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.
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.
Discovery, Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is a global leader in real life entertainment, serving a passionate audience of superfans around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains. Discovery delivers over 8,000 hours of original programming each year and has category leadership across deeply loved content genres around the world. Available in 220 countries and territories and nearly 50 languages, Discovery is a platform innovator, reaching viewers on all screens, including TV Everywhere products such as the GO portfolio of apps; direct-to-consumer streaming services such as Eurosport Player and MotorTrend OnDemand; digital-first and social content from Group Nine Media; a landmark natural history and factual content partnership with the BBC; and a strategic alliance with PGA TOUR to create the international home of golf. Discovery’s portfolio of premium brands includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, and Science Channel, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe. For more information, please visit corporate.discovery.com and follow @DiscoveryIncTV across social platforms.
Headquartered in London and Los Angeles, Lightbox is a multi-platform media company creating high quality non-fiction content for an array of distribution platforms. It was founded by two-time Academy Award®-winning producer Simon Chinn (Man on Wire, Searching for Sugar Man, Whitney) and Emmy®-winning producer Jonathan Chinn (LA 92, American High, Whitney). Lightbox’s most recent release is Whitney, a major theatrical feature documentary directed by Academy Award® winner Kevin Macdonald, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival; The company is currently in production on Diagnosis (w/t) an innovative Netflix Original eight-part documentary series produced in partnership with Scott Rudin Productions and The New York Times; Untouchable, a theatrical documentary on the Weinstein scandal which will also air on BBC 2; Tina Turner (w/t), a theatrical feature documentary which will tell the full story – for the first time – of global icon and undisputed Queen of Rock and Roll, directed by Academy® and Emmy Award winners Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin; Gypsy’s Revenge, a feature length documentary for Investigation Discovery and Food Exposed with Nelufar Hedayat (8×60’) for US Network FUSION. The company has previously produced documentary series including Captive, a major 8-part series for Netflix about international hostage crises; LA92, an Emmy-winning feature documentary on the 1992 LA riots for National Geographic Channels; War Child – an acclaimed feature documentary on the refugee crisis for Channel 4; Absolutely Fashion: Inside British Vogue for BBC Two and The Traffickers for Fusion, as well as content for Xbox Entertainment Studios, NBC Universal’s Esquire Network and ESPN’s prestigious 30 for 30 Strand.