Creation of Bayou Boys Community Helpers

In 2020 Hurricane Laura had its sights set on the Gulf Coast, and it appeared South East Texas was going to experience a disastrous storm. Shortly before landfall a local restauranteur enlisted Bayou Boys to provide meals for lineman in Baytown, TX. I quickly scrambled to collect resources necessary to outfit a camp with equipment and staff to feed 500 folks 3 meals a day. No sooner had we arrived, setup, waited for the storm to pass, that we were released. Lake Charles, LA had scored a direct hit, and East Houston was spared.

Once we arrived home and started demobilizing, I stayed glued to the news coming out of Southwest Louisiana. After the first 48 hours of sitting on the sideline, the anticipation was eating me alive. I knew I had lots of new toys just waiting to go to work, and folks from my home state were suffering. I made one simple social media post about volunteering, and within minutes God had revealed a new path for our team. One that would change the course of our small “PoBoy Shop” forever!

72 hours after Laura had devastated the greater Lake Charles community, Bayou Boys was set up in Big Lake, LA. We were armed with a dozen anxious volunteers, groceries to feed 1000, and tons of hurricane supplies from our supporters in Needville, TX. We arrived early that morning just as the sun was rising to unbelievable devastation. Our volunteers quickly got to work prepping meals, setting up a distribution system for suppliers, and digging in for what was going to be long day. Little did we know we were mapping out a standard operational process of new adventures to come. We returned to Lake Charles/Port Sulfur 3 more times to help our neighbors, and that’s when Bayou Boys Community Helpers was born.

Our mission is simple. When a natural disaster strikes nearby, our local community activities our services. We rely on the generosity of our community to arm us with funds, supplies, and volunteers to spread a lil Cajun hospitality to our neighbors.

I’ve learned that this world is filled of folks with a “volunteer’s heart”. It’s just unrealistic to expect these folks to drop everything, reorganize their schedules, and come spend a week or 2 with us in a neighboring state; however, they are more than willing to love and support the volunteers who can. And, that’s the motivation that fuels our team. When the stars align, everyone assumes their role: supplies magically start arriving, a hand full of volunteers start making arrangements, and sponsorships start coming in. It is truly a team effort that is just as miraculous as the experience itself.

When called upon again, we’ll be ready to geaux!

Joel Barrios

Bayou Boys Community Helpers

Needville, TX, via Bayou Lafourche