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Taco trucks and the Hispanic influx


Jaymes
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So I've been reading, and hearing, about a recent influx of Hispanic workers, primarily Mexican. There's some speculation that this will result in a major shift in the culture.

What do y'all think...what does the future hold? Salsa music coming from the open doors of the bars on Bourbon street? Taco carts on Canal?

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Brooks can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that are already taco carts on Canal. If not actually on Canal, then pretty close (those carts can move). Could have sworn I saw them the last weekend of October.

Louisiana has always had a pretty small hispanic population (3%, I think, but don't quote me), because there weren't many economic opportunities. Most of those in New Orleans were Central American. Will the impact be long term? I would guess yes, since the work will be there for years. A New Orleans immigration attorney told me that we know the Latinos will be permanent when the men start relocating their wives.

For better or worse, the influx of Mexicans might be one of those factors that will make New Orleans more like the rest of the country. At the very least, hopefully the city will finally get some decent Tex-Mex.

Edited by TAPrice (log)

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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Brooks can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that are already taco carts on Canal. If not actually on Canal, then pretty close (those carts can move). Could have sworn I saw them the last weekend of October.

Louisiana has always had a pretty small hispanic population (3%, I think, but don't quote me), because there weren't many economic opportunities. Most of those in New Orleans were Central American. Will the impact be long term? I would guess yes, since the work will be there for years. A New Orleans immigration attorney told me that we know the Latinos will be permanent when the men start relocating their wives.

For better or worse, the influx of Mexicans might be one of those factors that will make New Orleans more like the rest of the country. At the very least, hopefully the city will finally get some decent Tex-Mex.

Dude! If there is one thing that I am looking forward to out of this mess it's a pile of Taco Trucks! I love those things. I have a friend, and East Coast Chef, who has been spending her spare time and money researching these things and she is with me in that for many people, it's going to be the best taco that they can find. There is another chef here in New Orleans, again nameless, who is actually working on something along the taco truck concept for New Orleans, only with New Orleans stuff. I think that it would be a great idea. We have nothing here but workers and most of these guys are ripping out drywall and putting on roofs in parts of town where there isn't any power, much less places to get lunch.

And as far as the impact goes, last night, on Channel 6, there was an ad during the news in SPANISH. This doesn't happen here. I think that it hit home right then that this is a new world we are living in and tacos are going to be a bigger part of it.

And you know what? I say bring them on. This is, if nothing else, a town whose entire culture is made up of stuff from somewhere else that got adapted to local ingredients. One more big influx of immigrants? Cool. After all, New Orleans already had the largest Honduran population outside of Honduras and a fairly large percentage of folks who speak Spanish as a first language. So it's nothing new to us. And also, if these guys are showing up to help put this badly wrecked train back on the tracks and get it rolling again, we're damn glad to have them.

So there.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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New Orleans is nearly as much of a melting pot as New York. The populations will fluctuate under normal conditions, but right now, a group of 50 people will skew the percentages.

Nuevo Orleans? Inevitable and welcomed, I think. The people who are there right now are going to be major influences in the near future, and since the long term is yet to be seen, those influences will be more marked.

I hope that last sentence made sense. It did to me.

In other words, It will shift, but it will still be New Orleans. I feel confident in that. It will be different, but as long as it does not turn into the Epcot version, everything will be OK.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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During my last trip to Los Angeles the Taco truck clearly beat out my $300 per person sushi meal.

Viva los Taco Lady!

Gorganzola, Provolone, Don't even get me started on this microphone.---MCA Beastie Boys

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I've yet to see a taco truck/cart in New Orleans.  However, when I do, I'll be one of the first in line to buy some! :raz:

Rhonda

I am happy to report that the taco trucks have begun appearing along several streets. Yesterday I took some time to take a overzealous photographer (Pableux "Hey, I have a new fill flash and I'm going to drive you crazy with it!" Johnson) and an East coast chef (Ann Cashion) on a progress assessment trip through a bunch on New Orleans. It was mainly to show Ann what the deal is and why the fundraisers that she and so many other kind souls on the east coast have been participating in are important and why we hope that they continue. She was, like everyone else who sees it, was blown away-stunned into a depressed silence interrupted by the occasional "Oh my God".

We had a fabulous dinner at Lilette (really, it was awesome-in virtually every way except for an annoying water push that kind of got silly-I don't need a new bottle every single time one gets emptied, thanks) and the discussion centered around storm recovery, the city, and how the rest of the country, with the exception of a very few publications and media outlets (primarily the NYT and NPR), seems to be under the impression that things are hunky dory and that we are "all fixed" We're not. And we are really tired of reading that we are.

Back to the taco trucks-There were two on Elysian Fields at Filmore in the Exxon Lot. Good crowd around both. We also saw a couple on Chef Highway near Michoud Blvd.

I think that they are out there now, and more coming soon, as there are more workers arriving everyday to do tear down/clean up. Hopefully Friday afternoon I will be able to go and give a couple of them a try.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Ah, but to throw a wrench into the works here... Are these guys licensed or inspected?

http://www.team4news.com/Global/story.asp?S=4185923&nav=0w0v

The above is not a New Orleans story, but maybe something to think about. I was under the impression that New Orleans was no longer issuing mobile food licenses after Lucky Dog.

How did Lucky Dog come out in all of this by the way?

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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Hopefully they were declared a biohazzard. Do they make hazmat suits for the digestion tract? I could never figure out the attraction of them other than the reference in "Confederacy of Dunces". There wasn't enough booze in the quarter to induce me to eat (another) one.

Edited by Timh (log)
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Hopefully they were declared a biohazzard.  Do they make hazmat suits for the digestion tract? I could never figure out the attraction of them other than the reference in "Confederacy of Dunces". There wasn't enough booze in the quarter to induce me to eat (another) one.

Lucky Dogs consist of only the finest franks and top quality buns. They are served with an assortment of freshly chopped vegetables and delicious condiments. Besides, they're lucky. And they come off of a cart that looks like a hot dog. I don't know how you could ask for more.

But no, they aren't out yet. I'm not exactly sure why. I don't think that their warhouse flooded (if it's where it used to be, I am almost positive it didn't). I will make a few calls today and get to the bottom of this burning issue.

Sukkho Thai opened back up yesterday in the Quarter. Dinner last night was really good. First Thai food I've had since August.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Sukkho Thai opened back up yesterday in the Quarter. Dinner last night was really good. First Thai food I've had since August.

Be very greatfull!!!!! There is no Thai restaurant in Shreveport.

Gorganzola, Provolone, Don't even get me started on this microphone.---MCA Beastie Boys

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  • 1 month later...

We had lunch at Taqueria Corona on Tuesday, and there was a large table of Mexican construction workers there. When they asked for the check, the waitress informed them that it had been taken care of by another diner to say thank you. Pretty cool.

Bridget Avila

My Blog

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Louisiana has always had a pretty small hispanic population (3%, I think, but don't quote me), because there weren't many economic opportunities.

I had to look that up, and TAPrice is correct. The 2004 estimate was 3.2%, up from 3.1% in 2000. The national average is 14.2% (up from 12.5% in 2000).

http://factfinder.census.gov/

- Julie the Librarian

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Louisiana has always had a pretty small hispanic population (3%, I think, but don't quote me), because there weren't many economic opportunities.

I had to look that up, and TAPrice is correct. The 2004 estimate was 3.2%, up from 3.1% in 2000. The national average is 14.2% (up from 12.5% in 2000).

http://factfinder.census.gov/

- Julie the Librarian

This may well be, but in New Orleans the Honduran population was roughly 15,000 people before the storm. At one point, I believe that we were the largest center of Hondurans outside of Honduras.

Also, there are pockets of seriously dense hispanic populations. Washington Parish (bordering with Mississippi north of New Orleans) has long been a center for large scale nursery operations and not suprisingly, has had a large Hispanic population for a long time.

The immigration path of Hondurans to New Orleans is traditionally linked to the Central American Fruit Trade (United Fruit and Dole). There were a large number of young people who would come up and go to boarding school as part of the deal that their parents (middle and upper farm and labor management) had with the companies in Central America. My children, in fact, go to a school that has had 3 generations or so of these students.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Louisiana has always had a pretty small hispanic population (3%, I think, but don't quote me), because there weren't many economic opportunities.

I had to look that up, and TAPrice is correct. The 2004 estimate was 3.2%, up from 3.1% in 2000. The national average is 14.2% (up from 12.5% in 2000).

http://factfinder.census.gov/

- Julie the Librarian

This may well be, but in New Orleans the Honduran population was roughly 15,000 people before the storm. At one point, I believe that we were the largest center of Hondurans outside of Honduras.

14,826 Hispanics to be precise, with 9,602 counted as "other" (as opposed to Mexican, Cuban or Puerto Rican). That makes up 3.06% of the New Orleans population (this doesn't include the more heavily Hispanic areas in Kenner). Some argue that the census count (these numbers are from 2000) underreports the illegal population.

The Vietnamese population is only 7,118 (1.47%) in New Orleans, but they certainly seem to have a larger cultural impact on the city and its food.

I happened to have some census numbers around for another project. I'm really not this anal.

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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We had lunch at Taqueria Corona on Tuesday, and there was a large table of Mexican construction workers there.  When they asked for the check, the waitress informed them that it had been taken care of by another diner to say thank you.  Pretty cool.

That is very cool! Any city with a heart like that can't stay down for long. :cool:

-Mike & Andrea

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Louisiana has always had a pretty small hispanic population (3%, I think, but don't quote me), because there weren't many economic opportunities.

I had to look that up, and TAPrice is correct. The 2004 estimate was 3.2%, up from 3.1% in 2000. The national average is 14.2% (up from 12.5% in 2000).

http://factfinder.census.gov/

- Julie the Librarian

This may well be, but in New Orleans the Honduran population was roughly 15,000 people before the storm. At one point, I believe that we were the largest center of Hondurans outside of Honduras.

14,826 Hispanics to be precise, with 9,602 counted as "other" (as opposed to Mexican, Cuban or Puerto Rican). That makes up 3.06% of the New Orleans population (this doesn't include the more heavily Hispanic areas in Kenner). Some argue that the census count (these numbers are from 2000) underreports the illegal population.

The Vietnamese population is only 7,118 (1.47%) in New Orleans, but they certainly seem to have a larger cultural impact on the city and its food.

I happened to have some census numbers around for another project. I'm really not this anal.

OK stat boy, you might want to check Jeff and St Bernard for you numbers, as well.

It might change things a bit, especially in the Vietnamese category, and probably the Hispanic, as Kenner has been a center for them for years.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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We had lunch at Taqueria Corona on Tuesday, and there was a large table of Mexican construction workers there.  When they asked for the check, the waitress informed them that it had been taken care of by another diner to say thank you.  Pretty cool.

Okay, so I got choked up when I read this. I'll remember this kindness tonight when I'm watching the news, which is always so full of unkindness.

Thanks for letting us know.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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OK stat boy, you might want to check Jeff and St Bernard for you numbers, as well.

It might change things a bit, especially in the Vietnamese category, and probably the Hispanic, as Kenner has been a center for them for years.

Stat Boy loves a challenge (I think that I've found my costume for Mardi Gras).

Here is the breakdown for the three parishes, with additional info on Kenner and Gretna:

Parish: Hispanic / Asian

Orleans: 14,826 (3.06%)/ 10,972 (2.26%)

St. Bernard: 3,425 (5.1%) / 889 (1.3%)

Jefferson: 32,418 (7.1%) / 14,065 (3.1%)

Cities in Jefferson Parish: Hispanic / Asian

Kenner: 9,602 (13.6%) / 2,002 (2.8%)

Gretna 1,105 (6.3%) / 543 (3.1%)

This time I didn't have a census table sitting on my desk. I dug up these numbers from ePodunk, a cool little site for people who love demographics data. A pal of mine who used to be the editor of American Demographics co-founded the site.

Brooks, I'm not really sure if you're disagreeing with me. I think you're saying that this area has always had a large Hispanic population, and I know I'm saying that it isn't the case. Relative to Louisiana, Kenner has a huge Hispanic population (13.6% vs. 2.4%). Relative to the U.S., it's slightly above average (13.6% vs. 12.5%). And relative to the South, it's well below average (13.6% vs. 35.7%).

Steering this back towards food, I still find it interesting that the Hispanic population outnumbers the Asian population considerably. Yet, Vietnamese cuisine is much more prominent in the area than Latino cooking. (I don't have a country origin breakdown for Jefferson and St. Bernard, but in Orleans roughly 75% of the Asian population are Vietnamese.)

Clearly numbers alone can't account for the prominence of Vietnamese cuisine in the metropolitan area, or we would see more Honduran than Pho joints.

Brooks, I know you were working on a piece about Vietnamese restaurants in the area. Any insights on why so many Vietnamese in the area open restaurants?

Edited by TAPrice (log)

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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