With a potentially disastrous storm on the way, Cajun Navy 2016 is calling for help.
The all-volunteer group, which was established during the Great Flood of 2016, is seeking volunteers for possible assistance for Tropical Storm Barry, which is expected to bring heavy rains into Louisiana this weekend.
Jon Bridgers Sr., CEO/founder of Cajun Navy 2016, said the group has been preparing for the upcoming weather event for the last several days. The group already has 50 volunteers and about as many boats “ready to go,” but more volunteers are needed, Bridgers said.
“We still need volunteers,” Bridgers said in a phone call with The News. “What’s coming is not gonna be good, and I don’t think a lot of people really know what we’re looking at.”
As of the 10 a.m. update, Barry had sustained winds of 65 miles per hour and was moving slowly toward the coast slowly at about 5 miles per hour and picking up strength as it goes.
Earlier path models had Barry's eye passing through the Acadiana areas near Lafayette, leaving the eastern eye wall and majority of rains for Baton Rouge and Livingston Parish, where anywhere from 10-20 inches of rain — with isolated pockets of 25 or more — are possible. The parish is currently under a storm surge and flash flood warning.
To volunteer for Cajun Navy 2016, Bridgers urged people to visit www.cajunnavy2016.org and click on the “Join the Team” tab at the top of the homepage.
Bridgers said there will be multiple staging areas if Barry, which is expected to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane, brings the widespread flooding many fear.
He said Cajun Navy 2016 has been in contact with other search-and-rescue and disaster-relief groups around the state and beyond. He added that the group has also been coordinating with officials in Baton Rouge and Livingston Parish.
“We’re just waiting for the calls to start coming in now,” Bridgers said.