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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: August 2019

Chapter 24 - Asian American New Orleans

Summary

Among the most well-known contemporary portrayals of Asian American New Orleans are the writings of Robert Olen Butler and the depictions of Vietnamese Americans rebounding from Hurricane Katrina that, in the broader Louisianan imagination, attest to the city’s multicultural and resilient heritage. However, a longer, more complex history of race, labor, and culture can link the city to the Pacific Ocean and thereby reconfigure traditional transatlantic and Caribbean racial and cultural geometries. A radical – rather than simply multicultural – archive more effectively advances understandings of New Orleans that are attentive to both overlooked sources and the material contexts that shape how knowledge about the city is produced. A radical archive would go well beyond the short fiction of Robert Olen Butler and the depictions of Katrina-era Vietnamese Americans to afford an understanding of Asian New Orleans.