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“Cajun Navy” heads West to rescue Texans stranded by Harvey

HURRICANE HARVEY

Joe Raedle | GettyImages North America | AFP

John Burger - published on 08/29/17

Louisianans remember how Houstonians helped them when Katrina struck New Orleans.

The number one rule of the Cajun Navy is simple: If you’ve got a boat and people need help, get to it.

That’s what’s driving a flotilla of good Samaritans, mostly from southern Louisiana—Cajun country—to help their neighbors in need across the state line to the west. On Sunday, a brigade of “pickup trucks and small fishing vessels” traveled more than four hours to the Houston area, hoping to help people who are trapped or stranded. This in spite of the fact that Louisiana itself is getting drenched in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and flash flood watches have been issued for many areas.

USA Today said the group was formed 12 years ago after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and has saved thousands of stranded people since then.

“The reality of the Cajun Navy is everybody out here with a boat that isn’t devastated gets out and helps others,” Clyde Cain, who runs the Facebook page Louisiana Cajun Navy, told USA TODAY last August.

“I can’t look at somebody knowing that I have a perfect boat in my driveway to be doing this and to just sit at home,” said Jordy Bloodsworth, who was headed for Texas Sunday night. “I have every resource within 100 feet of me to help.”

Volunteers’ watercraft could be anything from a kayak to a hunting boat.

In addition to the volunteer effort, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards was sending a search-and-rescue team from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Joey Hains of Lafayette, La., said Cajuns remember the kindness that Houstonians showed Louisianans fleeing Katrina, and that he and his fellow boaters want to repay the favor.

Many families trapped in Houston are posting their address on social media, pleading for help. The Cajun Navy is urging anyone who needs help to download the Zello Walkie Talkie app and type in “Texas search and rescue.”

Jon Bridgers Sr., an organizer in charge of the Cajun Navy 2016 Facebook page, was also busy helping to organize volunteers and collecting water and food to take to Houston once the water recedes, said KPLC TV in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

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