The Truth about the 'Cajun Navy'

in Facebook Posts, Louisiana History

ย ย ย ย The hurricane season is upon us again, and it's the right time for the true story of the founding of "The Cajun Navy."
ย ย ย ย  Simply put, ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—–๐—ฎ๐—ท๐˜‚๐—ป ๐—ก๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐˜† started in the mind of State Sen. Nick Gautreaux of Abbeville, La., as he watched on TV the images of terrible destruction and desperate people trapped by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina. This was on August 31, 2005, two days after the storm came ashore.
ย ย ย ย  Moved by compassion for his fellowman, Sen. Gautreaux contacted the Lafayette, La., TV stations asking them to broadcast a public service announcement: ๐˜Œ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ-๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ป๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜ข ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ˆ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ข ๐˜”๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜‘๐˜ฐ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜š๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜“๐˜ข๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜บ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฃ๐˜บ 5 ๐˜ฐ'๐˜ค๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ค๐˜ฌ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜•๐˜ฆ๐˜ธ ๐˜–๐˜ณ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ฑ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ค๐˜ถ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ง๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ด.
ย ย ย ย  Gaureaux expected 30 to 40 boats and hopefully 100 people to come and form this citizen flotilla. But, incredibly, 300 to 500 boats showed up along with 600 to 800 people โ€“ from Lafayette, Abbeville, Lake Charles, Opelousas and other Acadiana communities. It was an impressive site as the caravan โ€“ stretching for miles, like a cargo train โ€“ moved on I-10 eastward over the Atchafalaya Basin. Men and women on a mission of mercy.
ย ย ย ย  "What we did was typical Louisiana," Gautreaux would say later. "We had doctors, lawyers, college students, nurses, working class people.... It's part of our Cajun heritage to help our neighbor. When New Orleans needed help, we were there to help them."
ย ย ย ย  More of the story can be found in the book, "๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜›๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜š๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฎ๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง 2005: ๐˜๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ ๐˜’๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ข ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ ๐˜™๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ข," available at www.acadianhouse.com/south-louisiana-regional. Other versions of the Cajun Navy were formed in later years, in Baton Rouge and other south Louisiana cities, and they went on to perform notable heroic rescues in the wake of other natural disasters.

(Photos: At top is Nick Gautreaux, in green shirt; at bottom is boat captain Mickey Monceaux of Lake Charles.)

#cajunnavy #naturaldisasters #hurricanekatrina #hurricanerita #heroism #neworleans #southlouisiana #cajuncountry



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