Before the waters rise, the flotilla of volunteer rescuers stands at the ready.

By Rebecca Angel Baer
July 12, 2019
ALEX EDELMAN / Contributor/Getty Images

While our friends in Louisiana and the rest of the gulf coast brace themselves for Tropical Storm Barry, which could strengthen to a category 1 hurricane before it makes landfall, the brave folks of the Louisiana Cajun Navy are already hard at work.

When the levees broke in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, a group of fearless Cajuns banded together to form the citizen lead emergency response group. Ever since, Southerners in cities and towns along the Southern coast have come to trust that when the water starts to rise, the Louisiana Cajun Navy and their rescue flotilla would be there to help.

As the forecast and warnings began to spread, the group mobilized the team and readied their equipment for deployment. By 12:30am Thursday Clyde Cain, admiral of the Louisiana Cajun Navy, was posting a video to their Facebook page to share that they were in place and ready with two airboats and more on the way from Baton Rouge by morning. "We just wanted to let y'all know we did make it to where we needed to get to. There's really no rain right now happening. It's gonna come in slight bands and then it's gonna start coming in tomorrow. So that's when we really have to pay attention. We wanted to get ahead of it, not be traveling," Cain said with a whisper of a Cajun drawl.

By daybreak Friday morning, the group was assembled and began posting live videos explaining how they prepare for a storm to arrive. As Cain shares in one of the videos, this storm isn't like previous storms they've responded to because the area of impact is very wide and the predictions for course and strength keep changing. They have teams assembled in several different places including in Jefferson County, New Orleans, and other areas where the flooding is suspected to be severe.

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Cain also issued some warnings. "Everybody stay safe. Stay out of the water. Move your cars to higher ground if it floods where you're at. Leave if you can. And if you can't, make sure you have enough water. And by all means, don't go in the attic. That is very bad advice. Don't go in your attic. Get on your roof before you go in your attic. Make sure you bring a raincoat, something to keep you from getting hypothermia being out in the rain. Get on the roof. We can rescue you there. We can't hear you in the attic."

The Cajun Navy can only do what they do with the financial support of donations. If you wish to assist in paying for the cost of this deployment—fuel for trucks and boats as well as the equipment needed to clear debris—you can make a donation here.

Please, all stay safe and if you evacuate, take your pets. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Louisiana and all who are in the path of this massive storm.

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