September 12, 2016

Weathering the Storm

Scott Burns


Some state senators have tried to propose legislation that would require members of the Cajun Navy to receive formal training and certification from the government… This proposal was immediately met a flood of backlash from members of the Cajun Navy. As Dustin Clouatre, a Cajun Navy member from St. Amant, Louisiana, said: "How can you regulate helping people?"

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Anna Johnson didn't have to go to church on Sunday, Aug. 14 to hear prophetic stories about the dead being raised from their graves. That morning, the Denham Springs, Louisiana native awoke to an eerie sight: a procession of coffins uprooted from a nearby cemetery by the rushing floodwaters steadily floating down her street. Her community was buried beneath six feet of floodwater. "We've never seen anything like it," she said.

What's most extraordinary about this story isn't the haunting imagery of the floating dead casually drifting through the streets or the enormous magnitude of the damage that resulted from what the Red Cross called "the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy." It's what people like Johnson and her husband did next. Undeterred by the floating coffins and raging current, Johnson's husband immediately set out on his boat to help the local sheriff's department rescue those in jeopardy.

He was just one of thousands of Good Samaritans who risked their lives to save their neighbors. Louisianans affectionately refer to this armada of hunters, fisherman and ordinary citizens from all across the south who deployed their own motorized boats to rescue thousands of people and pets stranded by the flood as the "Cajun Navy."

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