Members of the Treme Brass Band perform during a second line tribute to chef Leah Chase at Louis Armstrong International Airport in Kenner, La., Wednesday, June 5, 2019.

Perhaps no one understood the power of breaking bread together better than Leah Chase. For decades, her kitchen was a refuge for artists, leaders, people fighting oppression, and families looking for a delicious home-cooked meal. It remains a main attraction today. As we celebrate her remarkable life, my wife Donna and I are blessed to have been able to call her a friend.

She found out that my favorite meal is liver and onions with grits and biscuits, and every time we visited Dooky Chase's, she would insist on making it for me. I’ll always cherish sitting in her kitchen while she chopped onions and we chatted about this great state we both love. Leah was a woman of strong faith with a genuine desire to help people. She brought people of all races together, and it was over her gumbo and fried chicken that civil rights leaders paved the way for justice and equality. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she never gave up on the dream she spent decades building. The Queen of Creole Cuisine served so much more than great food to the city of New Orleans — she fed our hearts and souls. Thank you, Leah.

John Bel Edwards