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Published On: Sat, Jul 13th, 2019

Discovery Channel’s ‘Cajun Navy’ premieres July 23, highlighting post-Katrina rescues, heroes

In the days after Hurricane Katrina, a group of ordinary citizens came together with one goal: to pull people from the water. The government had failed New Orleans, and it was up to the people to get the job done. The group filled with fishermen, lawyers, pastors, and housewives were known as the Cajun Navy because its members caravanned down the highways, boats in tow. They mobilized when they realized that their government wasn’t going to act in time.  All that united them was a love of boats and a deep-seated desire to help their fellow man. In that storm, these men and women saved hundreds. When Hurricane Harvey hit, their numbers had grown, and together they saved thousands.

Discovery Channel’s “Cajun Navy”

Now, every year, communities across the southern and eastern portions of the U.S. gear up for what could be the next catastrophic storm.   2018 was no different — it was the third consecutive year of devastating hurricanes.  With intimate access to these heroic men and women during Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael, CAJUN NAVY chronicles the inspiring, spontaneous grass-roots rescue efforts from a movement that started during Hurricane Katrina and lives on today.

CAJUN NAVY premieres Tuesday, July 23 at 10pm ET/PT on Discovery Channel. Viewers can also watch the premiere on the Discovery GO app, free with their paid TV subscription.

From production company Lightbox’s multi award-winning team of double Oscar®-winner Simon Chinn, Emmy® winner Jonathan Chinn, and Suzanne Lavery, directed by award-winning filmmaker James Newton and produced Laura Warner CAJUN NAVY follows a group of men and women who, when everyone else flees deadly storms and floodwaters, run towards it and do the work of saving their community and its people from utter destruction.

Hailing from all walks of life, these everyday people mobilized out of a sheer desire to help their fellow citizens in the face of devastation, even as armed police and FEMA officials ordered them to turn back, or face being arrested and even shot.  Many couldn’t stand by and watch the destruction and were compelled to act because it was in their nature, “to get in get the job done and get out.”

Allen Lenard, a farmer and drilling technician, explains, “You know this country was built by people of all economic backgrounds, race, education, all banding together for the good of their neighbor. I just hope we haven’t forgotten that that’s the true essence of the American Dream.”

The film profiles various men and women, such as Carlton Boudreaux, a former elevator technician and volunteer firefighter who has been rescuing people in his boat since Katrina.  As he explains in the film, “Just watching the news, we saw people getting flooded and just sitting in my house watching was not helping. I just couldn’t stand by and not do anything.” Now, he is teaching his teenage son Brayton the ways of the Cajun Navy, passing down the work to the next generation.

CAJUN NAVY is on the frontline as members are facilitating re-entry into victims’ homes.  While a physical job, there is also a need for members to convey compassion and empathy as people come to terms with the devastation and loss from the storms. In the film, Cajun Navy volunteer Ben Husser explains to a family how his daughter helped him get through the destruction of Katrina.  “Hardest thing I’ve had to do was bring my little girl into the house…She looked at me, she said ‘Daddy, it’s just stuff.’ She’s right… we can replace stuff, we can’t replace babies or you or whatever.”

Year after year, parts of the country brace for hurricanes and people work to prevent and prepare for devastation.  Yet there are those that don’t have the ability or means to do so. This is where the CAJUN NAVY steps in.  As Lenard explains, “You know, you’ve really never done anything until you can do something for someone that can never repay you.”

CAJUN NAVY is produced by Lightbox for Discovery Channel.  The Executive Producers are Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn and Suzanne Lavery for Lightbox, with James Newton as Director and Laura Warner as Producer. Nancy Daniels, Howard Swartz, Joseph Schneier, and Jon Bardin are Executive Producers for Discovery.

About Discovery Channel:

Discovery Channel is dedicated to creating the highest quality non-fiction content that informs and entertains its consumers about the world in all its wonder, diversity and amazement. The network, which is distributed to 88.3 million U.S. homes, can be seen in 224 countries and territories, offering a signature mix of compelling, high-end production values and vivid cinematography across genres including, science and technology, exploration, adventure, history and in-depth, behind-the-scenes glimpses at the people, places and organizations that shape and share our world. For more information, please visit www.discovery.com.

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