“It is the sense of place going with us still that is the ball of golden thread to carry us there and back and, in every sense of the word, to bring us home.” Eudora Welty, “Place in Fiction,” 1957

The Project

“Home in a New Place: Making Laos in Morganton, North Carolina,” explores, through the world of one family, how Lao-Americans have crafted their home in a small southern community. By chronicling the experience of the Phapphayboun family in Morganton, this project tells a larger story about emergent global landscapes across the South. The extended Phapphayboun family is …

Wat Lao Sayaphoum

Led by Toon’s father Khamsi, the Phapphayboun family helped establish Wat Lao Sayaphoum in 2003. Not long after moving to North Carolina from Connecticut, Khamsi drew together other community leaders in the living room of Dara’s home and decided to establish a temple in Morganton. Only about thirteen Lao families lived in the area then, …

Sticky Rice & Southern Hospitality

Food is the sensory landscape of Laos. The streets are lined with vendors, and markets overwhelm the senses with produce grown or foraged nearby. Dishes including sticky rice, laab (minced meat with herbs), green papaya salad, and kao poon (coconut curry noodles), are beloved as national symbols and markers of Lao identity. This is the …

Food in Laos