Philanthropist and Lawyer Loida Nicolas Lewis (Global FWN100™ '13) featured in the New York Times

 Image credit:  New York Times .

Image credit: New York Times.

The philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis grew up by the sea, in Sorsogon, in the Philippines, listening to her father bargain with fishermen for sapsap (ponyfish) and “fresh shrimp, still jumping.” But the first time she tasted lobster was at Max’s Kansas City, the artist and punk refuge in downtown Manhattan.

This was in 1969. Andy Warhol may have been in the back room. No matter: Ms. Lewis had eyes only for her date and soon-to-be husband, Reginald F. Lewis, and the lobster. It cost $4.95. She ate it down to the shells.

Mr. Lewis, a corporate lawyer who would go on to be hailed as the first African-American to head a billion-dollar company, watched her, mesmerized. (His life is chronicled in the book “Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?”) He didn’t fancy lobster himself. “Too much work,” recalled Ms. Lewis, now 72.

Ever since, Ms. Lewis has served lobster to family and friends visiting from the Philippines, to share her discovery. Her Fifth Avenue apartment, overlooking Central Park, is equipped with silver picks and crackers, for wresting every scrap of flesh, and disposable plastic bibs bearing a life-size image of the creature about to be devoured.

A former immigration lawyer, Ms. Lewis helped found the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and multiplied the profits of her husband’s business, TLC Beatrice International, after his death, at age 50, in 1993.

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News story from New York Times.