Oral History Project

Mrs. Hew (right) during a December 1999
interview. Mrs. Hew, 93 at the time this 
picture was taken, was one of the few 
remaining New Orleanians who grew up in 
the Chinese Quarter. She shared her memories
as part of Asian Bayou's Lotus Roots Project,
a previous effort to preserve the memories
of the Asian-American culture of New Orleans.

After the tragic events of Hurricane Katrina, the Asian Pacific American Society has responded with a cross-cultural, community-driven Folklife Cultural Preservation Project. This project seeks to preserve, document, and transmit Asian Pacific Islanders (API) of varied cultural experiences and practices, specifically oral artistry and story telling in the New Orleans metropolitan area. The aim of this project is to document the rich tapestry of API cultural traditions as represented by our community, to share this knowledge with the American public, future Asian generations and to strengthen API community cohesion post Katrina. The inter-generational design of the project entails youth involvement with the fieldwork and documentation process through formal interviews with individuals. The culmination of the project findings will be shared with the community and the public at large through various media sources, including still photography, a documentary video, publication and through interactive workshops with live artisans. The results of this project will be presented at various events such as the APAS Annual Fundraising Gala, the Asian Heritage Festival, the Children’s Holiday Party, and at public venues, including local libraries, schools and art galleries.

The project was incepted as a result of a round table discussion with students from AASIA, an umbrella organization of Asian student group from surrounding universities in New Orleans. During this round table discussion, students expressed desire to learn more about the experiences of their parents and grandparents back in their homeland.

This project involved hiring coordinators to assist in the implementation of the project and training students to creatively learn the art of documenting interviews.. Documentation is done by audio, video and still photography. This project is partly funded by the Louisiana Division of the Arts.

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