Survivalist Expo graces Lamar-Dixon hall

Greg Fischer
Spencer Lafontaine stands in front of a Bugout Trailer on display at the NPS Expo.

The National Survivalist and Preppers Expo took place March 4-5 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, right next door to the gun show.

Other than unusual presentations and gear featured, one might say that it was a pretty normal convention. Although a couple vendors selling things like Chinese stun guns and switchblades seemed disappointed with the turnout.

Featured in the center of the expo was a stage where guest speakers presented items like "cooking with dried foods." Also, each booth ran their own promotions, like spin the wheel for a free gift. Vendors came from all over the U.S. to participate.

Some of them sold lotions, bug repellant, homemade soap and knives. Others sold generators, gun holsters that read "Trump," radiation detectors, and "Military Grade EMP Protectors" that looked like large foil bags. Those are to protect your electronic devices in case of electro-magnetic pulse.

One vendor sold date-rape drug detection kits.

Another more useful item featured was a panic room, officially called the Defender Vault. It is an $8,000 steel box that can be purchased at 158 Home Depot locations, according to Jackson Rackley, a representative. It was shown being able to withstand several calibers of bullets, shot on one side of the mobile unit.

The Defender Vault is most useful in the event of a tornado, or similar disaster scenario. Rackley said it is tested to withstand an F5 tornado. That's as long as it has been bolted into concrete.

One more particularly useful thing at the expo was being worn by Verne Hilt. It was a ghostbusters-type backpack that shoots a foam containing MDF-500, a microorganism decontamination formula, that is commonly used against mold problems.

Moreover, Dr. Joseph and Amy Alton travelled with the expo selling advanced medical kits. The couple actually led a classroom atmosphere in how to perform surgery without the help of a doctor.

Outside the expo, a company from south of Jacksonville, Florida displayed their survivalist-style campers, officially called Bugout Trailers. Spencer Lafontaine, a representative, gave tours to people entering the expo.

"[The Bugout Trailer] is meant for the average person to take their home commodities into any location that they want," Lafontaine said. "You have your home conveniences, like a shower. A place to charge your phone, a refrigerator and hot water all runs off solar energy. We have wood burning ovens on the inside. It's basically made to be a home-base station."

Other than the gas masks hanging inside the trailer, it seemed like a great way to camp. Those units may be purchased online and reach costs of $16,000.

But on the darker side of the expo, a vendor featured a number of anarchist books. A kid, no older than 12, showed how to conceal a gun in a small military-knockoff backpack. Fake EMS, paramedic, fire and sheriff T-shirts were being sold for $5.

Those things may be seen as off-putting. Area South Louisiana communities know what really happens in the wake of natural disasters like the August Flood. People rebuild. Order gets restored.

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