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  • 作家相片Chi Hsu

Browsing in the Garden District | 花園般的眷村


吉客鏈:獨棟花園式宅邸 X 非竹籬笆傳統眷村

X 大江南北的眷村美食


It is a pleasant neighborhood in a city, in which housing and open spaces are green and people friendly. I have two places in mind where behold beautiful detached houses with gardens. One is in the Garden District of New Orleans and the other one is in the Ming-De & Chien-Ye veterans' villages of Tsoying, Kaohsiung.

Mansions in New Orleans

We have all experienced the lockdown mode of the world in 2020. But the New Year of 2020, Richard and I were in New Orleans, and had some of very fresh and laid back days. It was the precious memory of this year!

We had an half day walking in the garden district (note 1), and browsed some of the beautiful mansions (Images below).

(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)

It recalled the memories of my teenager time - every Sunday morning, I cycled to an art studio to learn Chinese calligraphy and the pleasure of cycling was to browse some beautiful detached houses and their gardens in the village.

Veterans Village across taiwan

Across Taiwan, there were 886 veterans' villages which were built in 1940s - 50s. The living environment and lifestyle became a unique style of community. Most of those villages were simply built along the military facilities and bases for soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines from mainland China in 1949 onwards.

Of the 886 villages (see the left map below), there are only 13 being preserved (see the right map below). Others had demolished or await to take down for other real estate developments. 1 of 13 villages preserved is the one I mentioned - Ming-De & Chien-Ye veterans' village.

(Map source | left: 青刊社地圖工作室 / right: 886 眷村文化園區)

I knew the neighborhood well because my dad was one of soldiers in 1949 and he settled down in the neighborhood's outer region. I grew up, studied, and hang out nearby. We didn't live there as the neighborhood was for the rank of General. My dad's superiors lived there. He was given a young couple when he married my mum. The house had a single room only and the common area was a shared kitchen and bathroom with other young couples. The conditions were very basic and there was only little privacy. My Mum and Dad moved to the freehold of a terraced house just before I was born.

Ming-De & Chien-Ye Veterans Villages - 明德新村|建業新村

Prior to my 20s, the generals' houses, the detached house with gardens, were the most beautiful living places in my world. I loved to cycle there every Sunday morning.

Some of preserved houses are now becoming the guest houses, galleries, studios and restaurant operations with 5-year leasehold. Some are still vacant. I cycled to there again a month ago and the greenery streetscapes remained the same. I felt relieved that my memory of veterans' village preserved bit with new spirits.

(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)

The Gourmet of Veterans Village - 眷村美食

Although the original basis of the veterans' villages is gone, its spirit remains through gourmet food mixed from the various provinces of mainland China. The veterans came from all over China and brought their food traditions with them.

The flavor of the kitchens and dining rooms from there now can smell in the side street of the city. I was pleased to enjoy the gourmet with my old friend, Fanli, and her family yesterday. Fanli's dad was escaped from Hunan province to Taiwan via Vietnam after the Civil War. My Dad came from Tianjin. (I recorded my Dad's oral history, please refer to 父親的農曆春節|1949 vs 2020

During the lunch, I described the garden look of the veterans' village again with her son and his girlfriend.

(Photo Credit | Zhi-Ping, Kao)

Military-themed Tour

Taiwan is an island with the traditions of diverse settlements. The thousands of veterans whom keep the mainlanders' culture that remain well in Taiwan. I am the second generation so being a part of that. My original neighborhood is developing with military-themed place making which is informative. Wish you visit there after lockdown mode is over.


[Note 1] (Source: Wiki) The Garden District is a neighborhood of the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. The area was originally developed between 1832 and 1900 and is considered one of the best-preserved collections of historic mansions in the Southern United States. The 19th-century origins of the Garden District illustrate wealthy newcomers building opulent structures based upon the prosperity of New Orleans in that era. (National Trust, 2006)


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