The Cajun Navy, heroes of the Louisiana flood, rescues humans and animals
With record floods displacing thousands in recent days, many Louisiana residents were hit by surprise and unable to evacuate in time. National Weather Service data indicates 57 areas of the state reported rainfall amounts between 4 and 26 inches over four days in the past week, causing substantial damage, injury, and 13 deaths (by the time of this writing), with victims named from the regions of East Baton Rough Parish, Tangipahoa Parish, St. Helena Parish, Livingston Parish and Rapides Parish. River heights broke records as well, with some tools of measurement being rendered useless as “the water levels exceed the instruments’ measuring capability.”
Some area citizens, after realizing the floods had surprised neighbors unaccustomed to floods in their part of the state, sprang into action. The group, referred to as the ‘Cajun Navy,’ is a loosely-connected crew of civilian residents first seen rescuing others during events of Hurricane Katrina, sprang into action immediately. Responding to the cries for help on social media, the Cajun Navy hopped into their own boats and set out to bring supplies to some while rescuing others, both human and animal, stranded in the storm’s swirling waters and deadly aftermath of dangerous strong currents.
Cajun Navy member and Tangipahoa Parish resident Clyde Cain explains, “The reality of the Cajun Navy is everybody out here with a boat that isn’t devastated gets out and helps others. We’re just one big network.” Cain runs the Facebook page Louisiana Cajun Navy, which, among other similar social media groups and pages, has been created to match the needs of residents with the skills and supplies of those who have them at the ready. The page can be viewed and joined by anyone approved in the area who has or needs help. Cain hopes to develop his group into an official registry of volunteers who will be in contact easily upon the next disaster.
Timmy Toups, another member and resident, agrees with this plan. Toups shares his perspective that, “They (the government) can only do so much. We have resources. We live in boats. My whole family is commercial fishermen. I grew up on the water. There is not too much that I’m going to come across out there that I cannot deal with on the fly.”
For those who want to help but are unable to join the Cajun Navy, there are other ways.
- volunteerlouisiana.gov is accepting volunteers
- Red Cross is accepting donations via phone by call at 1-800-REDCROSS or text LAFLOODS to 90999 to donate $10
- Those outside the area wishing to donate supplies through the mail
- Pets and animals can be helped with donations of money or supplies here