- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 15, 2013

Paula Deen held back tears Saturday as she was met by a standing ovation during her appearance at the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show in Houston.

It was her first public appearance since she settled a racial discrimination lawsuit filed against her in Georgia.

“These are tears of joy, y’all,” Miss Deen told the audience, according to the Houston Chronicle. “I’ve said all along that the one place I’d want to make my first step back out is Texas. Y’all’s hearts are as big as your state.”

The former Food Network star has faced tough scrutiny since admitting in a May deposition for a lawsuit she had used the N-word in the past. Since she issued a public apology, the 66-year-old has been fired from the network.

In a devastating blow, J.C. Penney, Target, Walgreens, Sears, Kmart, QVC, Smithfield Foods, Walmart, Home Depot and casino giant Caesar’s Entertainment all followed suit by ending their partnerships with Miss Deen.

This was Miss Deen’s third year appearing at the Houston show. She put on two cooking demonstrations with sons Bobby and Jamie Deen, who also have cooking shows, cookbooks and their own followings, the Chronicle reported.

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