The Cajun Navy comes to the rescue in Houston. Below are extracts from an article by Sally Jenkins at the WaPo (hat tip American Thinker):
At a time such as this, you want the guys who can still thread a line when their hands are wet and cold. They’re descending on Houston in their fleets of flat-bottomed aluminum boats, the sport fishermen and duck hunters outnumbering the government rescuers by the hundreds, their skiffs sitting low in the floodwaters with their human catch in the back, clutching plastic-wrapped possessions.
The country is suddenly grateful for this “Cajun Navy,” for their know-how, for the fact that they can read a submerged log in the water, and haul their boats over tree stumps and levees and launch them from freeway junctions. There are no regulators to check their fishing licenses or whether they have a fire extinguisher and life preservers on board, which they don’t. They’re used to maneuvering through the cypress of Caddo Lake or the hydrilla and coontail of the Atchafalaya, where the water might be four feet or it might rise to 18, and the stinking bog is called “coffee grinds” because of the way boots sink in it. Spending hours in monsoon rains doesn’t bother them, because they know ducks don’t just show up on a plate, and they’ve learned what most of us haven’t, that dry comfort is not the only thing worth seeking.
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They speak an oddly poetic language, of spinnerbait and jigs, chatterbait and Texas rigs, of palomar knots and turls. They have suspended their pursuit of bass and black crappies, blue gills and redfish, crawfish and panfish, to motor through subdivisions, shirtless in the rain. You can’t help but be struck by just how much they know how to do — and how much your citified self doesn’t. Trim a rocking boat, tie a secure knot, navigate the corduroying displaced water, and interpret the faint dull colors in the mist-heavy clouds.
Buster Stoker, 21, is a heavy equipment operator for R&R Construction in Sulphur, La., and spends the rest of his time in his 17-foot aluminum Pro Drive marsh boat, fishing for alligator-gar in the heat of summer and chasing fowl through water-thickets in the winter.
“The best day on the water is every day on the water,” he said.
He and several other construction colleagues met in the company parking lot Monday morning at 5 a.m., loaded up with gas and supplies, and headed toward Houston. They launched their little fleet of 14 craft from the intersection of Highway 90 and 526, and over the next several hours they pulled hundreds of people out of their flooded homes in subdivisions, hauling them aboard like gasping bass.
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This Cajun Navy is a nebulous, informal thing. It has no real corps or officers. It’s “an intensely informal and unorganized operation,” says Academy Award-winning filmmaker Allan Durand, a Lafayette, La., native., who did a documentary on the “Cajun Navy” volunteer-boats following Katrina.
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The same groups have by now acquired deep experience in storm-aid and are growing thanks to social media. They were critical in helping Baton Rouge residents during historic flooding there a year ago, when federal help wasn’t forthcoming. It’s a movement basically founded on the realization that large government agencies aren’t quick-moving.
According to Honore, they have become utterly essential.
“The first-responders aren’t big enough to do this,” he said. “You might have a police force of 3,000, and maybe 200 know how to handle a boat.”
Full story is here.
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