In a modern-day Dunkirk, Cajun members and locals join the rescue with their own small boats
With Harvey's devastating rains still falling, waters still rising and shelters filling fast, a sliver of heartening news. Urging "Houston Hang On," members of Louisiana's Cajun Navy, a group of several hundred "citizen samaritans" and "bad asses who save lives" have arrived with boats in tow to join rescue operations. The ragtag Navy formed in the disastrous wake of 2005's Katrina; when the feds of FEMA offered too little too late, hundreds of volunteers picked up the slack, vowing, "We rise up and unite and rescue our neighbors!" They re-deployed during last year's floods in Louisiana, and when Harvey hit, remembering Katrina-era help from many Texans, they decided to pay it forward. (You can too, here and here.)
Cajun members have been heading to Houston towing a makeshift caravan of boats, from airboats to kayaks to shallow duck hunting boats: "The reality is everybody out here with a boat that isn’t devastated gets out and helps others." Assuring those stranded, "We got your back," they ask via Facebook, Twitter, and Zello, a smartphone app, for names and addresses of those in need, and they get them. "My brother's still trapped, no access to roof, contact....My friend and her two kids are stuck on second floor, water rising quickly, at...." Among the dramatic rescues Monday, three Cajun members pulled a lifeless elderly woman from the water and resuscitated her. Many have expressed their gratitude for such good amidst the bad: "Nature called and these incredible Louisianians answered. The entire state of Texas thanks you." Given the times, others take a broader view: "We don't have an American leader, but we have each other."