Community-Led Housing Development Village de L'Est
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
At the far eastern edge of New Orleans, a Vietnamese American community—Village de L’Est—has gained national attention for their resilience in the face of the environmental, political, economic, and social upheaval that was Hurricane Katrina. The community’s social and historical connections to the Catholic Church proved to be a consistent source of direction. The community is organized around the economic livelihoods specific to their Vietnamese heritage. Exceptional leadership provided invaluable cohesion and stability in the absence of government assistance after the storm. Over time through intergenerational community mobilization and civil disobedience, the community put pressure on authorities and achieved a number of impressive accomplishments that accelerated rebuilding. These victories reinforced their sense of political empowerment and built new alliances both within the community and to other groups in the city. Village de L’Est became recognized as a political constituency and powerful force in New Orleans.