Mike Le

Location of Interview
Collection Name

Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History


NOAA's Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History documents the experience of people living in Gulf  of Mexico  oil-spill-affected fishing communities. The oral history data complements other social and economic data about the spill collected by NOAA and other governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations.

Date of Interview

Ha Do
Angel Truong Phan
Linda VanZandt

Biographical Sketch

Mike Le is a Vietnamese-American shrimper living in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Mr. Mike Le was born in 1953 near the town of Rach Gia in the Kien Giang Province of South Vietnam, where his family had a coconut and rice farm. In addition to farming, his father taught martial arts.  Mr. Le escaped from Vietnam by boat with his uncle, cousins, and others, totally fifty-two people, in 1978. After spending five months in Pulau Tengah, Malaysia, he landed in Lawton, Oklahoma in 1979. Soon after, Mr. Le settled in San Jose, California, where he lived for almost twenty years, working in electronics for Motorola for eighteen years. After working a few years at Horseshoe Casino in Shreveport, Louisiana, he moved to Biloxi, Mississippi in 1999. Mr. Le worked on machines in a shrimp factory before beginning to shrimp the Gulf waters. At the time of the interview, he had been shrimping for thirteen years. Mr. Le is the father of three girls.

Scope and Content Note:
He discusses growing up in Kien Giang (near Rach Gia, South Vietnam); farming rice and coconut trees; hard life under Communism after fall of Saigon (losing family farm); escaping Vietnam in 1978 by boat with uncle and cousins; Malaysian camp; coming to Lawton, Oklahoma in 1979, then San Jose, California; working in electronics for Motorola for 18 years, then move to Shreveport, Louisiana (work in casino), then to Biloxi, Mississippi in 1999; work in shrimping factory, then owning and losing boat in storm in 2009; impressions of shrimping life; shrimping after Hurricane Katrina; impact of BP oil spill; Vessels of Opportunity program; taking ESL classes; visiting Vietnam; children and family.

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