The Good Samaritan group know as the Cajun Navy, who gained national attention and saved thousands of lives during the great flood of 2016 are displeased with lawmakers. Jonathan Perry, a Republican state senator, is pushing to have these volunteers licensed and force them to pay to be officially trained as rescuers. The Cajun Navy doesn’t like the idea, seeing this as unnecessary restrictions.
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Perry claims in a Facebook post that he’s simply trying to help. “The intent of what I want to do is to completely un-regulate it, to where our volunteers are not stopped from going out,” he explained.
Perry says he actually wants more people to join the Cajun Navy, explaining his legislation would “basically to remove any restrictions and allow people to get to our citizens quicker.”
The Cajun Navy now feel that they are being hindered in their ability to assist the people they see in need. One member of the Cajun Navy, Dustin Clouatre of St. Amant, is speaking out against the idea of this legislation. “How can you regulate people helping people? That doesn’t make sense to me,” he says. “For the most part, these people are not going to wait for assistance,” Clouatre added. “They’re doers.”
Sen. Perry feels that if legislation is not passed, Good Samaritans like the Cajun Navy will continue to be stopped by officials and prevented from rescuing people because, under current law, citizens who cross barricades or perimeters set-up by law enforcement face punishment for breaking the law.
The Cajun Navy argues that they do the jobs that others have refused to do. Clouatre claims that he and other members have save entire neighborhoods that were completely underwater. He adds that they know the flooded areas better than anyone and have been doing what official rescuers wouldn’t be able to do.