NOLA and Nam

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It's ancient in blog years, but last week The Times-Picayune ran a great story about FEMA-hating Catholic Vietnamese immigrants in eastern New Orleans. The community–much of it comprised of actual refugees–has rebuilt and repopulated more quickly than the surrounding neighborhoods:

A drive through eastern New Orleans can be thoroughly depressing. Abandoned businesses with shattered signs and homes with punched-out windows line silent streets.

It can be difficult for outsiders to get their bearings in this part of the city because there has been no concerted effort to replace many of the street signs that Hurricane Katrina ripped away.

All that changes, though, in the neighborhood surrounding Mary Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church. Cars line the streets, homes are occupied, and 3,000 people show up for Mass on Sundays….

"We are libertarians in a sense," [Rev. Vien The] Nguyen, 42, said. "Our request for the government is to get out of the way. If you offer us help, we appreciate that, but don't impede us."

HT: Fran Smith.

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  1. What…no give me a $2000 debit card….no let me live a moldy FEMA trailer…..What in gods name is wrong with these people!?!

  2. Oops apparently they did want the trailers…..Note to self; read articles before I comment!

  3. I hope FEMA doesn’t read the article.

    FEMA might just decide that they had to ‘help’ those people.

  4. For all that I am a reason-loving (and Reason-loving!), unbelieving, ex-Catholic of the cradle variety, it behooves us to remember that religious congregations are among Burke’s “little platoons” that can do the work of building communities voluntarily. When they stand outside or against the state they are bastions of human freedom, and much less dangerous than the bureacracies beloved of the progressives and their modern descendents.

    Of course, when the churches get too entangled with the government, they become freedom’s enemy, and even then we have to see where we are on a scale of horribles: Sabbath blue laws to Caeseropapism to Outright Theocracy.

    Kevin

  5. I note with temendous irony that this suggests it may have been necessary to destroy New Orleans in order to save it.

    Good going, Maryites!

  6. I note with temendous irony that this suggests it may have been necessary to destroy New Orleans in order to save it.

    Good going, Maryites!

  7. Yeah, Kevin,

    The fact that the Catholic churches from who knows where, (and I venture the sources were Vietnamese in nature), sent help to St. Mary’s, (the people who needed it rather than to some central bureaucracy and it’s diluting machinations), strikes me as being the very thing America was built on. And the fact of the initiative, (spelled self-help), displayed by the St Mary’s community further tells me what can be done when there is a will to do it. All without the multilayered, time-consuming, turf-battle-driven, me-first attitudes that make up the government policies, (federal, state and local), we see all over the landscape, (uh, , , the rest of New Orleans), today.

    And remember, Mayor Ray Nagin moved his family to Dallas even before the water reached it’s crest down there, so at least his mind is not on providing for them any more.

    Besides, Louisiana’s senior Senator Mary Landrieu is still on record lamenting “The Mayors of cities all over the country have trouble getting their people to work on sunny days, let alone during a crisis”. So with all that going for them, I’d say the St Mary’s community did it all in pure self defense.

    Good on them.

    But through it all, you’re probably right. We really ought to worry about one Vietnamese neighborhood’s “Faith Based” recovery effort after a hurricane turning into an eventual theocratic attack on the government itself…

  8. I think the real irony is that the city that’s been portrayed so often as the U.S.’s Sodom-on-the-Mississippi is now essentially being required to use faith-based initiatives for its recovery.

    By the way, I found this site which addresses the racial component to recovery efforts (which seems to have fallen out of the current news cycles a bit) in a pretty funny (if offensive)way.
    http://www.adoptblackgirls.com

  9. I wonder, who among our legions of Catholic Church hating commenters wants to criticize what is going on here? How many of them would have turned down help from the Church to rebuild their neighborhood?

  10. >>>>I think the real irony is that the city that’s been portrayed so often as the U.S.’s Sodom-on-the-Mississippi is now essentially being required to use faith-based initiatives for its recovery.>>>>

    I agree. It has to be a heart of pure steel to deny anything to an orphan, even when the orphan has just committed patricide.

    And thanks for the link. Let’s all hurry down to NO and, as one of the captions says, “buy” us a black girl. Other than that, the entire website reads as if it were, (typically), the work of victims feeding off victims.

  11. Are you surprised? If the Viets wernt as resourceful, resiliant, and hard working as they are, you would still have to be Catholic & speak French to get a job in Viet Namese civil service……..

  12. “How many of them would have turned down help from the Church to rebuild their neighborhood?”

    just to be a dick, i’ll suggest that the local parish and the vatican may be separate entities.

    this is good stuff, regardless.

  13. I’d venture to say that anyone who survived the Vietnam War, and the brutal Communist regime, would have to be incredibly resilient. What is a hurricane compared to man-made calamities?

  14. This is just another instance of an insular immigrant community refusing to assimilate proper American social norms and behaviors. They should wait for the government to help them, for Pete’s sake.

  15. Damn. Rev. Vien The Nguyen isn’t eligible to run for president.

  16. Since the storm, “it’s not the act of God that we struggle with,” he said. “It’s the human acts. It’s what people have done to impede our recovery.”

    George Bush doesn’t care about Vietnamese people.

  17. dhex hits the nail on the head.

    But P. Brooks has the best comment in the thread.

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