Campus News

The “Cachinbona” Life of Flor Martinez in New Orleans


The “Cachinbona” Life of Flor Martinez in New Orleans

Author: Lauren R.D. Fox, Communications Specialist

Photography: Sabree Hill, University Photographer

 

New Orleans, known for its French flair, has been heavily influenced by Spanish and Latin American culture. Starting from the 17th century, France gave Spain control of its New Orleans colony and Louisiana territory from 1763 to 1803 after the Battle of Signal Hill to pay off its war debt. During those 40 years, Spaniards migrated to the colony with their families and rebuilt much of the French Quarter that had been previously damaged by fires. Centuries later, after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans received an influx of Latin American immigrants that helped rebuild the city after the catastrophic natural disaster. In 2014, it was noted that New Orleans had the largest population of Honduran-Americans, El Salvadorans and Belizians in the United States. To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month and the contributions of Latin Americans in New Orleans, Dillard University’s Office of Communications and Marketing interviewed Flor Martinez, a junior Visual Arts major about her migration narrative from El Salvador, life in New Orleans and social issues that impact Latinas in the Big Easy.

 

Dillard University (DU): Why did you decide to enroll in an HBCU?

Flor Martinez (FM): I decided to come to an HBCU because I wanted to [share] my culture with African Americans because some might question where EL Salvador is. Also, I’ve [learned that] Africans-Americans relate to Latinos because both are seen as a [minorities].

 

DU:What is El Salvador like? Describe your childhood and your American migration journey.

FM: My dad came to the United States when I was five years old. He came to the United States because El Salvador’s economy was not good at all and because he also wanted to bring us here, for a better future. He constantly visited us, he traveled from New York to El Salvador, sometimes he came for Christmas or for Spring Break. I came to the United States [via] New York when I was 11 years old with my mom and my middle sister who was 2 years old at the time. I still remember when I saw how big New York’s airport was; I felt happy. I also remember going to Time Square in the middle of the night. I was scared because [when you go out in my country] around 11p.m., it can be dangerous.

 

To move to a city where no one sleeps was a big impact for me. I remember seeing the big buildings and lights around me and people walking with no fear, I was surprised. When I first went to middle school, I was scared because I had to learn a new language and [I remember] asking a Indian girl “¿Hablas español?” (Do you speak Spanish?) and she said no. I was mad and sad because she didn’t want to help me [learn English]. Then, my teacher put me next to another girl because she knew a little Spanish, but honestly, she didn’t help me at all. The next day she put me next to this girl who spoke fluent Spanish and I was happy. Finally [I felt like] I had a friend and again, she didn’t help. The next day I told my parents that I was sick--that was a lie. I didn’t feel comfortable with anyone. I couldn’t fit in with anyone until I met a Chinese girl. She was like me.  We were learning English at the same time and we became close friends. We pushed ourselves to learn English, so we could communicate more.

 

DU:What is Latino culture like in New Orleans?

FM: If you are a teenager (of Latino heritage) in New Orleans, [you may not be attached] to it.

[Whereas] if you are an adult, you still [continue the traditions] from your country. For example, El Salvadorans drink coffee with sweet bread at 4 p.m. with their family or neighbor(s). [Another example] is having a piñata outside and feeling like home. However, if you are a child or young adult you may try to fit in so hard with a particular group outside of your culture. [You or someone close to you has to remind you of your culture and traditions]. A personal example of this: my youngest sister who is now six years old,was born in New York City. My mom kept our culture [prevalent], especially [through] food and the language (Caliche).  Now, my sister is six and she uses some words that people in my country use such as “bichito (little kids)” and she loves pupusas (El Salvador’s typical food).

 

DU:What are important issues Latinos in New Orleans face?

FM: I am not going to talk about racism towards Latinos because we can see it in other places besides New Orleans. You can see racism [all over] our country. I am going to talk about something that hurts me more than someone yelling at us “Speak English this is ‘America.’” I am going to talk about young Latinas between the ages of  15-17 who dropout of school because they get pregnant by Latino men who are twice their age. Instead of keeping [up with] their education some Latinas come to United States and they choose to be lazy because English is too hard for them. I understand English can be hard but it is not an excuse for quitting something that can bring you a lot of opportunities. [Especially if your only option is to] stay at home, serving a husband who might treat you bad because that is how some Latino men are.

 

In my own experience, I have dealt with Latino men (who are between the ages of  27-30) asking me: “¿Tienes marido?” (Do you have a husband?), “¿Vives con tu marido?” (Do you live with your husband?), “¿Tienes hijos?” (Do you have kids?) and it aggravates me because some young Latinas [continue the cycle] of allowing it to be socially acceptable for older men to ask stupid questions about maridos (marriage) and hijos (children). [Whereas] a young woman, like me, may be seen as unusual if she is one out of the twenty-three percent of the young Latinas who choose education before maridos.

 

Also, some young Latino males in New Orleans are apathetic towards their academics and get stuck with the mindset of “I do whatever I want” and they play this role of “machismo” since their parents allow young boys do whatever they want because their are men. This makes it seem that the stereotype “Latinos are lazy” is true because of the behavior from a small group of people.

 

DU:What does culture and heritage mean to you?

FM:My culture and heritage means that [even though] I might be different from someone else, I can [teach] people about El Salvadoran culture. I am proud of who I am and even my accent that comes out when I speak English. At first, I was not proud of my Salvadoran roots because I didn’t see how I could be  proud of a country known for homicides and other acts of violence, especially domestic violence. However I now choose to see my culture as something positive and the people that I have met in my life taught me about [the duality of culture]. I would love to thank Dillard’s Endowed Professor of English Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy; without her I would have been lost and not push myself to see the beauty of being from El Salvador and what my culture truly means.

 

DU:What are the top five things you miss about home (your country)?

FM: The top five things I miss about El Salvador are:

  1. Pupusas de queso con loroco (I know my mom can make those but they don’t taste the same as they do at home).
  2. Mango Verde
  3. Sensuntepeque (The town where I was born).
  4. The vibe
  5. My family

 


 

 Flor Martinez poses for a photo with her mother Flor de Martinez, sisters Jazmin Martinez and Emely Martinez and father Jose Martinez in front of their New Orleans East home on September 22, 2019. "Most of the things I do are with my family," said Martinez. (Photo by Sabree Hill/ Dillard University Photographer)

Flor Martinez poses for a photo with her mother Flor de Martinez, sisters Jazmin Martinez and Emely Martinez and father Jose Martinez in front of their New Orleans East home on September 22, 2019. "Most of the things I do are with my family," said Martinez. (Photo by Sabree Hill/ Dillard University Photographer)


 


Photos 1-10 – Flor Martinez, a Visual Arts Major, works on a sculpture of a heart at Dillard University on September 13, 2019. “Art for me, being Latina, is stepping outside of the box for my culture. I am choosing to be who I am and what I really like,” said Martinez. (Photo by Sabree Hill/ Dillard University Photographer)
Photos 1-10 – Flor Martinez, a Visual Arts Major, works on a sculpture of a heart at Dillard University on September 13, 2019. “Art for me, being Latina, is stepping outside of the box for my culture. I am choosing to be who I am and what I really like,” said Martinez. (Photo by Sabree Hill/ Dillard University Photographer)


 

 Flor Martinez (Center) holds a flag from her native country of El Salvador with her father Jose Martinez, sisters Jazmin Martinez and Emely Martinez and mother Flor de Martinez in their home on September 22, 2019. (Photo by Sabree Hill/ Dillard University Photographer)

Flor Martinez (Center) holds a flag from her native country of El Salvador with her father Jose Martinez, sisters Jazmin Martinez and Emely Martinez and mother Flor de Martinez in their home on September 22, 2019. (Photo by Sabree Hill/ Dillard University Photographer)


 

Flor Martinez and her mother Flor de Martinez laugh together as they work on crafts in their home on September 22, 2019. "My mom is my best friend," said Martinez. (Photo by Sabree Hill/ Dillard University Photographer)

Flor Martinez and her mother Flor de Martinez laugh together as they work on crafts in their home on September 22, 2019. "My mom is my best friend," said Martinez. (Photo by Sabree Hill/ Dillard University Photographer)



 

Women's basketball temporarily pauses all activities until January 19

Rebecca Armstrong-English '04 named Alumni Relations director

Shana Broussard '91 makes history as first Black FEC commissioner

MacKenzie Scott announces $5M gift to Dillard

Supporters provide more than $780,000 for GivingTuesday

Dillard to go test-optional for 2021-2022

Dillard alumna, social work giant Millie M. Charles passes away at 97

Minority Health to hold COVID and health disparities symposium

Dillard to host NOPD for National Faith and Blue Week march

Saloy on the state of Black feminism

Psychology senior's research published in journal

Students earn training in reproductive justice advocacy

Community and Church Relations makes PPE donations

SACSCOC reaffirms Dillard's accreditation

Dillard Theatre alumni present Regina Taylor's "VOTE!"

James Beard Foundation appoints Zella Palmer to its leadership committee

Dr. Michael Lomax honored with endowed scholarship

Dillard signs MOU with Nicholls State for MBA program

Dillard welcomes new police chief, Angela Honora

Kimbrough, '20 CityBusiness Women of the Year honoree

Esmail and Kellum named to endowed professorships

Baker '21 and Webber '23 win Coca-Cola internships

Center for Racial Justice to debut class on police brutality

Dixon awarded Mellon Periclean Faculty Leader Grant


Dillard to host Center for Coding and Creativity


Dillard one of the "50 Most Beautiful College Campuses"

Fall 2020 Reconnect Plan


Kullman Firm to award $10K law school scholarship


Alumna Johnson-Eanes appointed president of CUNY-York College


Senior Smith selected HBCU Competitiveness Scholar


Dillard to launch Center for Racial Justice


DU alumni featured in #20for20Grads campaign


Dillard places first in National HBCU Stock Market Challenge


Fos, Kellum, LSU Health Sciences professor collaborate for journal article about diabetes and COVID


2020 Melton Foundation Fellows announced

Dillard to host free COVID-19 testing in Gentilly


Divine Nine author, speaker lends Dillard a helping hand
 

Dillard receives Mellon Foundation funding


List of 2020 graduates


New Roads native Bria Jones 2020 valedictorian


Chicago native Dazjah Samuels 2020 salutatorian

Alumnus Jericho Brown wins 2020 Pulitzer Prize


Hébert, Lesen, Fos named to COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force

Business, nursing endowed professors named

President Kimbrough: "We are a resilient community in a resilient city."

Rev. Herbert Brisbon, III named chaplain

Three earn full law school scholarships

Collins provides insight about Capitol Building takeover

Collins on recorded Trump phone call to overturn Georgia's certified election results 

Collins comments on electoral college vote

Alumna Kelly Nash among "1,000 inspiring Black scientists in America"

Alumnus G. Larry Lawrence appointed to ProPetro Board of Directors

Palmer discusses local chefs' struggles with Washington Post

Collins comments on Trump's refusal to accept Electoral College presidential results

Dillard among local HBCUs receiving support from pro athletes

President Kimbrough talks "all things HBCUs" on Bakari Sellers' podcast

HBCU Digest: "Dillard Breaks Giving Tuesday Fundraising Record"

Cador '21 reflects on fall 2020 with WWNO-FM

Kaylan Tanner named one of Seventeen's 2020 Voices of the Year

Several proposed New Orleans street renamings for Dillard, Straight alumni and Albert Dent

Esmail talks nature of increased crime in city with WVUE

Collins discusses Cedric Richmond leaving Congress for White House with WVUE

Alum Ryan Banks puts on virtual L.O.C.A.L.S' Music Festival

Alum and Broadway star Kyle Banks puts on free virtual show to increase diabetes awareness

Alum Ashle Mitchell celebrated as "Yardrunner" by Nike

Collins: Election results show near 50 percent turnover at Criminal District Court

Condoll breaks down Louisiana's Amendment 7 on WDSU prior to November 3rd election

Urban studies and public policy junior Gentry featured in 2020 HBCU Digest Honors

Poetry Rooted in History: Brenda Marie Osbey

Alumnus James Williams named U.S. Venture's president of U.S. Lubricants Division

Mustapha quoted by Forbes regarding women and work during COVID-19

Collins on Democrats and Amy Coney Barrett

Alumnus Carl Stewart delivers keynote for University of Notre Dame law school

Enrollment Management VP Page on advising students for financial aid

Alumna Paramore named executive director of Travelers Aid Society of Greater New Orleans

Dallas Weekly chats with President Kimbrough regarding the Black community and vaccinations

Senior Smith featured as "young superstar" by Charles Koch Foundation

Atty. Kimbrough: "Black hair has always been policed in this country"

Collins: Coney Barrett nomination would be a "source of pride" for Louisiana 

A.D. Barnes on the "Straight to the Point" sports show

Collins analyzes La. secretary of state's absentee voting tutorial

Alumna Leyte Winfield on HBCUs' preparing Black students for careers in science

Palmer, one of New Orleans Magazine's "People to Watch"

Alumnus Baker discusses how the Louisiana Weekly gives context to the Black experience in news

Saloy discusses resilience through words in the wake of Hurricane Katrina

Alumnus Floyd Wilson Jr. discusses 47-year-old police bill of rights with The Washington Post 

The New Orleans Tribune recounts legacies of Straight College's Walter L. Cohen and James Madison Vance Jr.

Dillard School of STEM, an example of "empowering success"

Collins talks to The Lens about local wedding venue's COVID-19 restrictions violations

President Kimbrough quoted by Los Angeles Times about Kamala Harris VP nomination

Ray Charles director Palmer talks Black chefs, program with Gambit

Alumna Benjamin awarded 2020 Laurel Award for Dedication to Community Service

A.D. Barnes talks leadership advancement as a Black woman with WGNO-TV

President Kimbrough joins local university presidents for equity in higher education discussion 

Sigur discusses Apple, Dillard coding partnership

Alumna Friedman to host "Chicago Tonight: Black Voices"

Dallas Weekly profiles alumna and banking executive Cassandra McKinney

For HBCUs, the coronavirus pandemic hits especially close to home

Film student Peters "chases his passion"

President Kimbrough on how COVID-19 will change higher education


Collins: Mayor's new texting service could be providing valuable data

Broady discusses Black families' struggles during pandemic with The New York Times


Esmail on Dixie Beer name change


DU junior battling COVID-19: "Don't let your guard down"


Lumina Foundation: "Dillard University students rise to the challenge"

Significance of Juneteenth - Dr. Eva Baham 

Chief Medical Officer Hébert hosts video series on sickle cell anemia


Alumna Alves named Bradford & Barthel LLP chief diversity officer


Esmail talks race relations on Juneteenth


Alumna McNeal first African American woman on American Express's executive committee


The Washington Post quotes President Kimbrough on president's HBCU claims


Broady one of 19 Black economists celebrated on Juneteenth


Esmail discusses "pivotal shift in societal views on race"

Collins: Renaming Jefferson Davis Parkway a sign of city council being "responsive to the will of the people"
 

Esmail: Policing policies terminology needs to be more "forceful"


Alumna Roberts named Xavier Exponential director


Alumnus Atwood brings Houston its first hip hop museum


President Kimbrough on COVID-19's exacerbating inequities in higher education


Alumna Fleming named Florida SouthWestern State College dean of education


Dean Broady talks BLS jobs report on #RolandMartinUnfiltered


Words matter for college presidents, but so will actions


President Kimbrough discusses Black college graduates' COVID, civil unrest struggles
 

Esmail: Harmony between NOPD, protesters influenced by several factors


President Kimbrough discusses future of HBCUs in New Orleans with the Kresge Foundation


Alumna Kopylov named to Posse Foundation national board


Alumna Domingue-Glover talks actors' struggles amid COVID-19


Palmer: New Orleans restaurants "essential to our community"


VP Barnes on police brutality and racism in the wake of George Floyd's death


Alumna Astasia Williams talks life as Washington Redskins social media manager


Reflections in Black: Dillard alumna Samella Lewis


HBCUs after COVID-19: Sheen exclusive with President Kimbrough


Esmail discusses COVID-related financial difficulties for low-income workers


President Kimbrough talks fall 2020 amid COVID-19 with The Atlantic


Saloy comments on roots of jazz funerals as COVID-19 silences tradition


Alumna, DU 40 Under 40 recipient Mitchell selected MyNewOrleans.com Top Female Achiever


Hebert, Lesen, Fos named to COVID task force

Fos, Lesen discuss COVID racial disparities with columnist Sutton

AD Barnes discusses future of college athletics, institutions amid COVID

Columnist Sutton on COVID disparities: "Lesen...tried to warn us."

Alumnus Raj Smoove's online DJ sets create social connection

Hébert: "Protect La.'s vulnerable African Americans"

Lesen visits "CBS Evening News" to discuss COVID disparities

Nursing, Community Relations make PPE donations

Lesen: COVID disparities "produced by policy"

Environmental journalism professor cites Lesen

La. Budget Project cites Lesen

AD Barnes featured as P.O.W.E.R.ful women series

Collins discusses governor's COVID federal disaster declaration

Food Studies featured in USA Today's agriculture issue

Hébert: 10 things for African Americans to protect themselves from COVID

SAFE Fund featured example of how HBCUs try to minimize student debt

President Kimbrough examines Trump's claim to have saved HBCUs

Report: HBCUs produce higher income, more prosperity for students

President Kimbrough: "Missouri effect" part of HBCU enrollment increase

Alumnus Lynn leverages Facebook employment to help small businesses

AD Barnes on athletics' post-Katrina return: "Hiring, trust and relationships are everything."

Report: HBCUs produce more upwardly mobile graduates than PWIs 

Alumna Bolden recognized by National AfterSchool Association

AT&T donates $250,000 to College of Business

Kimbrough joins star-studded panel at Essence Fest to discuss HBCUs' helping close nation's economic divide

President Kimbrough featured on MyNewOrleans.com in style

University receives $1.25M for STEM research



DILLARD UNIVERSITY

2601 Gentilly Boulevard
New Orleans, Louisiana 70122
504.283.8822

Dillard University Seal