When Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana back in 2005, the governor and others called upon citizens to assist with rescue efforts taking place across the state. Twenty-three boats responded and in the end, the Cajun Navy rescued over 10,000 people that were stranded from Hurrican Katrina. That rescue was the beginning of the Cajun Navy.
After Hurricane Harvey hit Houston on Friday, the Cajun Navy began its rally once more. About 3 dozen members mobilized trucks, boats and volunteers and headed to Texas on a 4 1/2 hour road trip, where they arrived on Monday to support in the rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Due to flooding near the west of Houston, the Cajun Navy pulled over at a truck stop. They used social media and their Facebook page to call upon others.
“Please Like and Share the page so that we can again make a difference during yet another disaster.”
What is the Cajun Navy?
The boats in question aren’t your typical naval boats and the Cajun Navy isn’t your typical navy. They are good-hearted folks from Louisiana who strike out in their fishing boats, their hunting boats, their shallow draft duck hunting boats, their airboats and their canoes and kayaks to rescue those in need of rescuing. The groups origins trace back to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but they became more of a well-known, officially branded organization following Louisiana’s “Great Flood of 2016.”
The Cajun Navy isn’t comprised solely of people from Louisiana and also includes boaters and volunteers from neighboring Mississippi.
Outreach Through Facebook
Part of the reason why the Cajun Navy was so effective in 2016 was because of their skilled use of social media. Over 70,000 people like their Facebook page, which is helpful in the wake of disasters as it makes it easier to get the word out for help. The group also uses Twitter to help communicate and recruit volunteers.
Since Sunday morning, stranded residents in Texas have been reaching out to the Navy via Twitter, using the #CajunNavy hashtag.
Organizers for a Cajun Navy Facebook page announced some difficulty in mustering their full volunteer force due to poor road conditions, but are using their communication networks to help coordinate relief and recovery efforts online.
The Cajuns adhere to the motto, “We don’t wait for the help, we are the help.”
If you or someone you know are in need of rescue, please download the Zello app, type in Texas search and rescue, and then search for any search and rescue close to your vicinity. This will connect you with officials on the ground there that can navigate help your way. PLEASE SHARE!
As Cajun Navy member Gary Davis posted to to a Hurricane Harvey Facebook page,
“We are a well oiled machine but we need your help also. We try to avoid going on blind missions so point of contacts and names are a must if you can. Please be patient with us we are here for you all. GOD BLESS TEXAS. We got your backs.”
The group has rescuers in Texas already and more are expected. Those who have arrived have brought their own boats to aid in the rescue efforts.
As the Cajun Navy posted on their Facebook page,
“Please if any one can offer help with boats etc, by all means start mobilizing towards the Dickinson Texas area. The staging area at Dickinson is 1353 FM 646 Dickinson Texas. Prayers for all, love to all”
John Bridgers the organizer of the Cajun Navy 2016 stayed back in LA to handle the overwhelming response and support team. During Katrina their Cajun Navy is credited for rescuing more than ten thousand people.
Jon Bridgers posted,
“When you pull up to an individual’s house and they’re wading out of five feet of water with a duffel bag over their head, and you pull them into your boat, you realize that’s all they’ve got in that moment. That stays with you, for good and bad.”
The Cajun Navy is sharing numerous Google maps on its Facebook page of those who need to be rescued. The group is also posting numerous updates of what the group’s rescue plans are. For more safety tips and updates, follow the Cajun Navy on Facebook.
“We have more of us in route and a very large group departing tomorrow with a Louisiana state police escort,” Jon Bridgers Sr. posted on the organization’s Facebook page. “Hang in there and may God be with you.”
As with any volunteer organization, the Cajun Navy’s efforts are bolstered by donations.
The group accepts financial donations through their website, but also accept other donations, such as food, drinks and supplies.
CONTACT FOR EMERGENCY SERVICE
In addition to the Cajun Navy, the local law enforcement officials on Sunday evening requested help from anyone with a boat willing to join rescue teams.
Anyone with a boat who can volunteer to help please call 713-881-3100 #HurricaneHarvey
In addition to the Cajun Navy and Houston Police, the Coast Guard is also supporting rescue efforts for Hurrican Harvey.
Are hearts and prayers are with all those in Texas, especially those in the Houston and other areas dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.