By Dr. Manuel A. Vásquez
The following is an excerpt from the November 3, 2009, address on Latino Immigration in the South of Dr. Vásquez to the People on the Move Conference sponsored by JSRI on the Loyola University campus.
The widespread devastation and dislocation produced in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina is a reality sui generis, producing a population shift that has few parallels in U.S. history. In what follows, I will summarize some the key findings of the emerging literature on Latinos in New Orleans.
Immigration from Latin America to New Orleans is not new. In fact, there were two relatively established Pre-Katrina Latino communities. One consists of Nicaraguans who came to the city as early as 1905, following the establishment of the Louisiana Nicaragua Lumber Company in the city. The other is composed of Hondurans who arrived starting in the 1920s, through connections with the United Fruit Company, which has been based in New Orleans since 1901. The Nicaraguan community expanded in the 1980s and 1990s, as two new waves of immigration came, one as a reaction to the Sandinista Revolution (1979) and another in the wake of Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
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