- My name is Jason Robideaux, I am an attorney from Lafayette
Louisiana and have dealt with all of the various law enforcement agencies
in Louisiana during the past 18 years. Although I have had a positive relationship
with law enforcement personnel throughout the State for many years, I regretfully
have a story to share that will shake your head in disbelief about the
La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries.
- A group of approximately 1,000 citizens pulling 500 boats
left the Acadiana Mall in Lafayette this morning (Weds.) and headed to
New Orleans with a police escort from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff´s
Department. The "flotillia" of trucks pulling boats stretched
over five miles. This citizen rescue group was organized by La. State Senator,
Gautreaux from Vermilion Parish. The group was comprised of experienced
boaters, licensed fishermen and hunters, people who have spent their entire
adult life and teenage years on the waterways of Louisiana.
- The State Police waved the flotillia of trucks/boats
through the barricades in LaPlace and we sped into New Orleans via I-10
until past the airport and near the Clearview exit. At that time we were
stopped by agents of the La. Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries. A young
DWF agent strolled through the boats and told approximately half of the
citizens that their boats were "too large" because the water
had "dropped during the night" and that they should turn around
and go home.
- We were pulling a large (24ft) shallow draft aluminum
boat that can safely carry 12 passengers and had ramp access which would
allow the elderly and infirm to have easier access to the boat. We politely
informed the DWF agent that the local and national media had consistently
reported that the water level had "risen" during the night which
contradicted his statement to us that the water "was dropping"
and no boat over 16ft. in length would be allowed to participate in rescue
- We then specifically asked the DWF agent that we (and
other citizens in the flotillia) be allowed to go to the hospitals and
help evacuate the sick and the doctors and nurses stranded there. We offered
to bring these people back to Lafayette, in our own vehicles, in order
to ensure that they received proper and prompt medical care.
- The DWF agent did not want to hear this and ordered us
home. We complied with the DWF agent´s orders, turned around and
headed back to Lafayette along with half of the flotillia. However, two
of my friends were pulling my other boat, a smaller 15ft alumaweld with
a 25 hp. The DWF agents let them through to proceed to the rescue operation
- My two friends were allowed to drive to the launch site
where the La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries were launching their rescue
operations (via boat). They reported to me that there were over 200 DWF
agents just standing around and doing nothing. My friends were kept there
for approximately 3 hours. During that time they observed a large number
of DWF agents doing nothing. After three hours had passed they were told
that they were not needed and should go home. They complied with the DWF´s
orders and turned around and went home to Lafayette.
- Watching CNN tonight, there was a telephone interview
with a Nurse trapped in Charity Hospital in New Orleans. She said that
there were over 1,000 people trapped inside of the hospital and that the
doctors and nurses had zero medical supplies, no diesel to run the generators
and that only three people had been rescued from the hospital since the
- I can´t come up with one logical reason why the
DWF sent this large group of 500 boats/1000 men home when we surely could
have rescued most, if not all, of the people trapped in Charity Hospital.
Further, we had the means to immediately transport these people to hospitals
in Southwest Louisiana.
- On Tuesday afternoon, August 30, Jefferson Parish Sheriff
Harry Lee asked for all citizens with boats to come to the aid of Jefferson
Parish. A short time later Dwight Landreneau, the head of the La. Depart.
of Wildlife and Fisheries, got on television and remarked that his agency
had things under control and citizen help was not needed. Apparently, Sheriff
Lee did not agree with that assessment and had one of his deputies provide
the Lafayette flotillia with an escort into Jefferson Parish.
- Sheriff Lee and Senator Gautreaux - 1000 of Louisiana´s
citizens responded to your pleas for help. We were prevented from helping
by Dwight Landreneau´s agency, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
When I learned that Charity Hospital has not been evacuated and that no
one has been there to attempt a rescue, I became angry.
- The "turf-marking" by some minor state agency
should never take priority over the lives of citizens!
- Bewildered and Frustrated,
- Jason Robideaux
- Attorney At Law
- 1005 Lafayette Street
- Lafayette, La. 70501
- (337) 291-9444 office