Celebrating Leah’s upcoming 90th year! Leah Chase Gala on April 23. Exhibition opens April 24. Opens April 24, 2012. On view through September 9, 2012 on the Second Floor Louisiana Galleries.

Earlier this year, we asked Leah how she wanted to mark the beginning of her ninth decade. Her answer? “With fine food, friends and art!” Please join us for just such a celebration from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Monday, April 23, 2012 at the New Orleans Museum of Art for a Gala preview of the exhibition Leah Chase: Paintings by Gustave Blache III. The Gala will also inaugurate the Leah Chase Art Purchase Fund for the acquisition of works of art by African American artists.

The Gala will honor Leah’s life and legacy. As a talented and tireless chef, Leah began working at Dooky Chase Restaurant after her 1945 marriage to Dooky Chase, Jr. son of the original owner. During the civil rights movement, the restaurant was renowned as a gathering place for civil rights activists and community leaders. Today it continues to serve as a favorite destination for cultural, civil and culinary leaders. Leah Chase is a pillar of the New Orleans community, having contributed in countless ways to the cultural fabric of the city. She is famed for both her expertise in the kitchen and a life-long advocacy for the arts, particularly by African American artists. For many years she has also been a Trustee of the New Orleans Museum of Art.

In honor of Leah’s longstanding contributions to the city of New Orleans, Gustave Blache III features this talented and tireless chef in his intimate painting series of 20 works. Blache, a New Orleans-raised artist, aims to capture a behind-the-scenes view of the restaurant business. It is in this scenario that Leah is in her element, stirring her concoctions, ordering supplies, and greeting restaurant guests. Thus, Blache captures an authentic presentation of one of New Orleans most important icons.

Leah Chase: Paintings by Gustave Blache III is on display from April 24th through September 9th. The exhibition is sponsored by Richard C. Colton Jr. and Liberty Bank and Trust.

We hope you will join us at this extraordinary event as we celebrate Leah Chase on Monday, April 23, 6-8p.m. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased by visiting www.noma.org.