New Orleans residents, and the millions of people who pour into the city each year for Mardi Gras, Saints games and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (a.k.a. "Jazz Fest") know that the city is fueled by a fierce passion for life, art, music and perhaps most of all - its food. In the face of almost unimaginable tragedy, the city's signature cuisine sustained the bodies, spirits and souls of its people and inspired them to fight ever-mounting odds to keep the culture they love alive for future generations.

Eatocracy gathered together some of Louisiana most vibrant, vocal and knowledgeable residents, fed them a multi-course meal crafted by celebrated chef John Besh, and asked them what they think makes New Orleans cuisine such a vital part of the culture.

And when people like CNN's James Carville and Mary Matalin, chef and civil rights activist Leah Chase, Mad Men star Bryan Batt, food scholar Poppy Tooker, Treme writer Lolis Eric Elie, CNN Hero Derick Tabb and fisherman Lance Nacio sit together at a table, they're going to talk with their mouths and their hearts full.

Watch the video and share your fondest New Orleans memories and your favorite restaurant tips in the comments below.
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A toast to Leah Chase
February 22nd, 2011
08:30 PM ET
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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 last Thursday. 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 88 year old "Queen of Creole Cuisine" has words to share, they tend to be worth hearing.
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Lunchtime poll – how goes your gumbo?
February 18th, 2011
12:45 PM ET
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You know you're at a table full of New Orleanians when there's a 20-minute conversation about gumbo.

How dark should the roux be? Do you use file? Can you put meat in a seafood gumbo? (Scandal! John Besh went back and put okra and andouille into James Carville's mother's seafood gumbo recipe because he thought it was too thin! Mary Matalin applauded that move.) Is is really gumbo if there's no okra? Why does any of this matter?
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