The video clip below is not meant to be an edited video. Rather, it is just a little glimpse of a little Vietnamese “Farmers” Market in Michoud, Lousiana, part of the Ninth Ward of New Orleans so badly devastated by Hurricane Katrina. I got to see this little market that opens for just 3 hours Saturday mornings from about dawn to 9 AM, in the style of markets back in North Viet Nam, and wanted to share it with others who might be interested.
This little market is only about a quarter of what it used to be prior to Hurricane Katrina. A lot of people who “got away” from it in the days after Katrina to get their lives back together in other aspects, never came back. Yet, it continues because it is more a social than an economic occasion, so some will always come out to sell their goods for the fun of it. That said, it’s not that limited in goods, as you can see. There were all kinds of vegetables, fruits, fish, even live roosters and bunnies!
The openness of the market is very much like those in North Viet Nam, from where many of the vendors and shoppers have their roots. Most of them are Catholic, rather than the larger Buddhist segment of Viet Nam, especially Southern Viet Nam. Indeed, when I got there at 7 AM, about 15 minutes before I filmed this, a church opened its doors and hoards of church goers poured out into the streets and market. They were finishing service at 7 AM!
The vendors generally lay down a couple of sheets and a stool to sell their goods that they mostly do grow, raise or catch. Some brought only about $10’s worth, while others brought much more, in large containers. For many, how much or little of their goods they sold was inconsequential. They enjoyed the interactions with shoppers and others browsing through. A few vendors had some goods left near session’s end and were even giving it away!
As for parking, people just parked on the outside lanes of a three lane boulevard bordering on the parking lot where this market is held. There was just enough space for one car to get through, and the police don’t seem to mind.
It’s a nice little market, this Vietnamese Farmers’ Market in Michoud. It’s just too bad it hasn’t rebounded quite the way the area of mostly Chinese and Vietnamese habitants. It got mayoral recognition from New Orleans for being the fastest to get back on its feet after Hurricane Katrina, where Katrina did the most damage in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. This is something all the inhabitants should be very proud of as some of New Orleans, including the Ninth Ward, is still reeling from the effect of Katrina many years later.