When I think of religions in the deep-south or especially the Alabama Gulf Coast, I think
Presbyterian or Catholics – not Buddhism. But, quietly tucked away just off one of the main roads
between Irvington and
Bayou La Batre, Alabama you will find the Watlao Buddhavihara Buddhist Meditation Center.
From what I understand Vietnamese-Americans make up one-third of the population in the fishing hamlet of Bayou La Batre. A majority of the community work in the seafood industry, while a smaller percentage work in the shipbuilding industry. Vietnamese businesses have been sustained by the social integration of the Vietnamese and mainstream's cultures. The city also sees, within the Vietnamese American community, a large sub-community of Amerasians. Many were brought to the US through the Amerasian Homecoming Act and relocated to the area due to similarities in environment and industry to what they were accustomed to.