Disney Honors Leah Chase With Visit to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

Disney Honors Leah Chase With Visit to Tiana's Bayou Adventure chef-leah-chase

We’re getting closer and closer every day to the opening of the Tiana’s Bayou Adventure attraction in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World! Today, Disney shared the touching story about the incredible woman whose personal journey in life inspired Princess Tiana in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ The Princess and the Frog and Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, and it’s a must-read for any Disney fan.

Leah Chase, the renowned chef and former owner of Dooky Chase’s, strived to serve her community through her culinary talents and by fostering inclusivity. With her creativity and strong determination, she elevated a sandwich shop in Tremé into one of the nation’s pioneering African American fine dining destinations at Dooky Chase’s in New Orleans.

The story begins in 1941 when Dooky Chase’s Restaurant opened its doors for the first time as a family-run po’boy stand. Founded by Emily and Dooky Chase Sr., the store was opened with the intention of providing good food to the New Orleans community, but later became so much more. In 1946, Leah married Dooky Chase Jr., and saw the up-and-coming restaurant as a playground for innovation. Starting out as a cook, Leah slowly infused her family’s famous Creole recipes into the menu and helped grow the po’boy stand into the famous sit-down restaurant it is today. With her influence, Dooky Chase’s has attracted the likes of all who visit New Orleans including celebrities and politicians like Beyoncé, former President George W. Bush and former President Barack Obama.

Chef Leah Chase passed away in 2019, but her and her family’s legacy continue to live on, including through the development of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. If you listen closely in the attraction’s queue, you may hear one of Leah’s daughters, Leah Chase Jr., cover the Louis Armstrong song, ‘Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?’.

Disney Honors Leah Chase With Visit to Tiana's Bayou Adventure dooky-chase-sign-disney-imagineers

Leah’s other daughter… Stella Chase Reese, has been a key contact for Walt Disney Imagineering throughout our research for the attraction. In 2021, Charita Carter, Ted Robledo and I sat down with her to discuss the importance of bringing New Orleans’ culture to life and continuing to tell her mother’s – and Tiana’s – story. Since then, we have made it our commitment to honor the Chase family and the city of New Orleans in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

Recently during a trip to California, we gave Stella and her daughter, Myla Reese Poree, a sneak peek of the progress at Walt Disney Imagineering Campus and we’re thrilled to share the continuation of Tiana’s story being told in a new way. When Stella saw some of the Audio-Animatronics figures, she said, ‘My mom would be ecstatic…to see Disney take her talents and her values and use them in Tiana.’



Senior Editor for the DIS and DCL Fan | Disney Vacation Club Member | Thrilled to have been a '13/'14 Disney Parks Moms Panelist (now planDisney) | Lover of all things Disney; the Magic of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disney Cruise Line | ºoº


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