Unsung civilian heroes: The Louisiana Cajun Navy comes to the rescue of people in dire situations during natural disasters

By Carolyn Sistrand, AccuWeather staff writer
September 14, 2018, 1:11:27 PM EDT

When Hurricane Harvey tore its way through Texas in 2017, devastating floods led to emergency high water rescues of over 30,000 people. Most of these evacuations were carried out by citizens.

While some citizens rescuing those in need were neighbors or fellow Texans, there was one group of civilian volunteers assembled that few recognize: the Louisiana Cajun Navy.

Founded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana Cajun Navy is a group of volunteer citizens from the State of Louisiana. They deploy in the wake of the country’s most catastrophic natural disasters to help in rescue efforts.

Cajun Navy rescues residents in New Bern, North Carolina - 9/14/2018

The Cajun Navy rescues stranded residents in New Bern, North Carolina, as storm surge waters inundates the coastal city. (Twitter photo/ David Rankin @Rankinstudio)

The volunteers have one mission: rescue, relieve, rebuild.

“From the under privileged, the homeless, and all veterans in this country, we won't stand by and watch another person suffer, struggle, and fight for their lives, while the world passes by,” the mission statement on the official Louisiana Cajun Navy page reads.

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The Cajun Navy aims to help neighbors and fellow Americans in need of assistance or rescue instead of waiting around for other means of help to arrive.

They were there for Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Gordon, as well as making rescues during the Louisiana Flood of 2016. They are in the Carolinas, already engaging in hundreds of rescues in areas inundated by flooding rain and intense storm surge flooding.

AccuWeather’s Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer assisted Cajun Navy volunteers during the rescue of an elderly man in New Bern, North Carolina, a town that experienced some of the worst flooding during Hurricane Florence so far.

If you are in need of assistance during a natural disaster, the Louisiana Cajun Navy urges you to call 911 first but to reach out to them as well through their request help and supplies form. You can also find the link on their Twitter page, @CajunNavyRelief, where they provide safety tips and updates as well as Facebook where they have linked CrowdSource Rescue, another option to request a rescue along with other emergency contacts.

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