Established in 1977 by the late Phil Cohagan, one of Louisiana's diving pioneers, Seven Seas' legacy lives on through National Association of Underwater Instructors trainer Nancy Cohagan and her two children. Nancy leads a team of experienced, NAUI-certified instructors who train students to NAUI standards through intensive in-water classes. They introduce scuba theory and beginner technique during a basic certification program, which includes sessions in an onsite classroom and a custom-built, heated pool, as well as five dives in local waters. To help students build on these skills, instructors also lead advanced diving courses on topics such as search and recovery, nonpenetration wreck diving, and underwater photography, as well as certification programs for nitrox and rescue divers.
In Seven Seas' dive shop, staff members help customers navigate racks of gear for sale or rental. They offer basic student packages that contain all the pieces needed for class, as well as individual wetsuits, masks, gauges, and accessories from brands such as PADI, NAUI, O'Neill, and ScubaPro. The shop's staff can also repair broken or worn equipment, and proofread messages in bottles before they're tossed out to sea.
Underwater Adventures's owner and veteran diver Mark Smith has spent the past 22 years assembling exclusively NAUI–certified instructors for his team. For the company's classes, they hop into pools or natural bodies of water to help pupils as young as 10 to achieve a diving certification. In addition to teaching recreational scuba and seahorse riding, they also train first responders on underwater search-and-rescue tactics and public-safety diving. Mark is also an instructor for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Department and has facilitated dive training for several municipal agencies including the Louisiana State Police and multiple fire departments.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing with the Stars multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 500 calories with each go-round.
Founded by passionate fly fishermen, Uptown Angler's virtual and real shelves brim with a huge variety of tackle, rods, and essential accessories for fly fishing excursions. With rods from Sage, Orvis, and Winston and hundreds of flies, fishermen can customize their lure of choice. The shop also carries sunscreen, instructional books and DVDs, and boat accessories. The knowledgeable staff leads lessons on proper fly-fishing techniques including terminology, roll casting, and rigging without accidentally flying away.
Headed by two former LSU runners, Louisiana Running Company is both a source of high-quality running gear and a social hub in the running community. Patrons can peruse sweat-wicking apparel, watches designed to be worn in motion, and shoes by brands such as Brooks and Mizuno. A shoe-sizing process with video gait analysis ensures a supportive fit. In addition to supplying gear, the shop's staff organizes free running groups and updates customers with news on races throughout the state.
Opened in 1982 by avid runners Mike Andrews and George Owen, Southern Runner not only stocks top-notch athletic apparel and footwear by brands including Asics, Moving Comfort, and New Balance, but also acts as a community center for those who love to run. Though Andrews and Owen still helm this runner’s haven, today they have additional support from a hodgepodge of life-long and late-in-life runners and walkers, including college athlete Kevin Fitzgerald, track coach and founder of Run, Chicks, Run Kristin Depp, and ultra-marathoner Tim Philips. When not helping fellow athletes find their perfect shoe with in-store foot evaluations, the crew leads weekly running groups, helps schools and coaches outfit their teams, and chases down bank robbers on foot.