‘Today’ Co-Host Hoda Kotb Mourns the Death of a ‘New Orleans Treasure’

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Today co-host Hoda Kotb started her week on Monday (June 3) dealing with the unfortunate news that acclaimed New Orleans chef Leah Chase had died.

[RELATED: “Today” Anchor Hoda Kotb Adopts Second Daughter, Hope Catherine]

“Leah Chase was a New Orleans treasure,” Kotb wrote on her Instagram page alongside a series of pictures of Chase. “That smile. …. that incredible smile ..just thinking.. I never once remember seeing her without it. She won many awards for her cooking .. she entertained presidents ..but more than all that … her hugs… she hugged you the way your mom would. New Orleans will never be the same.”

According to NPR, Chase passed away Saturday (June 1) at the age of 96. She served as executive chef and co-owner of Dooky Chase’s restaurant, an establishment that served everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to Nat King Cole to President George W. Bush through the years.

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“Mrs. Chase was a strong and selfless matriarch,” a statement from her family read. “Her daily joy was not simply cooking, but preparing meals to bring people together. One of her most prized contributions was advocating for the Civil Rights Movement through feeding those on the front lines of the struggle for human dignity.

We send our condolences to all those mourning Chase’s death.

She sounded like an amazing woman if you ask us.