Witching Hour

I really ought to sleep (“v. , v. bad,” as the fictitious Bridget Jones would say). It’s a combination of writers’ block (regarding certain writings I’m working on) vs. excess creative overdrive/ineffective creative overdrive in the fiction writing side of me.

So, I checked out Google, typing in “asian americans and gulf region,” as I was curious to see what’s the news on Asian Americans affected by Hurricane Katrina (and I recalled watching Nightline’s coverage of the New Orleans convention center disaster and noticing Asians in a clip; and, yes, disregarding the fact that typing in “Gulf” was more likely giving me Persian Gulf stuff). I mean, really – Asians have lived down there for awhile, dating back to the early Filipino sailors who got stuck in Louisiana back in the 1700/1800’s. But, anyway, so I found some interesting stuff. Dallas Morning News has this great article, by an Elizabeth Wu:

For days now, we have been watching news reports of how Hurricane Katrina has ravaged the Gulf Coast. We have seen pictures of the tens of thousands who have been relocated throughout Texas.

The evacuees include Asian-Americans, who have a long history in the coastal region.

One of the first known Filipino settlements in America was established in the 1700s in St. Malo in the bayous near New Orleans. According to historians, these early settlers were called Manilamen and may have been deserters from Spanish galleons that sailed along the Gulf Coast. Newspaper accounts of these Filipino enclaves were reported as early as 1883.

The first Chinese arrived in Mississippi during Reconstruction immediately after the Civil War. Relations already were strained between the black freed men and the white landowners. Because the labor system had been broken, planters recruited the Chinese as possible replacements for slaves. By 1880, census records showed 51 Chinese living in Mississippi.

Those early settlers opened the door for many other Asian-Americans – including many Southeast Asians who, in the 1970s, were lured by the fishing industry to the coastal region.

Today, according to the census, Asian-Americans make up 1.2 percent of Louisiana’s population. Of that estimate, 2.3 percent lived in New Orleans and 2.6 percent in Baton Rouge. Mississippi reports less than 1 percent of its population as Asian-American. But in Biloxi, Miss., one of the cities hardest hit by Katrina, 5.1 percent of the city population is Asian-American. [….]

Apparently, one of the big concerns is a need for translators.

Google also popped up a link to this APA blog, which posted some interesting stuff on South Asians down in the Gulf region – the Bangladeshi foreign students of the universities of the region, among other members of the Bangladeshi community, are getting anxious as to their status and to rebuild their lives. The blog also posted concern about what’s happening to the Vietnamese community.

Since a number of the Asian American evacuees have made it to Houston, the APA groups of Houston are setting up funds to help.

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