Vietnamese immigrants landed in the New Orleans area in the 1970s when the housing market was up and the economy booming, which forced first generation Vietnamese to settle in Versailles, Gretna and other Westbank communities. As a result of this isolation, the city’s Vietnamese population is less assimilated than, say, in Houston or in Orange County, California.
Head into these Westbank neighborhoods today, and you’ll hear only Vietnamese spoken. Go to the Vietnamese Farmers’ Market and you might as well be in Vietnam. You’ll find products for sale that aren’t common in the United States. The food is arguably better than it is in Vietnam, simply because of the availability of high-quality ingredients.