“We’ll Deal with the Consequences Later”: The Cajun Navy and the Vigilante Future of Disaster Relief

Miriam Markowitz in GQ:

Cajun-navy-leadThe people of Louisiana first began to call themselves the Cajun Navy during Katrina, when people like Todd Terrell went to rescue their neighbors in New Orleans. They revived the name last year when Baton Rouge experienced what residents now call the Great Flood. In swampy Louisiana, the old joke says, at any one time half the state is under water and the other half is under indictment. There are the big storms that capture the attention of the public, like Hurricane Betsy in 1965, and Katrina, 40 years later—but every year that Louisiana doesn’t get a named storm, it floods just the same. Today there are at least three separate outfits who go by the Cajun Navy moniker, and dozens more who’ve been inspired by it, including but not limited to the Cajun Army (for people without boats), the Cajun Special Forces, the Cajun Airlift, and the Cajun Green Cross, as well as the Texas Navy and the Cracker Navy in Florida, which was formed during Hurricane Irma. In Texas, during the week that Harvey hit, pretty much every Louisiana man with a boat identified himself as Cajun Navy, as did many more who weren’t from Louisiana but were among the thousands who converged in Texas from across the country.

More here.