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With King Cake Study, Our Lady of the Lake Health Shows Research Can Be Fun — And Delicious, Too

January 26, 2023

BATON ROUGE, LA — It’s not often that an office king cake party requires a principal investigator and approval from the Institutional Review Board. But when it comes to researchers at Our Lady of the Lake Health, even Carnival Season is an opportunity to conduct serious —and tasty — research.

Every Friday during Mardi Gras, selected teams at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center are getting a delivery of king cakes purchased from four Baton Rouge area bakeries. The labels on the king cake boxes are obscured, making this a blind taste test. Each box comes with a barcode for team members to scan and fill out an online six-question survey.

Researchers hope the study will answer a hotly debated question that has puzzled locals for years: Who has the best king cake in town?

“We’re trying to show that research can be fun and interesting,” said Christine LeBoeuf, Senior Director of Research and Grants, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System Office of Research and Grant Administration. “And that you can find out a lot of good information from even a simple study like this.”

J. Hunter Collins, Ph.D., is a clinical research scientist with Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital and LSU Health Sciences Center’s Pediatric Research. He's also principal investigator for this study and said because of the overwhelming number of king cake options available in Baton Rouge, their hope is that the results make the decision-making process easier for consumers.

The study began Jan. 27 and will conclude Feb. 17, with results expected to be released to the public by Mardi Gras day, Feb. 21. King cakes samples come from four Baton Rouge bakeries — names will be announced with the release of the study. Researchers hope to continue this study annually with king cake samples from additional bakeries around Baton Rouge.

Dr. Collins said one of the aims of the study is “to demystify what the Office of Research and Grant Administration does” and showcase Our Lady of the Lake Health’s clinical research capabilities.

“I came from a traditional research background, so it’s been really fascinating to see how different clinical research is,” Dr. Collins said. “You get to see an immediate impact from our studies on the patients the hospital is treating, and that’s really fascinating and so rewarding."

Throughout the year, researchers at Our Lady of the Lake Health lead a variety of exciting research studies, both simple and complex, collaborating with institutions as diverse as Johns Hopkins University, the University of Washington and our Championship Health Partner LSU. Most recently, our longtime research on sepsis helped medical diagnostics company Cytovale receive FDA clearance for its innovative new tool to detect sepsis in emergency room patients.

Find out more about Our Lady of the Lake Health’s Office of Research and Grant Administration here.

About Our Lady of the Lake Health

Our Lady of the Lake Health is a not-for-profit Catholic healthcare ministry based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with more than 7,500 employees committed to serving the Capital Region and building a healthy community through excellence in patient care and education. With an 800-bed Regional Medical Center, a dedicated Children’s Hospital, a 78-bed hospital in Gonzales, Louisiana, two freestanding emergency rooms in outlying parishes, and a 600+ provider Physician Group, Our Lady of the Lake Health provides comprehensive healthcare services for common to complex conditions. Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center is a primary teaching site for graduate medical education programs in partnership with LSU, and is recognized in the areas of heart and vascular, trauma and emergency care, stroke, cancer care, minimally invasive procedures, and more. Our Lady of the Lake is part of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System and is driven by its mission to serve all God’s people, especially those most in need. For more information, visit

Media Contact

Chrislyn Maher
Senior Director, Marketing & Communications
Our Lady of the Lake Health



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