An online petition to erect a memorial to the late chef Leah Chase at Lee Circle — and to rename it "Leah's Circle" — has received more than 1,250 signatures in less than 24 hours.
The petition was created by Brent Rosen, President and CEO of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB), and says SoFAB would cover the costs of creation and installation.
"We have an empty space at Lee's Circle in New Orleans," the petition reads. "There is no better New Orleanian to honor at the circle than Leah Chase. We should honor Mrs. Chase and her legacy by making it 'Leah Chase's Circle.' A statue of Leah Chase would bring all New Orleanians together in honor of one of our greatest culture bearers."
Among the reasons listed by the signatories:
"I’m signing because positive, influential New Orleanians should have the landmarks."
"As a woman who grew up in Louisiana and works in a kitchen, Leah Chase is an inspiration, not only for her culinary achievements, but also her support for both civil rights and the arts. A true hero of New Orleans."
"Replace racists with strong New Orleans role models. Helps, too, that the names are so similar people only have to change their inflection. Love this idea!"
Others on Twitter don't argue with the idea of a permanent memorial to Chase, who died June 1 at 96, but suggest that Lee Circle is not the appropriate place:
What’s funny is the one person who wouldn’t want Lee Circle renamed after her is probably Leah Chase... she was so humble.— JC (@AccidentalCajun) June 6, 2019
Anything honoring Chef Leah should be in Treme.— Shecky (@Adrastosno) June 6, 2019
There's an awesome memorial to her folks should consider checking out, at the corner of Orleans and Miro. Opens at 11 a.m. several days a week.— David Lee Simmons (@dlsnola504) June 6, 2019
What do you think? Should Lee Circle become Leah's Circle?