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Lawmaker wants Cajun Navy to train, pay fee before saving others


I no longer seem to recognize my own country.

~Jason Van Tatenhove


Originally Published at USA Today.

NEW ORLEANS — The Good Samaritans who rescued hundreds, maybe thousands of people during the “Great Flood of 2016” say they’re not happy after a state lawmaker announced that he wants government to regulate future actions by citizen heroes.

A loosely organized group called the “Cajun Navy,” took it upon themselves to save strangers, hundreds upon hundreds of them, by boat even when their own property was flooding.

“For the most part, these people are not going to wait for assistance. They’re doers,” said Cajun Navy member Dustin Clouatre of St. Amant.

He got in his pleasure skiff and with others, cleared out entire neighborhoods that were under water after historic rains triggered major flooding.

“At one time in my boat, I had a guy I dropped off at a Buddhist temple. I had a black guy, and I had a Mexican guy. And when we dropped them all off, everybody hugged, high-fived, loved on each other and sent them on their way,” remembers Clouatre.

He and members of the Cajun Navy say they’re against talk of government regulation.

Republican state Sen. Jonathan Perry of the Vermillion-Lafayette area, announced he is working on legislation that could require training, certificates and a permit fee to allow these volunteers to get past law enforcement into devastated areas. He said some were turned away.

“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,” 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.”

Members of the Cajun Navy don’t understand the call for regulations.

“How can you regulate people helping people? That doesn’t make sense to me,” said Clouatre

Political blog The Hayride also is speaking out against any regulation.

“And we’ll never know how many people got rescued, right? Because there were no bureaucrats with clipboards marking down how many. They just went and did it,” said publisher Scott McKay. “The fact that John Perry is a Republican, right? It’s like, ‘Hey, you ran on small government. Now you want to regulate the Cajun Navy.’ What are you doing?'”

Perry did not return phone calls for a comment.


Stewart Rhodes

Stewart is the founder and National President of Oath Keepers. He served as a U.S. Army paratrooper until disabled in a rough terrain parachuting accident during a night jump. He is a former firearms instructor, former member of Rep. Ron Paul’s DC staff, and served as a volunteer firefighter in Montana. Stewart previously wrote the monthly Enemy at the Gates column for S.W.A.T. Magazine. Stewart graduated from Yale Law School in 2004, where his paper “Solving the Puzzle of Enemy Combatant Status” won Yale’s Miller prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights. He assisted teaching U.S. military history at Yale, was a Yale Research Scholar, and is writing a book on the dangers of applying the laws of war to the American people.



  1. TO: Sen. Jonathan Perry

    We’ll be sure to bypass your home in the event your family needs assistance.

    Good Luck!

    Yours Truly,

    Cajun Navy

    1. Amen! I see that now he is backpeddling on this, after getting so much flack. But I think his “bureaucratic weenie” mindset is clear to see. Funny, we have heard the same cry of “liability” and “insurance” concerns over our CPT program and any of the operations we have conducted, such as in Ferguson where we guarded homes and businesses against looters, or when we guarded the recruiting centers against terrorists. That’s when you know you are talking to a bureaucratic weenie. You can’t regulate people helping people as just decent neighbors. You can offer them training and assistance in organizing ahead of time, but that does NOT preclude them stepping in an being a good neighbor when the time comes, regardless of their “official” training or status. – Stewart

      1. I guess he is trying to justify a raise of some sort of his pay….licensing and training would both be taxes paid by the trainee…more politico bullshit…

      2. Or perhaps it is to line the pocket of some pal of his who just happens to work in that field. Or it could just be good-ol lawyer “Vee must have ORDER!” bureaucratic weenie mindset. No surprise that he is a lawyer, and a former prosecutor. Just saying (and I say that as a former lawyer – I know from personal exposure to what most lawyers are like).

      3. My money is on his motivation was from some group that gets grant funding and/or tax dollars as hired guns to (private and public) perform SAR. I’ve done some flying for various SAR groups. My experience is they are a blend of political stair climbers, “hurray for me” types and actual sincere SAR members. They all complained about “other” outsider volunteers doing their own thing. Thus the infringements they cast on “unofficial” search and rescue. The politics in it is disgusting not to mention the inept A-holes power mongers that seem to rise to the top.

      4. As per usual, it’s ALWAYS follow the money (influence, privileges, promises, perks..) If we stay in the pot like good little frogs for too much longer; all that will be left is hushed tales and ballads of when men where free and allowed truth and justice to rule in their affairs.

    2. Great response, WGP, but as “flinter” suggests below, save his family, and just let him flounder on his own. What this Senator is proposing is preposterous!

      1. It’s not about Republican/Democrat, it’s about Progressivism. They seek to become the Father, Mother, and demi-God, so as to replace the family units and the spiritual bases. Once they separate us, then they can assume control……

  2. WGP….By all means you should bypass Perry but save his family. Its not their fault that their hunsband/ father is a total PC idiot.

  3. Senator Jonathan Perry. This is one of the stupidest ideas that I have heard. By proffering this idea, I can see that you are too stupid to hold office. I am a Republican too. Stand back and get out of the way of the doers.

  4. to tell everyone the total truth i have about had it up to my ears with these ELECTED officials feeling that they are in position to make laws against we the people that are bogus and unfair . so what they are telling us if you don’t have a permit and you see someone drowning and you help them and save a life you can be fined for not having a permit and if you see then drowning and you don’t help them you also can wind up in prison for not doing nothing to help when you were able to do so . tell me where that makes any sense to you people and if it does why do we have clowns running our country and telling us these stupid laws

  5. At this point maybe it is time to revisit history. What would our founding fathers do?

    “No state shall convert a liberty into a license, and charge a fee therefore.” (Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105)

    “If the State converts a right (liberty) into a privilege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right (liberty) with impunity.” (Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Alabama, 373 U.S. 262)

  6. The RINO’s conscience is seared, just don’t you and I go down that road. Once the conscience is seared the next step is death to the soul and once the soul is dead, well your eternal out look is finished. Oh yes Jason I feel your heart ache the nation and the people are close to finality.

  7. Jason said:

    “I no longer seem to recognize my own country.

    ~Jason Van Tatenhove”

    I think a better way to put it is “I no longer seem to recognize the idiots who “serve” in public office as being from this country.” They seem to have been beamed in from Communist China Or Nazi Germany, as in “All that is not authorized by government is forbidden.” I think that is more accurate.

    But when I look at what the fine people of Louisiana are doing, I DO recognize my country. They are stepping up and doing what Americans have always done – helped their neighbors, and all without permission of some damn hand-wringing lawyer weenie politician with a clipboard.

    I recognize THIS just fine:

    A loosely organized group called the “Cajun Navy,” took it upon themselves to save strangers, hundreds upon hundreds of them, by boat even when their own property was flooding.

    “For the most part, these people are not going to wait for assistance. They’re doers,” said Cajun Navy member Dustin Clouatre of St. Amant.

    He got in his pleasure skiff and with others, cleared out entire neighborhoods that were under water after historic rains triggered major flooding.

    “At one time in my boat, I had a guy I dropped off at a Buddhist temple. I had a black guy, and I had a Mexican guy. And when we dropped them all off, everybody hugged, high-fived, loved on each other and sent them on their way,” remembers Clouatre.

    THAT IS AMERICA. Always remember that the politicians are not America, the “Mainstream Media” are not America, and all the beurocratic weenies with their regulations are not America. America is a man in jeans and a baseball cap, on his fishing boat, getting people to safety, or a tough, Cajun housewife out on her airboat, rescuing people while her husband is out of state (like one of our member’s wives did in LA).

    Maybe it is a “is the glass half empty, or is it half full?” kinda thing, but I look at what is happening in Louisiana right now and I am damn proud to recognize my country. I see the America that is still there, with tough, self-directed, brave, decent, loving people who set aside petty differences and unite to help each other when crisis hits.

    During crisis, their true nature shows, and they rise to the occasion, just as Americans have done throughout our history.

    Yes, during crisis, the politicians’ true nature also shows, but was that any surprise?

    Focus on the people, and on the awe-inspiring unity and love for their neighbor they show, which puts a lie to many of the most pessimistic views we see from the media, from mass entertainment, from politicians, and also from too many in the “prepper” movement who always expect the worst from their fellow Americans.

    Let’s help all Americans be as strong and as caring in their own communities.


    1. Exactly Stewart.

      That politician is un-American is his words, actions, values. The people of Louisiana are doing is American, and the framers and forefathers would have been in the boats, etc with them assisting the people as they are required to do in THIS nation. God, they make one proud!

      Republican state Sen. Jonathan Perry of the Vermillion-Lafayette needs to be ASAP, and replaced with someone with true American values. Sounds like Perry, and Brown (Calif.) are on the same wavelength, and it is one that is working against each state, and against our nation, our legitimate government.

    2. Excellent comment! People helping people is what’s great about America. We don’t need the government to be our brother’s keeper. God bless you all.

  8. “Pay fee before saving others”?? What the f@%#!! It is our GOD given duty to save others. NOT something we pay a fee for. That greedy bastard lawmaker needs to read the Bible, then go f@%# himself!! According to the Bible, this is what people are supposed to do for each other… “Psalm 82:4

    Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” At least I obey this when I can.. And I do NOT pay for it..

  9. Something similar during Hurricaine Katrina. When we volunteered to go help we had 2 days of sexual harassment training and incident command (ICS) training (which we already had) before they would turn us loose.

    Then when we arrived in Gulfport, the representative from FEMA who was assigned to us took off back to Jackson when people started approaching us.

    After that, FEMA would not plug themselves into the existing ICS system and tried to run one independently. It took our strike team taking over the reigns to get that squared away.

    After, tying in with local churches and other community groups and doing a “needs assessment” we would return days later and find that none of the requested supplies had been delivered. People were naturally pissed, and we started to coordinate directly with the Salvation Army, National Guard, and other groups to get the needed supplies outside of FEMA.

    Eventually we worked our way into Biloxi and found a Vietnamese fishing area that had been without assistance for some time. We ordered materials and audio devices to help us communicate with them. When the materials arrived we loaded up the truck and tore off to the area again. We were turned around and sent back to Stennis for some unknown reason. (We thought the material must have been printed in the wrong language or something)

    When we arrived back in Stennis we were informed that we could not pass out the material for several days because some political “dignitary” was going to arrive and they wanted the media prostitutes to capture it on film……

    Moral of the story……get yourselves prepared and DO NOT DEPEND ON .GOV. Form up your community preparedness teams (CPT’s) now, and have them prepared, trained, and equipped ahead of time.

    1. Mark, thanks for the info on Katrina. Some very good lessons learned there. The only caveat is to do your best to work with the LOCAL emergency planner, and the local first responders, as much as possible. But the federal bureaucrats just can’t seem to help themselves (and same for many state level politicians and “officials” too).

  10. God forbid an unlicensed, untrained, unpermitted Good Samaritan should ever stop to help any of this bozo’s family when they are having mechanical problems on the side of the freeway.

  11. We really need to STOP calling them lawmakers. That only encourages them to KEEP making laws. I think they wake up every morning and say to themselves “What law can I create today?” They do not protect and defend the Constitution. They just make laws.

  12. I’m struck by the parallels between the Cajun Navy and CPT, as Stewart mentioned. Having spent a great deal of time over the past twelve months trying to sell CPT to the community stake-holders, I have come to the following conclusion. The rank and file of all the emergency groups (police & fire) love us and are on board. Some of the brass love us but are afraid to say….and most of the politicos fear us. It’s kind of like alligator wrestling…

    1. Basic money grab, nothing more. I don’t need training to pull someone and their family into my boat. I don’t need training to give them food, or a first aid kit, or a ride to a hospital, or to give them money. I do need your permission to give help in general. It there is a way around government permission, I will find and use it. If that makes me criminal than so be it. Legality is NOT the basis for morality.

  13. Tell the good Senator to find something else to fill his obviously empty and useless time. Bravo to all the good people who took it upon themselves to help their fellow neighbors and did so without asking for anything in return other than a hug or high-five. Damned elected officials are always looking for ways to make things more complicated than they have to be.

  14. The Cajun Navy is actually a militia. In that alone lies the just right of the people to respond to emergencies such as faced in Louisiana. The Government may call forth the militia, but the states themselves may regulate them, and provide officers to inform them of their duties.
    Could these be Sheriffs of the counties affected?
    Having said that, it is my premise:

    If you read your Constitution carefully, you will see that the “Militia” are comprised of the people of the several states.

    Per the 2nd Amendment, the Militia (comprised and being of the people) were thought necessary to the security of the “free State.” It followed that the people would not be denied the right to keep and bear arms, that right not to be infringed (to wrongly limit, deprive, or restrict, a persons right).

    The Federal Government could not in any case be thought to provide armaments for all it’s citizens and was tasked primarily with the duty of securing the able forces of our Naval and land forces by appropriations of monies not to exceed two years in duration for any period of expenditure, to be decided by the Congress.

    What numbers of persons do you believe would comprise “such part of them (the militia)” as may be employed in the service of the United States?

    What exactly is it that we must believe the calling forth of the “militia” to be? Could it be a draft?

    What “laws of the Union were to be executed?

    Where were the insurrections to originate from or lie?

    Does the repelling of an “invasion,” mean to be exercised only upon our shores, or may the efforts to repel be taken to distant shores such as occurred in France and Germany in WWII?

    If the “homeland “ were to be attacked, would a citizen be allowed stick or stone, brick or bat or gun to quell the efforts of the invasion? Or would stick and stone and bat only be allowed?

    Is there a morally defensible reason to deprive a person of arms only because he may injure others by wrongful force of them?

    It appears by the language that the militia existed prior to the training of them. If indeed this be true, than the governance of the militia also was superseded by the presence of the militia to be governed.

    From what resource was this militia drawn? Could the militia have been in existence before the officers employed to train them?

    You cannot train that which is not in force to be drawn upon.

    The people are the militia. That clearly was recognized by our founders !

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