Report from Louisiana: The Cajun Navy = True Heroes

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Report from Louisiana: The Cajun Navy = True Heroes

By: Pat Austin

SHREVE­PORT – A week after the cat­a­clysmic event, the national media is slowly begin­ning to notice that Louisiana is flooding.

Don­ald Trump came to visit this week which gar­nered a bit of atten­tion, mostly from pun­dits who wanted to mock him for bring­ing Play­Doh to kids who have lost all of their toys, their homes, their sta­bil­ity, their pets, and every­thing they know.

In Liv­ingston Parish, 87% of the homes there flooded. In Baton Rouge, at least 40,000 homes are believed to have flooded. Most of these peo­ple don’t have flood insur­ance. The num­bers are staggering.

Jazz Shaw at Hot Air makes the point that all these vis­its by politi­cians to dis­as­ter areas are basi­cally pointless:

What are we really accom­plish­ing with pres­i­den­tial vis­its to nat­ural dis­as­ter areas other than set­ting up polit­i­cally ori­ented photo ops or chances for oppo­nents to score a few cheap shots?

I can answer that: the vis­its raise hope. They encour­age peo­ple who have noth­ing left. They show peo­ple that some­one cares about their plight.

From The Advo­cate:

[Rep. Steve] Scalise, the House Major­ity Whip who rep­re­sents Louisiana’s 1st Dis­trict, said he thought Trump’s visit was help­ful to the state and to flood victims.

You can see how he really lifted the spir­its of a lot of peo­ple who need that right now,” Scalise said after Trump left. “One of the most impor­tant jobs of a pres­i­dent as it relates to national dis­as­ters is to show up and show peo­ple you care.”

At this point, most of the peo­ple in the south Louisiana flood zone don’t really care if Obama shows up or not. That he didn’t feel com­pelled to inter­rupt his golf game on Martha’s Vine­yard long enough to visit, to show con­cern, or that his staff didn’t care enough to even put up a state­ment on the White House web page for sev­eral days, speaks vol­umes. He isn’t up for re-​election and could not care less what hap­pens here.

Hillary Clin­ton finally got around to mak­ing a state­ment nearly a week after the dev­as­ta­tion. She isn’t com­ing, by the way. She thinks it would be dis­rup­tive, and maybe so, but she really doesn’t care about us either.

One group who does care what hap­pens though, is the Cajun Navy. You may have heard about them. The Cajun Navy is a group of vol­un­teers who stepped up to help those in need when oth­ers would not. Before the soak­ing rains moved out of the area, the Cajun Navy was already head­ing out in canoes, boats, pirogues, you name it, ready to go in and res­cue the helpless.

That’s the thing: the flood­ing was so vast that first respon­ders just could not get to all of the cries for help. For days these cit­i­zen sol­diers in The Cajun Navy have been pulling peo­ple off of roofs, out of houses, sav­ing pets, res­cu­ing horses in pas­tures inun­dated with water. These peo­ple know the back roads. They know the coun­try­side. They know where to go.

And if they don’t know where to go, they set up com­mu­ni­ca­tion on Zello and Glympse to help man­age the requests for help. They helped their neigh­bors, they saved strangers, they checked levees.

Now they are help­ing dis­trib­ute dona­tions and sup­plies and are help­ing gut houses ruined by floodwaters.

There are no gov­ern­ment dol­lars help­ing them, no GoFundMe page, and they accept no dona­tions. They aren’t sell­ing t-​shirts. They are just doing what is right.

So, we don’t really need an Obama entourage down here. The golf courses are under water anyway.

We could use Red Cross dona­tions, though. It’s really impor­tant that the nation doesn’t for­get about south Louisiana now that the waters are reced­ing. The ruin and dev­as­ta­tion is still here. Dona­tions and sup­port are needed.

It’s going to be a long haul, but we are #LouisianaS­trong and we will recover. We are grate­ful for Don­ald Trump’s visit, grate­ful that even though it might have been a photo-​op, he still cared enough to come. He made a siz­able dona­tion to flood relief. He made some kids smile.

But most of all, we are proud of our Cajun Navy who no doubt are the heroes of the Flood of 2016.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – A week after the cataclysmic event, the national media is slowly beginning to notice that Louisiana is flooding.

Donald Trump came to visit this week which garnered a bit of attention, mostly from pundits who wanted to mock him for bringing PlayDoh to kids who have lost all of their toys, their homes, their stability, their pets, and everything they know.

In Livingston Parish, 87% of the homes there flooded.  In Baton Rouge, at least 40,000 homes are believed to have flooded.  Most of these people don’t have flood insurance.  The numbers are staggering.

Jazz Shaw at Hot Air makes the point that all these visits by politicians to disaster areas are basically pointless:

What are we really accomplishing with presidential visits to natural disaster areas other than setting up politically oriented photo ops or chances for opponents to score a few cheap shots?

I can answer that:  the visits raise hope.  They encourage people who have nothing left.  They show people that someone cares about their plight.

From The Advocate:

[Rep. Steve] Scalise, the House Majority Whip who represents Louisiana’s 1st District, said he thought Trump’s visit was helpful to the state and to flood victims.

“You can see how he really lifted the spirits of a lot of people who need that right now,” Scalise said after Trump left. “One of the most important jobs of a president as it relates to national disasters is to show up and show people you care.”

At this point, most of the people in the south Louisiana flood zone don’t really care if Obama shows up or not.  That he didn’t feel compelled to interrupt his golf game on Martha’s Vineyard long enough to visit, to show concern, or that his staff didn’t care enough to even put up a statement on the White House web page for several days, speaks volumes.  He isn’t up for re-election and could not care less what happens here.

Hillary Clinton finally got around to making a statement nearly a week after the devastation.  She isn’t coming, by the way.  She thinks it would be disruptive, and maybe so, but she really doesn’t care about us either.

One group who does care what happens though, is the Cajun Navy.  You may have heard about them. The Cajun Navy is a group of volunteers who stepped up to help those in need when others would not.  Before the soaking rains moved out of the area, the Cajun Navy was already heading out in canoes, boats, pirogues, you name it, ready to go in and rescue the helpless.

That’s the thing: the flooding was so vast that first responders just could not get to all of the cries for help.  For days these citizen soldiers in The Cajun Navy have been pulling people off of roofs, out of houses, saving pets, rescuing horses in pastures inundated with water.  These people know the back roads.  They know the countryside. They know where to go.

And if they don’t know where to go, they set up communication on Zello and Glympse to help manage the requests for help.  They helped their neighbors, they saved strangers, they checked levees.

Now they are helping distribute donations and supplies and are helping gut houses ruined by floodwaters.

There are no government dollars helping them, no GoFundMe page, and they accept no donations.  They aren’t selling t-shirts. They are just doing what is right.

So, we don’t really need an Obama entourage down here.  The golf courses are under water anyway.

We could use Red Cross donations, though.  It’s really important that the nation doesn’t forget about south Louisiana now that the waters are receding.  The ruin and devastation is still here.  Donations and support are needed.

It’s going to be a long haul, but we are #LouisianaStrong and we will recover.  We are grateful for Donald Trump’s visit, grateful that even though it might have been a photo-op, he still cared enough to come.  He made a sizable donation to flood relief.  He made some kids smile.

But most of all, we are proud of our Cajun Navy who no doubt are the heroes of the Flood of 2016.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.