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Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage and History This May

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and to celebrate, we’re taking a look through our City Archives & Special Collections to honor the history and heritage of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the New Orleans area.

These two photos are from 1906, which show the shrimp platforms of Manila Village –– a settlement of Chinese and Filipino sailors, fishermen, and laborers located on an island in Barataria Bay established in the 1870s.

The photos –– showing Quong Son Platform and Chung Fat Platform, respectively –– were taken on July 7, 1906, during a day trip to Grand Isle to celebrate the New Orleans Horticultural Society’s 21st anniversary.

These are some of the only known photographs documenting the raised shrimp platforms of Manila Village, which was destroyed in 1965 during Hurricane Betsy. The location is now underwater, but Manila Village’s influence on the shrimping industry, as well as its now-common stilted homes, would prove long-lasting.

Louisiana is also believed to be home to one of the United States’ first permanent Asian American settlements. Called Saint Malo, the fishing village was established in the 1830s on the eastern shore of Lake Borgne. It was destroyed by a hurricane in 1915.

Mark J. Sinclair photographed this man and woman in 1978 for his 1985 exposition “First Decade: The Vietnamese and Lao in Louisiana.” The couple are pictured standing in front of an altar inside their home in Versailles, an unincorporated area in Chalmette that is home to many Vietnamese immigrants

Our Vertical Files and Local Serials Collection holds thousands of magazines, comic books, flyers, and other publications, including this program from the 1984 Asian/Pacific American Heritage Festival, which took place during the infamous 1984 World’s Fair. 

It also contains issues of “Dat Hua,” a local Vietnamese-language magazine that listed resources for community organizations provided by the Associated Catholic Charities.

You can also celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with these book selections that highlight the culture, heritage, and experiences across the Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian diaspora:

Grades K-3: Spotlight on Asian American & Pacific Islander Stories

Grades 4-6: Spotlight on Asian American & Pacific Islander Stories

Teen Recs: Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month for Adult Readers

Thank you to our partners at VAYLA for helping us celebrate Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian heritage, culture, and history all year long. 

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