Day 17, we've been here since early the first morning and we're going harder than ever. Here's a rundown. We've organized hundreds of volunteers in this last few weeks... and are now running three different operstions. Food, supply and field operations. On the first day, Thursday our founder, Rob Gaudet and DJ Elam and a few other volunteers met at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Standing there, in the shadow of the newly destroyed Calcasieu Tower and watching across the lake, we noticed the PPG plant fire. A giant toxic plum of black and white smoke was floating NE over I-10 from behind the Casino. Our team was the first to report it to the authorities, FEMA called us and asked us to send a video then ordered us to head as far from it as we could get, they used VERBOSE language littered with the F word to emphasize their point!! 🤣 We obeyed and proceeded to scout the city to figure out where we could help. First we stopped to clear trees in front of Barbe Elementary. Next we removed a giant tree blocking a four way stop in a elderly community in SE LC. We started simple and GREW.
Those first 3 days , we met several teams and ended up partnering with another group of guys from PA. Didn't take long for 75 other guys to join us with equipment. The Cajun Navy Ground Force organized every morning, still does, into teams and fired up chain saws and skid steers to clear roads. We staged at Walmart on hwy 171 and started by clearing the entire community of Gooseport in the first 3 days. In those critical first days, we had little cell coverage and no services were available for anyone. We also became a mini Walmart IN the Walmart parking lot right there on hwy 171. The managers at Walmart were AMAZING. They let us requisition items from the store at no charge as we needed things.
For phase two, we expanded operations by starting to serve food from Tia Juanita's Fish Camp after it was offered as a base of operations by the owner.
In the last 2 weeks that we have been at the Fish Camp over 200 volunteers have helped to serve 40,000 meals in our now famous Cajun Navy Car Hop drive through. 🤟💪❤️ We have had to work hard and be extra efficient to keep up with the drive through service. We are trying hard to not block up traffic down Ryan street. Just yesterday we purchased a large gas BBQ cooker that we hope will help.
For phase three we want to combine social media and volunteerism and take citizen-led reporting to a new level. We are seeking 500 volunteers to apply to work 6 hour shifts as a volunteer, then spend 6 hour shifts telling the story of how hurricane Laura decimated the beautiful Cajun communities in the heart of SW Louisiana. If you're a journalist at heart, if you have empathy, if you love people, THIS is your chance to exercise your voice. THIS is a rare opportunity, a once in a lifetime chance to touch many lives. Your voice is badly needed.
Apply to the City With No Lights project at cajunrelief.org.
BTW, we are supported remotely by a citizen-led emergency operations team over 100 volunteers. Keyboard warriors. Speaking frankly, this is HOW we are able to do what we do. For every guy on the ground there are numerous behind the scenes volunteers you don't see in the photos and never will, they don't get the adrenaline rush that comes with the clearing of roads with a chain saw or hugs from those we help. We are writing a blog post this morning to tell the story of our AMAZING REMARKABLE TALENTED citizen EOC. DOZENS of Keyboard warriors at their kitchen tables supporting our operations. WE WOULD NOT EXIST WITHOUT THEM. They connect us, clear road blocks, dispatch teams, find resources, schedule deliveries, recruit and vet volunteers, comfort the elderly on the phone, update our social media, run our Zello channel....they work around the clock and we are grateful for this team AND we need to shout their names from the rooftops and hang banners in their honor. Can we get a 'Go Cajun Navy EOC' in their honor!!! 💪🤟❤️
Support us at CajunRelief.org