“Hey, Y’all! Welcome to NOLA Hawts, a podcast to raise awareness about congenital heart defects and discuss resources about CHD…and some other stuff.
We’re just two heart mommas from New Orleans doing this FOR heart mommas. That’s Susan Aucoin and that’s Lana Stevens and we feel like we have a lot to say…..”
That’s the intro that you’ll hear when you listen to NOLA Hawts, a podcast started by us, two New Orleans “heart moms,” Lana & Susan. We are two friends who started the podcast to help other heart families and raise awareness. Lana has a daughter, Harlie (15), born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a complex congenital heart defect requiring three open-heart surgeries so far and a cath lab procedure to replace her heart valve. Susan has a son, Henry (11), born with Transposition of the Great Arteries, also a complex heart defect requiring him to have two open-heart surgeries and eleven cath lab procedures so far.
Our friendship is a special one as we are both members of this club, the heart mom club. It’s not a club that we would willingly choose to be a part of, but we are in it. With New Orleans being such a tiny “big city” and having so many mutual friends, it was inevitable. We’re two loudmouth yats from Metry and the Westbank who are inspired every day by our heart kids. We are both very lucky to have supportive husbands and families on this journey, but a mom to connect with who has been through what we have both been through is a true gift. We found the conversation of “what can we do for other heart parents?” coming up more often than not when we got together for lunch, dinner, or drinks. (Yes, that’s why we get together, for food and/or drinks).
The podcast is a platform that we can use to share our thoughts, fears, exciting news, resources, giggles, complaints, or maybe just something for people to listen to on their morning commute. We are NOT professionals (as many of our listeners can attest to) and our thoughts/opinions should not be used for medical advice. We encourage anyone to listen as it’s not exclusive to heart parents only. You may be a parent of a child with diabetes, cancer, a transplant parent, ASD, anxiety, or a parent with no particular connection at all. We can all learn a little something, right?
Being a heart parent is hard and there are limited resources to help and inform heart parents. We want to help others and try to offer what they have always looked for, a safe place to talk about resources and experiences. The good, the bad, and the ugly. We hope to discuss real-life issues as heart moms and just as moms in general. We want to hear from other heart parents or adults living with CHD. We want to honor those CHD angels who left us too soon. Send us your stories to [email protected]. We want to share so other heart parents know that they’re not alone in this.
The NOLA Hawts podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, and Pandora. You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram @NolaHawts for podcast updates, resource links, and sometimes some silliness.
February is American Heart Month and February 7-14 specifically marks Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. According to the CDC, congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect in the United States, affecting nearly 1% (about 40,000) of births per year. That’s one of the many things that people don’t know about CHD. That’s why we’re here….to educate and raise awareness. As we like to end every episode of NOLA Hawts, “No judgment here…it’s all about survival….CHEERS”
About Lana & Susan
Lana Stevens was born and raised in Metairie, LA, and currently resides there with her husband of 18 years, Kevin. They have two kids, Harlie (15) and Carson (10). When she’s not ubering them somewhere she is a proud Community Educator and Volunteer Specialist with the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA), educating the public on the importance of organ, tissue, and eye donation.
Susan Aucoin was born and raised on the Westbank and currently resides in Harahan with her husband of 17 years, Dwayne. They have 3 kids, Emily (14), and identical twin boys, Henry and Benjamin (11). Aside from managing her household, Susan is an Agent Aspirant for State Farm and runs a non-profit for heart kids, Henry Aucoin Foundation.