GONZALES, La. ― When the floodwaters began their rapid rise in southern Louisiana, residents fleeing to safety left with little more than the clothes on their backs. Others ― along with their pets, children and infirm relatives ― were left stranded and waiting for rescue.
More than a week and a half since the historic flooding began in the state, FEMA’s on-the-ground response effort has earned mixed reviews from locals: Some argue it’s nowhere near as flat-footed as the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, while others judge the response as late.
“FEMA, they showed up today with boats to rescue people. Where the hell were they a week ago?” Jimmy Purvis, chairman of the Board of Directors of Parks and Recreation in Denham Springs, said on Friday.
But while FEMA was just gearing up, a group of people dubbed “The Cajun Navy” were already navigating the floodwaters to rescue stranded neighbors in the state.