Cleaning up oil in the Gulf of Mexico is grueling, sometimes dangerous work. In Louisiana, these jobs are drawing immigrant workers to small communities. And they’re not always getting a warm welcome.
Tag: New Orleans Latinos
Special Report: Amid Oil Spill Crisis, U.S. Authorities Search for Undocumented Immigrant Cleanup Workers
Federal immigration officials have been visiting command centers on the Gulf Coast to check the immigration status of Hispanic response workers hired by BP and its contractors.
Journalist Diego Graglia has been documenting the lives of Latinos during this presidential election year. He recently traveled from New York City to Mexico City, stopping along the way to talk to Latinos in small towns and big cities about the issues that matter to them. For more on La Ruta del Voto Latino/The Road to the Latino Vote visit www.newyorktomexico.com.
New Orleans was Hispanic before being American, as street signs remind you in the French Quarter. Bourbon Street, no less, was named over two centuries ago after the royal family -last name Borbón- that still reigns over Spain.
Three years ago, after Hurricane Katrina, Latino workers poured into the city to help with clean up and rebuilding. But Hispanic Americans were in New Orleans long before that demographic explosion. The sense I got from talking to Latinos who’ve been there for many years, though, was that there was no real Latino community to speak of: no civic or cultural organizations, no newspapers, only one store where you could buy Latin American groceries!
“Before, we used to have one supermarket, two restaurants, the Honduran consulate, and that’s it,” says American-born Diane Schnell, the daughter of Honduran parents, who grew up in the city. “Now there’s ten or twelve supermarkets and the stores have tripled and quadrupled. There’s a Mexican consulate too.”