A Symbol of Buddhism in Biloxi Survives Katrina

September 9, 2005

Source: The Washington Post


On September 9, 2005 The Washington Post reported, " It took 30 years for Vietnamese refugees to turn a homely corner of Biloxi into a thriving neighborhood -- and 13 hours of Katrina to send them back to the day they came here. Much of the neighborhood is either leveled or broken beyond repair. The My Viet Supermarket is gone. The Chi-Kim-Lien fashion boutique -- gone. Gone too is the marquee restaurant, Xuan Huong... The [Buddhist] temple, [Chau Van Duc], for many here, was the most significant symbol of the Vietnamese in east Biloxi, the sign that they belonged. Chau Van Duc opened, unfinished, nearly a year ago. But the grand opening, with 53 visitors from around the country, 30 of them monks, was Aug. 28. More than 1,000 families arrived to join the celebration. A day later, the 53 out-of-town visitors survived Katrina's blows by punching a hole in the ceiling of the temple's storage closet and crouching in the crawl space under the roof. Katrina beat up the temple, causing thousands of dollars in damage to a property that still owes the bank $100,000. But the temple is not destroyed... While the sanctuary is mired in muck, about 15 families have been sleeping outside on the cool, stone patio. Others come by all day long, looking for food, water and hurricane news."