Lena Richards was the “Martha Stewart” of her time.

Lena Richards was the “Martha Stewart” of her time.
Lena Richard (1892-1950) was born in the small town of New Roads , Louisiana, about 35 miles upriver from Baton Rouge. She was born into a Catholic Creole family. She moved to New Orleans as a teenager, where she and her mother worked for a wealthy white family. The family was fond of Lena, and sent her to a local cooking school, then to Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School.
She returned to New Orleans and made a name for herself. In the 1920’s she opened up she opened of a catering business from her home where she made red beans and rice plus sandwiches. She eventually opened up a sweet shop on North Derbigny Street. Following that she opened a cooking school, and several small restaurants. She also had her own line of frozen food dinners. She ran these businesses with her daughter Marie Richard. In 1940, with a push from James Beard, her New Orleans Cook Book was published. In 1949, Lena became one of the first TV chefs, appearing on the local New Orleans station, WDSU, twice a week until her unexpected death in 1950. Chef Lena Richard accomplished so much especially being a women of color in the Jim Crow era.

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