College kids that sailed down Red River in homemade pontoon boat create documentary about trip

This time last year, a group of college students decided to have an adventurous summer by building a homemade pontoon boat and sailing down to NOLA.
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 5:15 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - This time last year, a group of college students decided to have an adventurous summer by building a homemade pontoon boat and sailing down to New Orleans.

Jak Krouse, Ned Newton and McCoy Patterson are fraternity brothers at Washington and Lee University in Virginia. They had the spontaneous idea last summer to build their own pontoon boat based on videos they found on YouTube and travel down the Red River and Mississippi River.

In just six days, the three guys traveled 361 miles from Shreveport to New Orleans making stops in Alexandria and Baton Rouge before ending up in New Orleans in one piece.

“You can say not too many crazy dumb decisions were made because we ended up pulling through, but one could argue that the whole trip was kind of a dumb decision anyway,” said Patterson.

Along the way, the guys documented their trip, starting with the building of their boat and ending with them finally docking in New Orleans. When they returned home, the guys knew to truly be able to tell the story of their journey, they would have to come back to Louisiana to interview everyone they met along the way that helped them out.

The documentary features interviews with lockmasters, patrol officers, residents who saw them along the way and KALB’s own Dylan Domangue, who got to meet them when they stopped in Downtown Alexandria.

The original story KALB did on them during the journey reached news stations across the state, and the guys said that is how they were able to meet people along the way who wanted to see three guys on a boat that could fall apart at any point.

“We had so many people that were reaching out to us, asking us if we needed anything, and we did need stuff,” said Newton. “If we didn’t have that pitstop in Baton Rouge and if we weren’t warned about some of the things to expect on the last leg of the Mississippi, we would’ve been in a much worse position.”

It was not all smooth sailing for the guys who had many hardships along their journey, including the motor going out, severe weather, limited food and water and Louisiana problems like the heat and mosquitos.

“It’s definitely a 19-year-old kind of little adventure type thing, but I’d say we pulled through,” said Patterson. “We had our wits about us, and we really made it work.”

While this trip was a wild adventure, it was just an appetizer for them as they are already planning their next journey later in the summer.

“We are going to continue on our track of doing wild and out-of-pocket adventures,” said Newton. “The thing in the works right now is in August we are going to go off-roading across five states in a suburban that we are going to modify. We will go through Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Oregon and just hopefully not total the car.”

To watch the full 37-minute documentary on their journey through Louisiana, click here.

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