In July 2003, I received an email from Phong Vu, a young man who grew up in Southern California,
but who now lives in Saigon. He found this website while doing an Internet search for Thu Duc, the
town where he was born.
One correspondence led to another, with the result that he graciously offered to travel around the Saigon
and Thu Duc areas and take photographs of some of the same things I had photographed in 1968-69.
What you see here are the results of that offer. In many cases, as you can see, he was unable
to get exactly the right angle, but otherwise he did a terrific job and my gratitude to him is boundless.
- Nguyen Hue Boulevard facing northeast. That's the Hôtel de Ville in the background,
which isn't a hotel at all, but is now the "People's Committee Building". It was formerly the Saigon city hall.
- A closer view of the Hôtel de Ville; that's a large bronze statue of Ho Chi Minh in front of the building
in the new picture.
- The Saigon Opera House. This building was prominently featured in the recent film
adaptation of Graham Greene's The Quiet American.
- The main post office in Saigon, across from the Saigon Notre Dame cathedral.
- The small square in front of the cathedral. Back then it was called John F. Kennedy Square.
I am sure that is no longer the case.
- The front of the Notre Dame cathedral.
- A view of the back side of the cathedral.
- More Saigon Then and Now. There have been many changes in the last 34 years.
These are a series of four photos showing the changes on Nguyen Hue Blvd.
- Then: The Presidential Palace.
Later: The Unification Palace
Now: Independence Palace
- Two more views of the Presidential/Reunification/Independence Palace.
- The movie theater, then and now. I didn't realize at the time that the famous
Rex Hotel was in the same building, but there it is.
- Somewhere in Saigon. Phong said he could take the picture only at
night because of the traffic. Like me, he was also in a car when he took it.
- City Park near the Palace. That's Tu Do Street at the far corner.
It looks a lot better now with the new landscaping.
- That's the Opera House at the far left corner. Phong tried to find another American
to stand in the same place, but he couldn't find one.
- Statue of General Ngo Quyen, hero of the Battle of Bach Dang.
- Phong's friends hanging out
Thu Duc Then & Now
- Thu Duc central market
- The main street in Thu Duc
- The Catholic church in Thu Duc
- Another view of the church
- Mary's grotto at the church
- School in Thu Duc
- The river north of town. That's a water park you see on the bank of the river on the left. Phong assures
me that people do not slide directly into the river...