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October 10, 2005

Rest In Peace Austin Leslie

I have to admit that I never met Austin Leslie. When I lived in New Orleans, I didn't have any money, so I didn't get to eat out much. To me, Austin was just a striking oil painting on a column under an overpass near the French Quarter. I shot this picture of him last year when I was wandering aimlessly around the country. The painting caught my eye, but I never knew who the man was, or even if he was real. That is until tonight when I saw a photo of someone parading through the streets of New Orleans with a this photograph of Austin.

As it turns out, Austin Leslie was a New Orleans chef, famous for his creole soul food kitchen, Chez Helene. Austin had closed his restaurant a while back, and was working most recently at Pampy's Creole Kitchen. Austin was rescued from his roof and evacuated to the Superdome, and then to Atlanta, where he died of a heart attack on September 29th, a month after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.

Yet another sad loss in the unfolding tragedy that is New Orleans. Rest in peace, Austin.

Update: NOLA has a slideshow of Austin Leslie's Jazz Funeral.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on October 10, 2005 at 12:59 AM


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