Jean-Canot was born in Minnesota, and spent much of his youth exploring the Northwoods of the state, where the Mississippi River has its headwaters. Since 2011, Jean-Canot has worked for an outdoor program in those woods called “Les Voyageurs”, where he teaches canoeing, outdoor skills, and a very Franco-Canadien brand of French to youth aged 14-18.
Says Jean-Canot: “I’ve swam in the Mississippi countless times as a kid, I’ve done canoe trips on it, and I’ve walked across it frozen in the winter– it has generally weaved its way around most of my life. The Mississippi River I know is quite different from the mighty powerful river that flows past Clarksdale; and I am in awe of its might every time I paddle the Lower Mississippi as a Mighty Quapaw!”
Jean-Canot has also spent time on a remote island in the Indian Ocean called Reunion Island. When on Quapaw trips, J-C cooks his signature dish for participants, Rougail Saucisses, which he learned there.
In the summer of 2022, Jean-Canot completed a source to sea journey in a solo canoe, paddling the entire Mississippi River in 96 days. You can read more about that adventure at http://canoerambler.substack.com .