Drying Shrimp with New Orleans’ Chinese Immigrants

The longer I live in New Orleans and the more I learn about it, the more I realize I have to discover. It’s such a multi-layered place: the more you dig, the more you find out you don’t know. The new episode of Gravy focuses on a part of New Orleans history I’d had no idea about.

For all of our celebration of the city’s multicultural roots and present—African! French! Spanish! Vietnamese!—less known and celebrated is the history of Chinese immigrants coming to New Orleans. They came in the late 19th and early 20th century, and ended up growing an industry that still continues today: drying shrimp. On the new Gravy: Laine Kaplan Levenson brings us a story of family entrepreneurship, immigration… and dried shrimp.

Man with a rake and drying shrimp. Photo courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection.
Man with a rake and drying shrimp. Photo courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection.

Listen here.