Little Mekong

Little Mekong is a business and cultural district in Saint Paul, located between MacKubin and Galtier streets along University Avenue. This area’s mix of retail, restaurant and service businesses are run by people from many cultures, but predominantly from Southeast Asian nations. Visitors come to Little Mekong to experience the authentic flavors of Southeast Asia.

The district took shape starting in the 1970s when Vietnamese, Hmong, Lao, Cambodians, Thai and others fled their home region due to turmoil and persecution. Many people came to Minnesota to find new lives after the Vietnam War ended. Former Gov. Wendell Anderson was a leader in the resettlement efforts. Many churches and social services agencies were also involved.

Several groups quickly formed to help the newcomers find places to live, work and worship. Like so many immigrants before them people formed mutual assistance programs to help each other.

An initiative of the Asian Economic Development Association (AEDA), Little Mekong’s mission is to develop the area around University Avenue and Western as an attractive destination for visitors and residents; to support and promote businesses during light rail construction; to share cultural traditions and activities; and to create a living, breathing, colorful district for all to enjoy. The district’s names derives from the Mekong River, which flows from China through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and connects the cultures of Southeast Asia.

The neighborhoods around Little Mekong include Frogtown and Summit-University. Little Mekong is easily accessible from I-94 via the Dale Street and Marion Street exits.

Images

Residents of Frogtown

Residents of Frogtown

Photographer: Youa Moua Mai Date: July, 2005 From: Somewhere in St. Paul: Mount Airy, Capitol Heights, and Frogtown photograph collection, I.365 Image courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society View File Details Page

Lagoon Vietnamese Restaurant

Lagoon Vietnamese Restaurant

- 542 Rice Street in Frogtown - Located just east of the Little Mekong district. Photographer: Adam Weiss Date: June, 2005 From: Somewhere in St. Paul: Mount Airy, Capitol Heights, and Frogtown photograph collection, I.365. Image courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society View File Details Page

Governor Wendell R. Anderson

Governor Wendell R. Anderson

Former Gov. Wendell Anderson was a leader in the resettlement efforts of Vietnamese, Hmong, Lao, Cambodian, and Thai communities. Date: Approximately 1971 Image courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society View File Details Page

Hmong story cloth

Hmong story cloth

Story cloth illustrating the participation of Hmong people in the Laotian Civil War (1953-1975), also known as the Secret War, and the subsequent Hmong genocide, resistance, exile in Thailand and emigration to the United States. The scenes depicted on the cloth include the CIA-operated Laotian town of Long Chien as it appeared from 1967-1974; the flight of the Hmong from Laos into Thailand across the Mekong River; the refugee camp at Vinai; Hmong people studying English at Phanat Nikhom; and their arrival at and departure from a Bangkok airport. The cotton cloth's figures are embroidered; its border is appliqued. Date: 1985 Image courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Jane McClure, “Little Mekong,” Saint Paul Historical, accessed March 26, 2017, http://saintpaulhistorical.com/items/show/235.
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