Boarding On the Bayou

I decided to sign up for paddleboarding when I saw a flyer for NOLA Paddleboards at Juan’s Flying Burrito in Mid-City. The flyer was actually for paddleboard yoga, but the thought of doing downward dog on a floating board terrified me, so instead I booked a lesson for the basic paddleboard class.

On the Saturday of my lesson, I arrived at the corner of Wisner Boulevard and Filmore Avenue, where the class meets to paddle down Bayou St. John. It was a rainy morning, but the class was still on. Before getting in the water, Jeff Lakey, the owner of NOLA Paddleboards and the class instructor, gave the five of us in the group a quick lesson about where to stand on the paddleboard and what to do if we fell off. I was a little nervous as there wasn’t much to his short introduction, and we were soon stepping into the warm water of the bayou to mount our boards.

After Velcro-ing the ankle strap around my leg, I started by sitting on my knees and getting used to the board and the paddle. When I found the courage to stand up, I could feel my legs wobble as I tried to find my sea legs. I was a bit impressed with myself when I was actually standing on the paddleboard for the first time. The water wasn’t as still as usual because of the light wind and rain, but getting on the board and navigating the water wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

That is until I started to go downstream. I tried to follow the directions of Lakey, who told everyone to start by going right, but as the wind carried me left I struggled to turn around. I tried to paddle toward the group, not going as fast as I thought I would, but Lakey came back to help me and give me directions about the best way to hold the paddle and where to put it in the water.

Once I met up with the group, the hour-long lesson was more of a relaxing ride than an instructor-led class, as I enjoyed the exercise and the view of the beautiful houses along Bayou St. John. While my clothes were dripping from the downpour, it didn’t ruin the morning. When two members of the group fell in the water during the lesson, they didn’t stand out because all of us were already soaked.

When we started to head back to our original meeting place, the rain began to let up. Lakey helped everyone get back to shore, and the class was over. I plan to try it again sometime soon, but next time I’ll pack my rain gear and hope for sun.

For more information about NOLA Paddleboards, visit


Hilton Garden Inn French Quarter Sees $1.3 Million Upgrade
821 Gravier St., 324-6000,

The massive renovation of the Hilton’s French Quarter property will be complete within the year. Once the lobby area is finished, work will start on the refurbishment of guest rooms. While all Hilton-standard amenities: microwaves, mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs and more, will stay, the décor of the rooms will have a more contemporary feel, while maintaining a classic New Orleanian vibe.

Only two blocks from the French Quarter and with a heated roof-top swimming pool, fitness center, 24 hour business center and complimentary Wi-Fi, it’s a go-to place for business or pleasure.

– Mirella Cameran


Thibodaux Regional Medical Center Uses Robotic System
602 N. Acadia Road, Thibodaux, (985) 435-4870,

A surgical team at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center performed their first da Vinci®  Single-Site™ Cholecystectomy recently. The patient’s gallbladder was removed through one tiny incision in the belly button, making the procedure virtually scarless.

Led by general surgeon Dr. Barry Landry, the team removed the gallbladder using Single-Site™ instruments on a da Vinci® System.

Using robotic assistance, surgeons removed the gallbladder through an incision of approximately 1-inch.

In 2007, Thibodaux Regional was the only hospital in the Bayou Region who acquired the da Vinci® Robotic Surgical System, a state-of-the-art minimally invasive tool used to treat patients via robotic-assisted surgery,” stated Greg Stock, CEO of Thibodaux Regional. “We remain at the forefront of minimally-invasive robotic surgery by acquiring this next generation system.”

– Mirella Cameran