My wife and I put in our Wenonah Spirit II on the grassy bank next to the Dumaine St. Bridge (to avoid the concrete that lines up most of the bayou in that area). This was our first outing with the Spirit and our two kids (ages 5 and 3) had a blast. The day was sunny and cool with about a moderate wind as we wound our way north on the bayou. It had rained heavily the previous day so crossing under the Harding Ave. bridge (near Cabrini High School) was a bit tight but doable.
This is a historic residential area along both banks of the bayou and runners and walkers smiled as our children yelled bye to everyone they could see. The view of the neighborhood from the water makes it a very nice paddle. If you are with children, check out the floating alligator sculpture near the Esplanade Ave. bridge. The wind had little effect on us until we passed that bridge and the bayou widened.
We made our way to Park Island, just north of the Harrison Ave. Bridge and about 1-3/4 miles from our put in. The short trip around the island is a nice detour and we tied up to a tree there and ate lunch. Then the wind picked up considerably so we trim the bow down a bit and made our way back. The whole trip (including the lunch break) took us about two hours.
No permits or fees required. No motor boats are allowed in the bayou.
Bayou St. John is navigable from the Orleans Ave. Bridge to the gate at the Robert E. Lee Bridge. To get to the Dumaine St. Bridge from Interstate 10, exit at City Park Ave./Metairie Road and head east toward the park. After you pass the N. Carrolton Ave. intersection make an immediate right on Moss St., which runs along the bayou and intersects with Dumaine. This part of Moss is also a bike trail so watch for cyclists.
River/Creek (Up to Class II)