Home Back to Team


Larry Koenig

    Larry Koenig, 47, was born in Iowa City but grew up, the second of eight children, in Baton Rouge, LA.  As a child he couldnít figure out whether he wanted most to be a cowboy or an Indian but he knew he wanted to be an explorer.  And, from childhood on, the canoe beckoned. Paddling a pirogue in Louisiana cypress swamps and canoes in scout camp lakes, he knew the allure and the promise of the paddle. To travel, self-contained, accepting all as it comes and not knowing where oneís head might rest at night was powerfully seductive.

    His first year of college ended in shambles and he signed on as a deckhand, traveling the waterways from Galveston Bay to Pittsburgh along the Intercostal, Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. The next two years were spent at a Benedictine abbey in Southern Indiana where, for room and board, he worked the dairy and the farm.  Appropriately, a recurring dream of those monastic days was to canoe down the Anderson River into the Ohio and on down to home.  (He hasnít, yet.)

    At 21 he returned to Baton Rouge and, inspired by the impending birth of his son, Nathan, worked and studied at LSU to get into medical school.  In LSU Medical School, Shreveport, as a second year student he bought his first canoe and paddling local streams and swamps and the nearby Arkansas whitewater became the major focus of his extracurricular life. In that same year his daughter, Sarah, a natural paddler, was born.

    The location of his residency hospital was chosen largely by the whitewater nearby and the Pacific Northwest had plenty.  Three years were spent at Portland, Oregonís emergency medicine program.  Off days were for hiking and paddling.  His first venture into the Pacific Ocean in an open canoe ended in near disaster.  Unlike the warm Florida waters of the Gulf of Mexico where family vacations had traditionally been spent, Pacific waters were cold and a long unplanned immersion led to an overnight in an ICU.  Valuable lessons were learned.

    Back in Louisiana in 1984, he began working the ER at Franklin Foundation Hospital and exploring the seaworthiness of the kayak.  Pilgrimages to North Carolinaís Nantahala Outdoor Center for technique work permitted bolder solo forays into the gulf (and rekindled his joy in moving water).  The shift work nature of life in the ER allowed him to paddle much of the shore and coastal waterways of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, and a host of rivers in the American West (including the Grand Canyon) and Chiapas, Mexico.

    In the last few years he has been introduced to the tremendous resources of the British Canoe Union and recently passed an assessment in Anglesey, Wales to become a BCU coach.

    It is his great fortune to be married to his Cajun bride, Janell, whose tolerance and beauty stun him still.
 



Click here for
Larry's Accident Info