Multicultural History
 

Vietnamese History in New Orleans

Vietnamese refugees
Vietnamese refugees holding a copy of the boat that carried them to freedom
Mardi Gras Indian
For many Vietnamese immigrants in the mid-70s, New Orleans tropical climate felt like home.
Tet Festival, Mary Queen of Vietnam
Tet Festival at Mary, Queen of Vietnam Church in New Orleans East

Escaping the incoming Communist regime at the end of the Vietnam War, many Vietnamese fled to America in the mid-1970s, and quite a large number settled in Louisiana. Recent figures put the New Orleans Vietnamese population at 14,000, making our city host to the largest, most vibrant Vietnamese community in the state.

Background

Why New Orleans of all places? For one, the sub-tropical climate and proximity to water appealed many Vietnamese immigrants. Also, many newcomers after the Vietman War were Catholic, and both New Orleans and national Catholic charities were spearheading efforts to help new residents find jobs and housing in the city.

Many Vietnamese settled in the newer, suburban parts of the city, particularly in New Orleans East but also in parts of Algiers, Avondale, and other places on the West Bank. As their local population grew, the Vietnamese community spread to other neighborhoods and began to revitalize these areas.

Upon arriving, the immigrants took whatever work they could find, in factories, in the service industry, or by doing odd jobs. As they became more established, many opened small businesses like restaurants, grocery stores, beauty and nail salons, and gift shops. Others moved to places like Grand Isle and Empire in Plaquemines Parish to help grow the fishing and shrimping trades.

Recovery

The cohesiveness and resilience of New Orleans’ Vietnamese was proven after Hurricane Katrina decimated much of New Orleans East, including the large Vietnamese neighborhood called Versailles. The Vietnamese were among the first to return to begin rebuilding their neighborhoods, giving momentum to rebuilding efforts in the East and the rest of the city. Many Vietnamese feel the experience has brought the community even closer together.

Today

The children of the first Vietnamese immigrants have grown up in New Orleans, attending local schools and universities, and continuing to help our city thrive. But all generations of the Vietnamese community remain bonded by language, shared experiences, and the close family ties valued by their culture, much of which they share with the rest of the city.

The city also celebrates Tet Festival, or Vietnamese New Year, every year to enjoy the Lunar New Year and ancient traditions of Vietnamese heritage.

To get a taste of Vietnamese culture in New Orleans, check out the following venues:

New Orleans Vietnamese Restaurants
Ba Chi Canteen
7900 Maple St., New Orleans, LA 70118 [Map It]
(504) 373-5628

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $$
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Vietnamese, Vegan

Description: Ba Chi Canteen is a Vietnamese Restaurant with multicultural influences. Ba Chi provides customers with traditional and non-traditional Vietnamese dishes that are guaranteed to excite your taste buds and leave you wanting more. The menu at Ba Chi is diverse, inspired by Korean, Thai, and other Asian flavors and cooking techniques. Locals rave about the shrimp covered in egg noodles and the grilled corn on the cob cut like a sushi roll and topped with crawfish. The restaurant is BYOB, but customers love the traditional Vietnamese coffee that is a Ba Chi specialty.
Ba Mien Restaurant
13235 Chef Menteur Hwy., Suite C, New Orleans, LA 70129 [Map It]
(504) 255-0500
www.bamien.com

Neighborhood: Gentilly/New Orleans East/Chalmette
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Vietnamese
Booty's Street Food
800 Louisa St., New Orleans, LA 70117 [Map It]
(504) 266-2887
bootysnola.com

Neighborhood: Faubourg Marigny/Bywater
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $$
Open For: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: African, Indian, Vegetarian, Vietnamese, International, Tapas/Small Plates, Breakfast, Latin American

Description: Get a taste of the world in Bywater, where Booty’s offers street food favorites from places like Vietnam, Greece and El Salvador. Tapas-style small plates pair well with globally-inspired cocktails, like the Jetlag Brazil. While there, check out some of the more interesting restrooms in NOLA. Bywaterloo, a monthly rotating art installation, invites artists to transform the space into something otherworldly.
Cafe Minh
4139 Canal St., New Orleans, LA 70116 [Map It]
(504) 482-6266

Neighborhood: Mid-City
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $$$
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Vietnamese
Dong Phuong
14207 Chef Menteur Hwy., New Orleans, LA 70129 [Map It]
(504) 254-0296

Neighborhood: Gentilly/New Orleans East/Chalmette
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $
Open For: Lunch (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Chinese, Vietnamese
Doson's Noodle House
135 N Carrollton Ave., New Orleans, LA 70119 [Map It]
(504) 309-7283

Neighborhood: Mid-City
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $$
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Vietnamese
Jazmine Cafe
614 S. Carrollton Ave., New Orleans, LA 70118 [Map It]
(504) 866-9301
www.jazminecafe.com

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Vegetarian, Vietnamese, Vegan
Lilly's Cafe
1813 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70130 [Map It]
(504) 599-9999

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Vegetarian, Vietnamese, Vegan

Description: Many visitors to the city are unaware of the thriving Vietnamese population in New Orleans. The city is filled with quality Vietnamese restaurants, such as Lilly’s Café, which locals rave has some of the best food and service in NOLA. Lilly’s Café is a quaint, reasonably priced restaurant that serves a variety of traditional Vietnamese dishes, including pho, spring rolls, and banh mi (customers claim the peanut dipping sauce is addictive). The menu is vegan and vegetarian friendly and also offers gluten-free alternatives to meet all dietary requests.
Little Korea
3301 S. Claiborne Ave., New Orleans, LA 70125 [Map It]
(504) 821-5006

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $$
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Vietnamese, International

Description: Little Korea is a quick service restaurant that serves Korean BBQ and Asian cuisine. Customers claim that the wait staff is attentive and friendly, and the food is good quality. Be sure to try the BBQ ribs and vegetable pho!
Lost Love Lounge
2529 Dauphine St., New Orleans, LA 70117 [Map It]
(504) 949-2009
www.lostlovelounge.com

Neighborhood: Faubourg Marigny/Bywater
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $
Open For: Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Vietnamese

Description: Located in the heart of the Faubourg Marigny, and reputed as one of the oldest taverns in the neighborhood, Lost Love Lounge is well known among locals as a favorite spot to grab drinks any night of the week. The Lounge hosts several fun events weekly, including comedy nights on Tuesdays, a spelling bee on Wednesdays, and massages or manicures on Thursdays. Lost Love Lounge also sports a Vietnamese kitchen, serving authentic Asian-inspired small plates all night.
Magasin Vietnamese Cafe
4201 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115 [Map It]
(504) 896-7611
www.magasincafe.com

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Vegetarian, Vietnamese, Vegan

Description: Locals flock to this Vietnamese café for simple, pitch perfect classics like banh mi, fresh-rolled spring rolls and pho. Reasonable prices and celebrated food make this a great place to catch a meal as you explore the city.
Mopho
514 City Park Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119 [Map It]
(504) 482-6845
www.mophonola.com

Neighborhood: Mid-City
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $$
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Vietnamese, Contemporary, International, Vegan

Description: Southeast Asia by way of New Orleans. Brought to Mid-City by Chef Michael Gulotta.
Namese Vietnamese Cafe
4077 Tulane Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119 [Map It]
(504) 483-8899
www.namese.net

Neighborhood: Mid-City
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $$
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Vegetarian, Vietnamese, Vegan

Description: Classic Vietnamese cuisine inspired by New Orleans
Pho Bang
14367 Chef Menteur Hwy., New Orleans, LA 70129 [Map It]
(504) 254-3929

Neighborhood: Gentilly/New Orleans East/Chalmette
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Vietnamese

Description: Open daily with casual Vietnamese food.
Pho Noi Viet
2005 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70130 [Map It]
(504) 522-3399

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Vegetarian, Vietnamese, Vegan
Viet Orleans Bistro
300 Baronne St., New Orleans, LA 70112 [Map It]
(504) 333-6917

Neighborhood: Central Business District/Downtown
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $$
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Vietnamese, Sushi
 
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