Live drone, Facebook feeds reinvent flood coverage - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Live drone, Facebook feeds reinvent flood coverage

A still capture from drone footage over the Old Hammond Hwy. area in Baton Rouge (Source: Atmosphere Aerial) A still capture from drone footage over the Old Hammond Hwy. area in Baton Rouge (Source: Atmosphere Aerial)
Paul Charbonnet and Josh Rogers, co-owners of Atmosphere Aerial (Source: WAFB) Paul Charbonnet and Josh Rogers, co-owners of Atmosphere Aerial (Source: WAFB)
Donald and Barbara Davis watch the video of their rescue alongside daughter Latasha Sanfie (Source: WAFB) Donald and Barbara Davis watch the video of their rescue alongside daughter Latasha Sanfie (Source: WAFB)
The Davis family is helped to safety by Sheriff Sid Gautreaux during the August 2016 flood (Source: EBRSO Facebook) The Davis family is helped to safety by Sheriff Sid Gautreaux during the August 2016 flood (Source: EBRSO Facebook)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

With so many cameras in so many places, our view of natural disasters is changing. From the emergency response to the news coverage, drones and live Facebook feeds gave an unprecedented look at the flood of August 2016. First responders used social media to find people who were trapped, while the rest of us watched live drone feeds trying to spot our homes in the devastation.
 
Seeing things from above is critical during an emergency, and two Baton Rouge locals made it happen for thousands of people. Paul Charbonnet and Josh Rogers own Atmosphere Aerial. They pilot drones for all sorts of reasons, but never imagined their cameras would tell the story of the great flood.

“We'd get the drone shot up and anybody who was watching, their face would just drop,” Rogers said. “Just the vastness – I think a lot of people missed the scale of what happened, and we were really able to capture that.”

Dubbed the “Cajun Airforce,” they posted over 50 live videos on Facebook, which were viewed millions of times and shared all around the world. Rogers flew drones for NBC News while Charbonnet captured most of the footage shared on social media. Their shots gave us the first look at dozens of neighborhoods that were not accessible from the ground.

“Literally we received tens of thousands of requests from people wanting to see their homes or neighborhoods,” Rogers said.

The pair also coordinated with first responders to track missing caskets in St. Amant.

“We were flying a grid pattern on the radio with these firefighters trying to corral these caskets,” Rogers recalled.

Even with his own home flooded, Charbonnet said their mission was clear.

“Drones are what we do and what we love, but to be able to see something like that touch hundreds of thousands of people that we don't even know was just amazing,” he said.

While drones soared above, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office was broadcasting live on the ground. Their videos captured dramatic rescues and took the public to the front lines of the disaster. In one memorable video from Baker, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux waded through floodwater to help the Davis family to safety from their home on Comite Drive.

“It's hard ‘cause I'm trying to hold Mama, hold my teenage daughter, trying to keep an eye on my baby,” Latasha Sanfie remembered while watching the clip.

One year later the memories are still vivid. They're glad to have the footage of their escape, but they had no idea thousands of people watched it happen live on the EBRSO Facebook page.

“We didn't know until I logged into Facebook and I was getting tagged on stuff,” Sanfie said. “I was like, ‘What is this?’ and I clicked and said, ‘Lord, I'm on TV.’”

The Baker family still calls a FEMA trailer home for now. Six feet of water swept away their belongings, but not their spirit.

“I'm just thankful that we've come this far. It's slow, but it's gonna be alright,” Barbara Davis said.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.

  • Local/State NewsMore>>

  • Advocacy organization calls for EBR School Board member to resign

    Advocacy organization calls for EBR School Board member to resign

    A Louisiana based organization is calling for the resignation of East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member, Connie Bernard, following the surfacing of a video in which Bernard can be seen engaging in an argument and physical dispute at a neighbor's residence.  Bernard was issued a summons by deputies after causing a disturbance at a neighbor's home where she was captured on video grabbing a young man by the neck and screaming profane language. RELATED: http://www.wa...

    More >>

    A Louisiana based organization is calling for the resignation of East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member, Connie Bernard, following the surfacing of a video in which Bernard can be seen engaging in an argument and physical dispute at a neighbor's residence.  Bernard was issued a summons by deputies after causing a disturbance at a neighbor's home where she was captured on video grabbing a young man by the neck and screaming profane language. RELATED: http://www.wa...

    More >>
  • Educators organize to encourage ExxonMobil CEO to withdraw tax break requests

    Educators organize to encourage ExxonMobil CEO to withdraw tax break requests

    Several groups advocating for the interests of educators and "Together Baton Rouge" gathered outside of a School Board meeting Thursday to publicly request a meeting with the CEO of ExxonMobil, hopeful they'd be able to persuade him to withdraw a request that would exempt Exxon from paying school property taxes on more than 150 million dollars of the company's property.  

    More >>

    Several groups advocating for the interests of educators and "Together Baton Rouge" gathered outside of a School Board meeting Thursday to publicly request a meeting with the CEO of ExxonMobil, hopeful they'd be able to persuade him to withdraw a request that would exempt Exxon from paying school property taxes on more than 150 million dollars of the company's property.  

    More >>
  • LDH downplays reports of measles outbreak; calls it a ‘misinterpretation of language’

    LDH downplays reports of measles outbreak; calls it a ‘misinterpretation of language’

    Source: CDCSource: CDC

    The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) says there is no measles outbreak in the United States, nor in Louisiana. This week it was reported that 2018 is on pace to be the worst year for measles since 2014 when there were 667 reported cases. According to the latest report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been 107 people from 21 states diagnosed with measles from January 1 to July 14, 2018. Louisiana is among those states where at least one case ha...

    More >>

    The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) says there is no measles outbreak in the United States, nor in Louisiana. This week it was reported that 2018 is on pace to be the worst year for measles since 2014 when there were 667 reported cases. According to the latest report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been 107 people from 21 states diagnosed with measles from January 1 to July 14, 2018. Louisiana is among those states where at least one case ha...

    More >>
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Bodies of missing wife, daughters found in Colorado

    Bodies of missing wife, daughters found in Colorado

    Thursday, August 16 2018 4:05 AM EDT2018-08-16 08:05:05 GMT
    Thursday, August 16 2018 11:04 PM EDT2018-08-17 03:04:36 GMT
    The man's pregnant wife, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and their two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste were reported missing Monday.The man's pregnant wife, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and their two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste were reported missing Monday.

    Authorities say the husband of a missing family in Colorado has been arrested in connection with the case.

    More >>

    Authorities say the husband of a missing family in Colorado has been arrested in connection with the case.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly