vietnamese fishermen face bleak future

Here's another story out of the Gulf Coast about a Vietnamese fisherman, Kha Van Nguyen, who's survived a hell of a lot or crap in his life -- the fall of Saigon, escaping Vietnam by sea, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina -- but now faced with a disaster he may not be able to overcome: From Vietnam to New Orleans, he's no stranger to catastrophe.
Like many Vietnamese who live along the Gulf Coast, Nguyen is no stranger to catastrophe. He survived the Vietnam War, fled his homeland and started life anew in New Orleans, only to see Hurricane Katrina in 2005 flood his house and destroy his boat.

With every turn, the ocean welcomed him back, allowed him to make his own rules and reinvent himself. But this time feels different.

The long-term effects of the oil spill remain unknown, even if the flow has been halted. And though some Vietnamese refugees transitioned to jobs on land, others always have made their living at sea, whether those waters lapped against the shores of Vietnam or Louisiana.

"For the majority of Vietnamese who chose this path in life, this is all we know how to do to survive," Nguyen said in Vietnamese. "Outside this, we don't have any other experience. The future looks very dark."
The thriving Vietnamese fishing and shrimping community in New Orleans, forged from the many refugee families who found their way there after the fall of Saigon, is an amazing American story. It's hard to believe that a community's livelihood could completely grind to a halt because of this damn oil spill. But that's exactly what's happened.

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