Population: Estimated 2,000-2,800
About: Coden, AL, is an unincorporated community located in southern Mobile County. The community is situated on the bayou that is connected to the Mississippi Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. Coden is located approximately three miles away from Bayou La Batre, and both communities share many of the same characteristics. The name comes from Coq d’Inde, the French word for “turkey”. Coden has also always been a successful seafood and fishing community. In addition to the seafood industry, Coden had a boom in its economy during the 1800s as the Mobile area became a popular tourist destination. The area was known for its resorts until a hurricane in 1906 destroyed the area and all of the businesses within it. Although the tourism industry was no longer in Coden, the town was still able to rebuild its economy with the thriving and consistent seafood industry. The area has a large Asian American population. Many Asian Americans in the area immigrated from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos for the seafood and boat building industries that provide similar opportunities to the Vietnamese seafood and boating industries.
Fun Fact: The Rolson Hotel was built in Coden after a hurricane in 1906 destroyed most other lodging and tourist spots in the area. The hotel was popular with fishermen and helped revitalize the area until 1927 when it burned. Today, where the Rolson Hotel once stood, Bayou La Batre has installed a bayfront park and historic marker to remind visitors of the area’s history in tourism.
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Meet the Coden Community Liaison, Khiaw Srihanouvong
ENI is a community-focused, community-shaped initiative. Community Liaisons act as a resource to help communities shape ENI to fit their needs and wants. If you want to learn more or get involved with ENI, reach out to your Community Liaison.
Khiaw Srihanouvong was born in Savannaket, Laos. During the Vietnam War, his family escaped to Thailand, where they stayed in a refugee camp. A church group sponsored Khiaw’s family, and at the age of five he arrived in America. A family of German Mennonites from Pennsylvania took them in and quickly became like family. Eventually Khiaw moved with his parents to live near his mother’s family in Ohio.
Khiaw graduated from Shawnee High School and took some college courses at the Ohio State Branch in Lima, OH. He eventually moved to Mobile, AL, where most of his family currently resides. As he got to know the community, Khiaw became someone people reach out to for help. He frequently helps with translations, assists with filling out paperwork, and brings community members in need to doctor visits. Khiaw enjoys the happiness he sees in them because it makes him feel good inside, too.