The Louisiana-based volunteer network of first responders credited with saving the lives of thousands during Hurricane Katrina is headed to Texas to aid in the Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. With boats and supplies in tow, the so-called Cajun Navy has been departing in small groups for Houston and its surrounding areas since Sunday.
“There’s no telling how many are already over there,” Joey Hains of Lafayette, Louisiana told USA Today of his ragtag team.
The group rose to prominence in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina for its tireless work on the ground in New Orleans rescuing people from their homes. According to USA Today, volunteers bring their own “hunting boats, shallow draft duck hunting boats with mud motors, airboats, pirogues, kayaks.”
“You name it,” said member Timmy Toups. “Everybody was wide open, going at it.”
Last year, the Cajun Navy—comprised mostly of members from the southern part of the Pelican State, thus the “Cajun” distinction—mobilized to help their neighbors in the aftermath of Louisiana’s historic flooding, and this weekend members didn’t hesitate to spring into action for their friends in the Lone Star State.
“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,” Jordy Bloodsworth told The Advocate. “I have every resource within 100 feet of me to help.”
In addition to the unofficial work of the Cajun Navy, Louisiana Governor Joh Bel Edwards announced on Sunday that he would be sending a search-and-rescue team of 10 agents, 10 trucks, and 10 boats from he Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to Texas. The Republican governor said he would also have two additional teams on standby.
“Nearly 12 years ago, Texans opened their doors to the people of Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina devastated our state,” Edwards said. “In 2016, Texas Taskforce 1 was dispatched to our state to provide support during the historic floods. We will do nothing less to support to the people of Texas in any way that we can as they respond and recover from Hurricane Harvey.”
All the while, Edwards reminded his residents to remain vigilant, for while their state has been spared the brunt of Hurricane Harvey, they are not “out of the woods” just yet.
Ultimately, members of the Cajun Navy felt as though it was their turn to pay it forward, given all the support Texans—Houstonians specifically—showed them during the Katrina relief efforts some 12 years ago.
“Most everybody, they have jobs and they’re just going out,” Haines said. “We’re just more than willing to go and help wherever we can.”