Austin Leslie

New Orleans Chef

Austin Leslie, 71, the New Orleans chef whose Chez Helene soul food restaurant inspired the short-lived television show "Frank's Place" in the 1980s, died Sept. 29 in Atlanta, where he went after being rescued from Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters.

The cause of death had not been determined, said Vincent Sylvain, a publicist for the restaurant.

Until Katrina struck Aug. 29, Mr. Leslie had been working at Pampy's Creole Kitchen, which shut down after the floods. Mr. Leslie, whose trademark was a white ship-captain's hat, was well known in New Orleans for his fried chicken when the TV show was developed. It was loosely based on Chez Helene, a hideaway that drew people from across the city for Mr. Leslie's fried chicken, stuffed peppers, gumbo and seafood dishes.

Mr. Leslie expanded into a second restaurant, then opened a third in Chicago. He declared bankruptcy in 1989 and eventually closed Chez Helene in 1994.

Joseph Smagorinsky


Joseph Smagorinsky, 88, a meteorologist who developed influential methods for predicting weather and climate change, died Sept. 21 at a nursing home in Skillman, N.J. He had Parkinson's disease.

It was long theorized that observational weather data could be plugged into mathematical equations to predict what would come next. But that theory could not fully be put into practice until the 1950s, when computers became sophisticated enough to handle the complicated math. Mr. Smagorinsky did much of that early work.

Mr. Smagorinsky, along with Norman Phillips, former principal scientist with the National Weather Service, won the 2003 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth Science for studies that led to the first computer models of weather and climate. He also was an early leader in using data to predict long-term climate change, including global warming.

He held several positions with the U.S. Weather Bureau before founding the General Circulation Research Section in Washington in 1955. The federally operated facility was renamed the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in 1963, five years before it was moved to Princeton University's Forrestal campus.

Olga de Alaketu

Candomble High Priestess

Olga de Alaketu, 80, the high priestess of one the oldest temples of the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomble, died of complications from diabetes at a hospital in Rio de Janeiro.

Ms. Alaketu presided over the Ile Maroia Laji terreiro, as Candomble temples are known. The temple, established in 1636, was one of the oldest in the coastal city of Salvador da Bahia, where the religion is based. This year, the temple was declared a national heritage site by Brazil's Culture Ministry.

Historians said Ms. Alaketu was a fifth-generation descendant of the royal family of Aro, from present-day Benin. Her family members were brought to Brazil as slaves and were instrumental in establishing Candomble in Brazil.

Candomble is an animist religion brought over with slaves, mostly from Nigeria and Benin. Followers incorporate spirits in ceremonies filled with music and dancing that often last throughout the night. The ceremonies can also involve animal sacrifices. For many years, Candomble was banned in Brazil, and its followers practiced their religion by worshipping the Orixas -- the gods of their African ancestors -- disguised as Catholic saints.

In the 1980s, spurred on by a growing black pride movement, Candomble distanced itself from Catholicism, eliminating saints and worshipping the Orixas directly.

Patrick Caulfield

British Artist

Patrick Caulfield, 69, an artist noted for his spare, precise studies of interiors and still life, died Sept. 29 of cancer in London.

He told an interviewer in 1999 that his interest in interiors developed in art school as a reaction against social realism. "So I tried to do things that were really alien to me, invented interiors that I had never seen," he said. "I tended to choose things that were slightly past, out of fashion, which would make it more distant."

His 1996 painting "Happy Hour" shows a light, a wine glass and an exit sign.

He also illustrated a volume of verse by French poet Jules Laforgue.