Advertisement

Culture, Gender, and Vulnerability in a Vietnamese Refugee Community: Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

  • Gennie Thi Nguyen
Chapter

Abstract

Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast of the United States, including the city of New Orleans, on August 29, 2005. Although New Orleans is famous for its French Quarter, Mardi Gras celebrations, riverboats, music, and Creole culture and cuisine, few people are aware of its vibrant Vietnamese community. This paper describes how the Vietnamese community of New Orleans East, an area locally known as Versailles, was affected by Hurricane Katrina and why the task of rebuilding community in Versailles was distinct from rebuilding other areas of the city. In Vietnamese, the word for water, nuoc, also means ‘country’; this linguistic metaphor indicates the great symbolic importance of ‘water’ and ‘home’, especially for a group of displaced people. Environmental changes after the storm, particularly in access to clean water, affected key cultural components of the Versailles Vietnamese community.

Keywords

Displace People Vietnamese Community Roma People Vietnamese Refugee Environmental Racism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Airriess, C.A., and D.L. Clawson. 1991. Versailles: A Vietnamese enclave in New Orleans, Louisiana. Journal of Cultural Geography 12(1): 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Airriess, C., and Clawson, D.L. 1994. Vietnamese market gardens in New Orleans, Louisiana. Geographical Review 84(1): 16–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Airriess, C. 2002. Creating Vietnamese landscapes and place in New Orleans. In Geographical identities of ethnic America: Race, space, and place, ed. Kate L. Berry and Martha L. Henderson, 228–254. Reno/Las Vegas: University of Nevada Press.Google Scholar
  4. Airriess, C., Li, W., Leong, K.J., Chen, A.C., and Keith, V.M. 2008. Church-based social capital, networks, and geographical scale: Katrina evacuation, relocation, and recovery in a New Orleans Vietnamese American community. Geoforum, 39(3): 1333–1346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bullard, Robert. 1993. Confronting environmental racism: Voices from the grassroots. Boston: Southview Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bullard, Robert, and Beverly Wright. 2009. Race, place, and environmental justice after Hurricane Katrina. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  7. Checker, Melissa. 2005. Polluted promises: Environmental racism and the search for justice in a southern town. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Eaton, L. 2006. A new landfill in New Orleans sets off a battle. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/08/us/08landfill.html. Accessed 15 July 2006.
  9. Haughton, Natalie. 2006. The flavors of Vietnam. Daily News. http://www.dailynews.com/food/ci_4431504. Accessed 5 Dec 2006.Google Scholar
  10. Kalick, S. 1984. Ethnic foodways in America: Symbol and the performance of identity. In Ethnic and regional foodways in the United States, ed. L.K. Brown and K. Mussel, 37–65. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.Google Scholar
  11. Kaplan, Rachel. 1973. Some psychological benefits of gardening. Environment and Behavior 5: 145–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kemp, G. Paul. 2006. Geological analysis of Chef Menteur Landfill site, Orleans Parish, Louisiana. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, School of the Coast and Environment.Google Scholar
  13. Luther, Linda. 2006. Disaster debris removal after Hurricane Katrina. CRS Report for Congress. New Orleans: The Library of Congress.Google Scholar
  14. Lydersen, Kari. 2009. Landfill worries cloud hope for New Orleans gardens. The Washington Post, July 4. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/03/AR2009070302436.html. Accessed 4 July 2009.
  15. Marino, Katherine. 1998. Women Vietnamese refugees in the United States: Maintaining balance between two cultures. The History Teacher 32(1): 90–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Pardue, John H. 2006. Anticipating environmental problems facing hurricane debris landfills in New Orleans East. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, Louisiana Water Resources Research Institute.Google Scholar
  17. Roberts, Alden E., and Paul D. Starr. 1982. Community structure and Vietnamese refugee adaptation: The significance of context. International Migration Review 13(3): 595–618.Google Scholar
  18. Tang, Eric. 2009. On alternative citizenships: The Vietnamese Americans of Black New Orleans East. Presented at American Crossroads Conference: Migration, Communities, and Race. University of Texas, Austin. 16 Apr.Google Scholar
  19. Trang, Corinne. 1999. Authentic Vietnamese cooking. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  20. Wood, Joseph. 1997. Vietnamese place making in North Virginia. Geographical Review 87(1): 58–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA

Personalised recommendations