National

‘How can you regulate people helping people?’ Flood helpers don’t want to pay

Daniel Stover, 17, wipes his head as he helps Laura Albritton, rescue personal belongings in Sorrento, Louisiana, on Aug. 20. Louisiana continues to dig itself out from devastating floods, with search parties going door to door looking for survivors or bodies trapped by flooding.
Daniel Stover, 17, wipes his head as he helps Laura Albritton, rescue personal belongings in Sorrento, Louisiana, on Aug. 20. Louisiana continues to dig itself out from devastating floods, with search parties going door to door looking for survivors or bodies trapped by flooding. AP

Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood has a beloved and famous quote about looking for the good in times of tragedy.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

And that’s exactly what the affectionately-dubbed Cajun Navy did during the terrible flooding in Louisiana that has killed six and displaced thousands. They have used their own boats and skiffs to patrol neighborhoods and try to help others, taking them where they need to go.

But a Republican lawmaker has now called for regulating those helpers, including mandating training, certificates and a permit fee.

“At the end of the day, there are going to be two things that are going to be the hurdle when you approach it from the state’s standpoint,” Sen. Jonathan Perry said in a local radio interview. “Liability is going to be number one for them. They don’t want the liability of someone going out to rescue someone and then not being able to find them (the rescuers) and, secondly, there’s a cost.”

Cajun Navy member Dustin Clouatre told USA Today that they’re against regulation, and it “doesn’t make sense.”

“How can you regulate people helping people?” Clouatre wondered.

Perry posted a video response on Facebook Tuesday evening, saying people were misunderstanding the purpose of regulating the volunteers. He said regulating the groups would mean they could help more people, because the groups could pass law enforcement barriers without being stopped.

“It is basically to remove any restrictions and allow people to get to our citizens quicker,” Perry said.

The group has saved hundreds of people, according to USA Today, even as the members’ own homes have been flooding.

During a visit to Baton Rouge, La. Tuesday, President Obama promised a sustained national effort to help rebuild southern Louisiana after devastating flooding killed 13 people in the region and displaced thousands. "I need all Americans to stay fo

  Comments