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A Glimpse of Local


first person with

George Rodrigue


October 2011

Thrive Magazine for Better Living



Thrive Magazine for Better Living

October 2011




8 In This Issue

Regular Features

4 New You Makeover – the Unveling 8 Special Feature: Historic Sites, Right Down the Road

0 First Person: 5 with George Rodrigue 52 By the Numbers 66 Who’s News 69 Happenings 72 Business Buzz 74 Solutions for Life 74 Best Impressions 75 The Last Word

Special Section

16 20 22 24 25

Haunted Spots in SWLA Paranormal Investigation at DeRidder Jail Spooky Party and Costume Tips Fear Appeal: Why We Like to Be Afraid Schedule of Halloween Events


Open Door Leads to New Beginnings



Cover Story:

State of the Art: the Community Value of Art, Music & Dance 44 Great Acadian Awakening 58 Weigh the Evidence When Choosing an Attorney 64 Curing Flu Myths

Glaser Joins Thrive Thrive Magazine is pleased to announce the addition of Britney Glaser to the advertising sales team. Glaser is originally from DeRidder and is a graduate of Louisiana State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications. While at LSU, she worked as an anchor and news director at TigerTV in Baton Rouge. She then joined the news team at KPLC-TV in Lake Charles, where she was a reporter and anchor at KPLC-TV in Lake Charles for nearly four years before moving to KCEN-TV in Waco, Texas where she worked as a reporter and producer for the last 18 months. Locally, Glaser served as a volunteer for the United Way of Southwest Louisiana, Calcasieu Parish Medical Foundation and National Alliance on Mental Illness, SWLA Chapter.

Editors and Publishers Kristy Armand Christine Fisher Creative Director/Layout Barbara VanGossen Assistant Editor Erin Kelly Assistant Designers Jason Hardesty Shonda Manuel Staff Writers Katie McDaniel Brett Downer Lisa Addison Advertising Sales 337.310.2099 Emily Porche Britney Glaser Submissions or fax to 337.312.0976 Submitted articles and photos are welcome. Thrive assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials and does not guarantee any submissions.

Don’t just live, thrive!

Thrive is designed for people focused on living a happy, healthy life, one that is balanced, full of energy and contentment. Thrive readers want to make the most of every day and be successful in all areas of their lives – family, health, home and career. October 2011

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


The Unveiling by Erin Kelly

For three months, local recipients of the New You Makeover Challenge endured revamped diets, rigorous fitness routines, new hairstyles and an overall lifestyle overhaul in their quest to lead better, healthier and more fulfilling lives. The makeover challenge was a joint effort between the awardees and Signatures Salon, Dr. Eric Snow, CrossFit Lake Charles and Thrive. After filling out an application detailing why they were in need of a lifestyle makeover, five local women were selected, with some surprises along the way. “The goal of the Makeover Challenge wasn’t just to make them look better, but to make them feel better inside and out,” said Wendy White McCown, owner of Signatures Salon. “When we designed the New You Makeover Challenge, we wanted it be a lifestyle makeover, not just a temporary change. We want each of them to continue their dedication to leading fuller, healthier lives.” The challenge included nutritional consultations with Dr. Snow, chiropractor and whole food nutrition therapist; fitness sessions at CrossFit Lake Charles; and a styling makeover with Signatures Salon. Here are the results:


Regina Smart When ag teacher Regina Smart started the new school year, teachers and students didn’t recognize her. This 37-year-old mother of two, who had donned the same haircut since age 12, lost nearly 20 pounds. Her body isn’t the only thing that’s changed – her mental and emotional spirit has undergone a revamp, too. “This was huge for me,” she said. “I’m not as stressed. I don’t have the anxiety I used to have. My moods are so much better. I just have better health overall. I feel great.” Smart wore her hair long, straight and in one length since the days of junior high. She knew cutting her hair would be a challenge, so throughout the challenge she resolved herself to having her long locks cut by Signatures stylists. Her hair was donated to Locks of Love. “By the time she finished the other aspects of the challenge, she was ready to cut it, because she felt so good overall and was ready for the change,” White said. Stylists cut about 17 inches of hair, according to White.

Before 4

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photos by Jason Hardesty

October 2011

Jill Portie

Hannah Vincent

When school principal Jill Portie started the New You Makeover Challenge, her cholesterol was almost 400 and she was on blood pressure medication. With extra weight and a history of heart disease, Portie knew it was time to make a change. She fantasized about a time when she would be able to pop out of bed in the morning and plow through the busy workday with energy. That time has come. After completing the challenge, Portie says her energy levels have been the greatest difference. “It’s so easy for me to find the energy to do the things I want to do,” she said. “Now that I’m active I’m able to accomplish so much.” She didn’t conquer this quest on her own. Her teenage son, John, also completed the challenge and lost 34 pounds. Portie, who lost 16 pounds, is no longer on blood pressure medication. For her new look makeover, stylists at Signatures Salon accented Portie’s short hair with highlights. “Her hair is short, just the way she likes it, so we just touched it up a little bit,” White said.

College-bound Hannah Vincent wanted to start off her freshman year with gusto. The makeover challenge gave her a roaring head start. She said there is a world of difference between the Hannah of today and the Hannah of June 2011. “I have so much more stamina. The way I go throughout the day is so different. It’s mostly the little things I notice. The everyday things,” Vincent said. Vincent, who completed the challenge with her mother, said she is sleeping better and feeling better overall. Thanks to CrossFit, she learned that she had much more physical strength than she gave herself credit for. To complete the new Hannah, stylists at Signatures gave her color and a cut that accentuated her existing curls. “With curly hair, you want to be sure to get a cut that allows the curls to come through. You want to work with the curls, not against them. The idea is to go with nature and let your hair do what it naturally does,” White said. Continued on p6

A trusted surgeon for over 20 years. Now accepting new patients. Women & Children’s Hospital welcomes board-certified general surgeon, Joseph J. O’Donnell, M.D., FACS, to our medical staff. Dr. O’Donnell performs a wide range of surgical procedures including minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery which, for many people, may result in less pain and a faster recovery. He earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine and completed his residency at the University of Texas Medical School. Dr. O’Donnell has been serving Southwest Louisiana residents for more than 20 years. For an appointment, call 337-562-3732.

4150 Nelson Road, Bldg. G, Suite 3 Lake Charles

Member of the Medical Staff at

337-562-3732 October 2011

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9/12/11 11:29 AM

Amanda Bryant The biggest change that Amanda Bryant has noticed is awareness of what she’s eating. “I’m much more cautious than I used to be when I make decisions about what to eat,” Bryant said. After conquering the challenging fitness program at CrossFit, Bryant said she feels “so much better” physically. She’s built muscle, gone down in pants sizes and has an overall pride about all she’s accomplished. “My whole body is thanking me,” she said. Signatures touched up her hair using a razor-cutting technique, which gives the style definition and flair. The cut is lowmaintenance – just the way Amanda wanted it. “Before we style a client’s hair, we take several things into consideration. We think about face shape and what style will complement their face, but mostly we want to know what their morning routine is and how much time they want to spend on their hair,” White said. “Amanda wanted something low-maintenance, so we gave her a stylish cut that doesn’t take a lot of work. We added some highlights underneath, which will still look natural when they grow in.”

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Renee Thornton Renee Thornton says she’s “never going back” to the life she led before she embarked on the makeover challenge. She’s lost 25 pounds, gone down from a size 14 to an eight and says she feels better not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. “People keep asking me, ‘How did you do all this?’ and I say, ‘Blood, sweat and tears!’” she says. “I’m proud that I did this the hard way. I didn’t take diet pills, I didn’t get a lap band, I didn’t have surgery. I did it the right way. And I feel really, really great. The changes have been gradual, but now I almost feel as if my body has gone through a cleansing.” She said she has adopted the new approach to nutrition and fitness as part of her daily life and has left behind old habits – and her old body. “I’m not stopping. I’ll keep going,” she said. “When I can’t go to CrossFit, I run two miles in my neighborhood. This is my life now, and I couldn’t be happier.”

Making a difference …every day. “Our Volunteer Program is all about the volunteers serving and aiding our patient’s and their caregivers in a time of need. Our volunteers give of their time in a caring and compassionate way. They do such things as reading, visiting, playing music, or they can provide the primary caregiver with respite care to allow them to go to appointments, church or to simply run errands.” —Pat Duplechian, Volunteer Coordinator

To become a volunteer call Pat Duplechian at 337-526-2711

1.888.878.0337 Proudly Serving Southwest Louisiana 6

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October 2011

Rehabilitation Hospital

of Jennings


• Brain Injury

• Hip Fractures

• Strokes

• Osteoarthritis/DJD

• Amputations

• Neurological Disorders

• Burns

• Spinal Cord Injury

• Major Multiple Trauma

• Congenital Deformities

• Rheumatoid Arthritis

• Systemic Vasculidities

• Joint Replacements

Others who can benefit from inpatient rehabilitation are postoperative patients, accident victims and cancer patients. 24 Hour Nursing Care • Physical Therapy • Occupational Therapy Speech Therapy • Nutritional Counseling and Monitoring Case Management Call for a free assessment today. One Hospital Drive, Ste. 101 • Jennings, LA 70546 • Phone: (337) 821-5353 • Fax: (337) 821-5355 or 5366 • October 2011

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Get a Glimpse of History – Right Down the Road by Brett Downer

See Southwest Louisiana’s rich history for yourself the next time you’re out on a drive, a walk or a jog. All points of our area boast old homes, buildings and sites of interest worth admiring, photographing or even showing off to kids or visitors. We may already know about the more prominent stop-and-look spots -- places like Veterans Memorial Park, or the Louisiana Oil and Gas Park in Jennings, or the grand old homes seen everywhere from Shell Beach Drive to leafy neighborhoods in DeRidder. Other places, though, are worth a look, too -- and well worth the few extra blocks it might take to see them. Here are just some of the places worth checking out, arranged by parish.

IN CALCASIEU PARISH The Charpentier Historic District in Lake Charles honors the work of carpenter-architects who worked in Lake Charles years ago and created a unique style of homes. (So much so, that certain porch columns are officially recognized as “Lake Charles columns” by folks who appreciate such details.) The district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The district is located in central and northern Lake Charles. It covers about 40 blocks, roughly bounded by Iris, Hodges, Lawrence, Kirkman and South Division streets and Louisiana Avenue. There are cottages, fine homes, the Central School Arts & Humanities Center, the Mardi Gras Museum and art galleries. Many of the streets in this area are quiet, making the district ideal for a walking tour, a drive-by look or some relaxing bicycling. Deciding which areas to go see is like choosing the next crawfish from your tray -- whatever you pick, it’s all good. Depending on your location and interest, an itinerary might look like this: Heading north on Kirkman from Broad Street, admire the profile of Church of the Good Shepherd as you go right (east) on South Division street. At the first intersection you reach -- South Division at Pine -- stop and take a 360-degree look at the houses on the corner -- they’re a microcosm of the houses and history in this area. Looking clockwise, there’s the stately, pastel-and-white Nichols House on the northeast corner; the brick Opal Gray mansion across the street; the tall, clapboard Beatty House, with ties to both the Beatty and Shearman newspaper families; and, on the church-side corner, the distinct Italianate home built by Dr. John Greene Martin, founder of St. Patrick Hospital. Other stops along the way might include: --Ford Street: The 500 block. --1911 City Hall and the old Calcasieu Parish


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October 2011

Courthouse, restored and staring each down from opposing sides of Ryan Street, by Kirby. --Iris Street: The 500 and 600 blocks. --Wilson Street: Addresses such as 330, the Leon Locke House; 212, the Cullen Liskow House; and 220, the William Henry Managan House. --Grove Street: 101, the John A. Texada House; and 106, the John R. Stevens House. --Wild cards: The James Clooney House, 101 Pithon St.; the Stockwell House, 205 Shell Beach Drive; the Dr. H.B. White House, 1505 Griffith St.; the restored Calcasieu Marine National Bank, 840 Ryan St., where the crying eagle preens from high above; the re-imagined Charleston Hotel, Ryan at Pujo; or even the original cast-iron gateway to the Oak Park subdivision, which is styled with oaks and acorns and is all but overlooked today. Elsewhere in Calcasieu Parish, head up to DeQuincy to see what was once the Kansas City Southern depot. The building looks much like it always did, except it took on a new life as the DeQuincy Railroad Museum. DeQuincy began as a railroad settlement, and though transportation has evolved over the years, the depot is a reminder of the city’s roots.

October 2011

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The site is also part of the Creole Nature Trail National Scenic Byway District. Or, head west across the Interstate 10 Calcasieu River Bridge -- which itself is of some historic value, if functionally obsolete -- and see the ghosts of early merchants’ shops in Sulphur. Go farther west, and you can see the Lyons House in Vinton (at 1335 Horridge St.).

IN CAMERON PARISH The Cameron Parish Courthouse was built for $765,000 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Depression-era public works projects. Its appearance reflects the forward-looking 1930s style of the time. More to the point, it was built to last -- and, indeed, the courthouse stood firm as it took hurricanes Audrey and Rita in the teeth while it citizens suffered. The courthouse (located at Courthouse Square and immediately visible) is both a literal and figurative testament to the resilience of Cameron Parish and its people. It’s worth a visit to admire its appearance and reflects on its historical statement as it stands watch over the Gulf. After that, head all the way west, to the border, and point your binoculars toward the Sabine Pass Lighthouse -- an even older monument to persistence.

IN ALLEN PARISH The Allen Parish Courthouse in Oberlin is the natural starting point for a look-around. However, if you’re closer to Kinder, check out the Genius Brothers Building (Eighth Street at Fourth Avenue) or St. Paul Baptist/Morehead School (722 Hickory Flats Road).

IN BEAUREGARD PARISH The Old DeRidder Jail is a place that’s right out of a movie -- an imposing, even ominous, structure that looks like a year-round Halloween set. You can’t miss it. For more formal history, there’s the Beauregard Parish Courthouse on First Street.

Insurance and Investments Butch Ferdinandsen

Dr. Robert Janot

CFP®, CRPS, CRPC Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC and Registered Investment Advisor. P.O. Box 64284 St. Paul, MN 55164 (651) 738-4000. The Perry Agency and Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., are not affiliated entities.

3817 Maplewood Dr. Sulphur, LA 70663 337-625-2020 Find us on Facebook! 10

121 Jamestown in Heritage Square

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491-9236 October 2011

IN JEFF DAVIS PARISH Nineteen sites bear a National Register of Historic Places designations in Jeff Davis Parish. Most are in Jennings, a city that fully embraces its history -- right down to the oil derrick replica that beckons travelers along I-10. Some attractions in Jennings are immediately apparent, such as Jennings’ post office (118 W. Plaquemine) and library (303 Cary Ave.). Others places includes the More Mileage Gas Station (602. N. Main), Funk House (523 Cary Ave.), Ilgenhurst (402 W. Nezpique) and the Camp Hamilton House (2200 E. Academy Ave.). Elsewhere in Jeff Davis, check out the sites of the Silas J. Fenton House (402 2nd St. in Fenton), the Calkins-Orvis House (210 W. Nichols in Welsh), the Fruge Store building (907 Main St. in Elton) and the Hebert House in Lake Arthur -- approachable via Greenhouse Lane, near La. 3056.

Celebrating Diversity:

Culture Fest Plans Announced

Common Ground—a group of diverse locals—has been working with the Southwest Louisiana community to promote cultural harmony based on mutual understanding and respect. This group believes that by celebrating our diversity, Southwest Louisiana will become a more vibrant and exciting community and be even more attractive to new families, businesses, and industries that are considering locating here. With the generous support of local sponsors, Common Ground has partnered with the City of Lake Charles as well as other civic organizations, schools, and local universities to host Culture Fest Louisiana—an international festival—on October 21–22 at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Culture Fest Louisiana will showcase the art, music, dance, fashion, and food of the different countries and cultures that will be represented. Common Ground’s vision for Culture Fest Louisiana extends even further with the development of Diversity Week—a full week of culturally diverse events that precedes the festival itself. Culture Fest Louisiana is a free community event and is designed to encourage family participation from all areas of Southwest Louisiana. The attractions include a cultural display area, kids international village, world café, and rich schedule of entertainment. Making events like Diversity Week and Culture Fest Louisiana a success is an important part of Common Ground’s effort to build an appreciation for the rich cultural diversity that is Southwest Louisiana. Make plans to join us at the Lake Charles Civic Center on October 21–22 and expand your knowledge of the exciting variety of culture our world has to offer. Your participation will demonstrate your commitment to enriching our area, encouraging tourism and economic development, educating our public, and enhancing the artistic expressions of our diverse community. For information on Diversity Week and Culture Fest Louisiana visit, email or call 337-409-9636.

October 2011

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Getting Personal with Loans Unsecured personal loans were once one of the most popular ways for American consumers to finance big-ticket items or cover unexpected expenses. As lines of credit and home equity trumped consumer loans, however, they fell in popularity for more accessible forms of financing. But now the tide is changing once again. The real estate crash affected home equity loans and credit card lines alike. According to TowerGroup, a research firm, issuers cut $1.5 trillion from consumers’ available credit lines in 2008-09 and nearly one in four homeowners now owe more on their mortgages than their house is worth. This has breathed new life into personal consumer loans, according to Justin Holt, Vice President & Senior Lending Officer with First National Bank in DeRidder. That said, getting a personal loan isn’t as easy as it once was to get a line of credit. Because of the shaky economy, many institutions require good credit, a steady income and an existing relationship with the lender. “Personal loans are definitely more difficult to get than they once were, but that’s true for virtually all forms of credit in our current economy. Mortgages are much more difficult to secure, credit cards aren’t being handed out like candy anymore, and loans for other big-ticket items require more stringent requirements,” Holt said. “Institutions are in a position where they need to protect their investments, and consumers are in a position where they need to keep a watchful eye on their debt and income.” And even though personal loans have become a more viable option,

Leadership. Experience. Integrity.

by Kristy Armand

that doesn’t mean that there are loans waiting around every corner. Some institutions consider personal loans to be too risky, without enough benefit to make it worthwhile. Many of the big banks have forgone personal lending significantly and, in some cases, completely. “Community banks operate differently,” Holt said. “For the most part, community banks have always been open to offering personal loans as part of one-on-one service. It involves sitting down with the borrower and discussing his or her financial situation – income, repayment plans, interest rates, existing debts. Going through the lending process with a customer can be very personal, and that is what community banks are all about.” Most community banks will review consumers’ applications personally and discuss the feasibility of the loan. In cases where the loan is declined, bankers will review each reason with the consumer to ensure full understanding. “It does the customer a lot of good to hear why they’ve been turned down for a loan because then they understand what they need to do to get their credit where they want it to be,” Holt said. If declined for a personal loan, it may be tempting to rush toward a form of easy lending, but before you get too hasty, discuss options with your banker. “Whatever you do, don’t rush out and get a payday loan,” says Holt. “It sounds like a good deal up front, but many consumers find themselves in a financial trap as soon as they sign on the dotted line. There are other options available – you just need to know what they are. Your banker can help you with that.”

• Graduate of Lake Charles High • Earned Business Degree from McNeese • Was a licensed Real Estate Agent • Started and managed a successful small business • Served as Mayor of Lake Charles for six and one-half years • As Mayor, managed a budget of over 70 million and 800 employees

• Served as State Senator for nearly 12 years • No retirement • As Senator, chaired the Revenue and Fiscal Committee where Assessor issues are heard • Received the 2011 Legacy of Service Award from the Chamber SWLA


“ The citizens of Calcasieu Parish need and deserve a public official they can trust to manage the Assessor’s office. I will bring honesty to the office to ensure that all local citizens are represented fairly, and I will modernize the office to make services more convenient for everyone. I am ready to work for you and pledge to restore leadership, experience and integrity to your Assessor’s office. I ask for your vote and your support.” | (337) 477-4010

~Willie Mount


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Paid for by the Willie L. Mount Assessor Campaign, LLC

October 2011

plate Specials (tHe empHaSiS iS on SpeCial)

Pediatrics and KidMed

Southwestern family recipes, with a unique Louisiana spin, served up fresh – that’s Coyote Blues! Indulge in tender, flavorful mesquite – grilled fajitas and CB specials like Los Cabos Tilapia. Once you get these blues, nothing else tastes as good.

Happy Hour Specials


open at 11 a.m. • 3624 Ryan StReet 337-502-5131 • Dine in oR take out

• 4pm to 8pm Mon. - Fri. • 2pm to 6pm Sat. & Sun.

BOARD CERTIFIED PEDIATRICIANS Dr. Albert Richert Sr. Dr. Albert Richert Jr. Dr. Jenny Thomas Dr. Alycia Rodgers Dr. Julie Babineaux NURSE PRACTIONERS

Debbie Vincent (PNP) Jennilee Stowell (PNP) Tim Neidigh (FNP) SULPHUR 600 Cypress St. • 337-527-6371 EXTENDED WEEKDAY & WEEKEND HOURS Mon–Thurs. 8:00am–8:00pm • Friday 8:00am–5pm Saturday 9:00am–12:00pm • Sunday 1:00pm–4pm LAKE CHARLES 1920 W. Sale Rd. • 337-477-0935 Monday–Friday 8:00–5:00

Expanding in South Lake Charles Opening on Country Club Road Fall 2011 The Pediatric Center invites you to make our home the medical home for your children.

Accepting new patients • Accepting all insurances

Like us on Facebook! October 2011

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Soccer Players at High Risk for

Knee Pain

When you consider the amount of wear and tear place on the knee during the fast-paced, highly physical game of soccer, knee problems should come as no surprise. One of the most common locations of knee pain in soccer players is the front of the knee, often referred to as the patella or “kneecap.” “This is called patellofemoral pain,” explains Steven Hale, MD, orthopaedic surgeon with Center for Orthopaedics and Team Physician for McNeese Athletics. “Ball handling, quick stops, directional changes as well as long periods of running place high amounts of stress on the joint and the soft tissue around knee. Any existing malalignment of the kneecap or weakness in its supporting structures can increase the risk of pain and injury.” Dr. Hale says this problem is even more common in females. “Studies have shown that female soccer players are more likely to experience knee pain and injuries than their male counterparts. This is believed to be caused by anatomical differences in size and structure that increase the stress within the knee joint of female athletes.” The pain can be caused by several different factors. One of the most common is patellofemoral dysfunction, an injury that occurs in the cartilage between the patella and the femur, or thigh bone. Dr. Hale says when the patella is subject to excessive pressure against the femur, or is aligned improperly with the groove at the end of the femur along which it slides, the cartilage can become irritated or wear away. This can lead to chondromalacia, a condition in which the cartilage underlying the patella is softened or frayed, causing pain and inflammation in surrounding tissue. Patellofemoral pain may also originate in the soft tissue surrounding the kneecap. Dr. Hale says the exertion of playing soccer may cause the athlete to injure the supporting and stabilizing structures of the kneecap. Depending on the nature of the symptoms and their underlying causes, Dr. Hale says the treatment prescribed may vary for patellofemoral pain. “Recommended treatment often begins with ‘R.I.C.E.’ – rest, ice, compression and elevation. Players should also avoid activity that aggravates symptoms until the pain is gone.” In addition, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and perhaps a knee brace or other form of compression during physical activity may be recommended. “In cases where the problem originates from a misaligned patella, a compression brace or sleeve, or taping before play, may help symptoms by keeping the kneecap in the proper position,” say Dr. Hale. Once pain and swelling are dealt with, he adds that further treatment may be necessary. The athlete may be advised to stretch the tendon and strengthen the muscles around the knee. In particular, hamstring stretches can be helpful, especially for young soccer players whose tendons may become tight as they grow. Exercise for the quadriceps muscle is also useful in conditioning the knee against patellofemoral pain. Surgery may be necessary in some cases. “If pieces of kneecap cartilage need to be removed, we can usually take care of this arthroscopically, with pencil-thin tools through a few, small incisions. If the patella is misaligned, surgery may be required to realign it,” says Dr. Hale. He says the best advice is to focus on overall conditioning, even during the off-season, to reduce the chance of injury. In addition, athletes should warm up and stretch before any physical activity, increase training gradually and avoid sudden changes in exercise intensity. For more information on any sports injury, call Center for Orthopaedics at 721-7236 or visit The group has offices in Lake Charles, Sulphur and DeRidder. by Kristy Armand


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October 2011

From our den to yours…


30” Pizza! 52 Slices! Starting at $34.99 Special order. Must be prepaid.

Yeah, this is the BOx!

Sulphur 2590 Maplewood Drive

337.533.1181 October 2011

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It’s Time Again...

Southwest Louisiana loves to celebrate; and the cool October breezes are the perfect excuse to throw a fun-filled, and maybe a little fright-filled, Halloween party. Free your inner ghoul and brew up some spooktacular costumes, treats and excursions.

Your Hometown’s Haunted History by Erin Kelly

When you gather around the flickering campfire this Halloween to swap scary ghost stories, you may pull out golden oldies like the story of the girl who hears three knocks on the car window or the man who discovers that his beautiful crush has been dead for ten years, but you may want to stay closer to home. Southwest Louisiana may not have the ghostly reputation of New Orleans, but there are creepy stories to be had. Local historian Adley Cormier admits that ghost sightings in this area are fairly uncommon. Southwest Louisiana was disputed land during the Louisiana Purchase, so its settlement is modern when compared to older cities like New Orleans or Shreveport, so “some of our ghost stories are being developed right now.” Demolitions of historical sites have also broken away many prized ghost legends – in the now-gone Arcade Theatre, for example, stage performers often heard ghostly knocks against the trap door in the stage; the Bel House, also demolished, once hosted porch ghosts in its rocking chairs. Despite the lack of antiquity and historical sites that make the area inhospitable to some manifestations, ghosts have nonetheless been known to lurk in certain spots throughout the area. Some of these ghosts – such


as the alleged spirit of murderess Toni Jo Henry – have been featured on a national level. Not surprisingly, one of the most common communal areas for paranormal spirits exists in the area’s unique graveyards. On Iris Street, people have historically reported feu follet sightings at the Old Catholic Cemetery and have attributed them to the ghosts of the donor’s wife and children who are buried there. According to Cormier, feu follet sightings are “luminous balls of light that frequently appear at cemeteries and are thought to be the spirit of ghosts with unsolved issues.” These balls of light are pale green or pale blue and are sometimes seen floating up and down through the cemetery, especially on misty, cool nights. Feu follet have also been seen at Bilbo Cemetery, Big Woods Cemetery in Edgerly and the LeBleu Settlement Cemetery. Feu follet sightings are not figments of personal imagination; they actually exist, according to Cormier. Although there is a scientific explanation for them (based on science, the bouncing lights actually come from balls of methane gas that rise from decaying swamp matter), Acadian folklore maintains that feu follet are the spirits of unsettled ghosts.

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October 2011

photos by Shonda Manuel

Southwest Louisiana has not only been plagued by strange sightings. It has also been home to strange hearings, as well – very strange indeed, Cormier says. “One of the weirdest ghost stories in Lake Charles has to do with the old Baptist orphanage and its cows,” he said. The Baptist orphanage, located on the property that now houses St. Louis Catholic High School, operated after the Civil War as a way to teach potential atrisk youth the responsibilities of dairy farming. At the time, not much was in the neighborhood, so the local Baptists considered it an ideal spot to have cattle, which would be tended to by the orphans. Unfortunately, they underestimated the growth of the city. “They chose Lake Charles because it was off the beaten path and there was a railroad line. They were going to teach the kids how to be farmers, but Lake Charles grew much quicker than planned and they had to get rid of some of the cows because they weren’t getting milked. The mooing of the cows disturbed the local residents,” Cormier said. “For years after the orphanage was empty, residents heard the cows mooing, even though there weren’t any cows there.” Eventually the orphanage was demolished and the Landry family bought the property, on which they built Landry High School – now St. Louis. The neighborhood in this area is still considered “Baptist Meadows,” and it is in this area that one potentially haunted house was home to a coin-stacking ghost. According to Cormier, a resident of Baptist Meadows continually discovered that his loose change was being inexplicably stacked in neat columns. The

October 2011

resident soon learned that the home was once the residence of a moody businessman who was often seen on his porch stacking coins. Not far away, on the corner of Ford and Pine Streets, the site of one of Southwest Louisiana’s ghost stories still stands. Following the Great Fire of 1910, which destroyed twenty blocks of downtown Lake Charles, the sheriff was forced to evacuate prisoners from the jail. With nowhere else for them to go, he shackled the prisoners together and took them to his house, where he marched them up two long flights of stairs to the attic. After a few nights locked in the sheriff’s attic, one of the prisoners makes the daring decision to escape out the window, only to fall to his death. According to Cormier, residents in the area have occasionally reported the sound of breaking glass followed by screams ever since. The reports usually come in around springtime – “April or May,” Cormier said, around the same time of the Great Fire. To get to the meat of spooky Southwest Louisiana tales, however, you have to fast-forward 32 years, to November 28, 1942 – the night that murderess Toni Jo Henry became the only woman executed in Louisiana’s electric chair. Toni Jo was sentenced to death for murdering Joseph Calloway in a car-jacking as part of an ill-hatched plot to break her lover out of prison. The execution took place in the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse, but

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Don’t be a fright, let your sparkling teeth glow white!



Call for an appointment: (337) 478-2960 1333 Oak Park Boulevard, Lake Charles OFFICE HOURS: M-F • 8am - 5pm



according to local legend, Toni Jo never left. She’s been known to tinker around with electrical outlets in the building, turn off file systems and lock doors. Some have reported smelling a woman’s perfume. But according to Cormier, the most common reports have been the smell of burning hair. “Flickering lights have been associated with Toni Jo, as well as equipment that stops and starts by itself. These manifestations seem to have been much more common before the courthouse was redone in the 1980s,” Cormier said. The haunting of Toni Jo Henry has attracted nationwide attention. The Travel Channel, for instance, lists the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse as one of the top ten most haunted places in America. Despite having one of the most haunted sites in America, many of Southwest Louisiana’s ghost stories have been demolished with its history, according to Cormier. “So much of our early history is gone. It’s believed that ghosts don’t move directly into the ethereal world. Instead, they get stuck in a certain place. It’s hard to have ghosts appear when they don’t have a physical place to appear in,” Cormier said. “There are probably a lot of frustrated ghosts in this area.” Toni Jo Henry

Halloween Ball & Grand Opening Saturday, October 29 • 7:00pm

Join us for a Halloween themed party—costumes optional! Join us at International Dance Company and learn to express yourself while learning the joy of dancing. We offer a variety of classes to keep adults fit while having fun, as well as technical classes for those interested in performing.

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Weddings • Receptions • Balls • Sulphur, LA • 337-570-9739 • 337-527-1964 Thrive Magazine for Better Living

October 2011

Haunted Houses

Do you love to be scared? If so, what better way to bring in the spooky spirit of Halloween than with visiting a haunted house? We have put together a list of haunted houses around the Southwest Louisiana area. Check one or more of these out for a truly hair-raising October. USS Orleck Naval Museum Haunted Ship

The House of Shock Horror Show

604 Enterprise Boulevard, Lake Charles 337-433-4083

319 Butterworth Street, New Orleans 504-734-74625

The 13th Gate

The Myrtle’s Plantation

832 St. Phillip Street, Baton Rouge 318-641-1146

7747 US Highway 61, St. Francisville 225-635-6277

The Haunted Mortuary

Ultimate Fear Haunted House

4800 Canal Street, New Orleans 504-483-2350

1035 Texas Avenue, Shreveport 903-239-2274

The Haunted Hotel 6755 Patillo Road, Beaumont, TX 409-729-3300

Moody Gardens – Ghostly Gardens One Hope Boulevard, Galveston, TX 1-800-582-4673

Your Halloween Headquarters Corner of Lake Street & McNeese Street

337-477-2789 October 2011

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The DeRidder Jail: Under Investigation

Evidence of paranormal activity includes strange recordings Many locals believe that something lurks amidst the shallow arches, dormer windows and central tower of the DeRidder jail – spirits of dead criminals who were hanged, perhaps, or simply manifestations of the environment and the human mind. The “hanging jail,” as it’s called, was built in 1914 and is best known as the site of a double-hanging in 1928, which took the lives of two men convicted of robbing and killing a DeRidder taxi driver. The Gothic architecture of the jail, coupled with reports of strange happenings inside its gloomy walls, adds to the ongoing intrigue of the site, which has lured paranormal investigators for years. Among them: Louisiana Spirits, one of several local investigative groups who visit homes and businesses throughout the region to search for possible paranormal activity. According to team member and investigator Aaron Benoit, Louisiana Spirits has investigated the DeRidder jail six times. Benoit said he is drawn to the jail because of “the Gothic look of the jail that instantly adds a creep factor to the investigation, the jail’s long history and the fact that we have always collected some type of evidence, mostly audio, and had several personal experiences as well.” The DeRidder jail is considered one of the most distinctive architectures of its type in the U.S. Although the “hanging jail” is no longer in use, it was added


to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. It is noted for its Gothic appearance, barred windows and spiral staircase, which leads up three floors of jail cells. According to Louisiana Spirits, a statewide organization with local chapters, the most common ghostly claim made by visitors of the jail is the sight of an older man standing on the front porch smoking a pipe. Following their initial investigation, Louisiana Spirits concluded that despite interesting happenings – including audio recordings of a strange voice not belonging to any team members – they were not able to validate a haunting. According to Benoit, the team approaches each investigation with skepticism. “Usually about 80 percent of activity is residual, or something that can be explained away logically such as animal activity, wind, car lights creating shadows, or even matrixing, which is the brain rationalizing something the eye sees and creating something it understands – like seeing animals and figures in the clouds,” Benoit said. “The word ‘paranormal’ for most people instantly brings to mind ‘ghost,’ when in fact the meaning is simply that if the activity isn’t normal, it is paranormal. In other words, not explainable.” For the DeRidder jail investigations, Louisiana Spirits pulled out all the stops with their equipment. Their stockade of ghost-hunting tools includes a thermal

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

October 2011

imaging camera used to detect the slightest changes of surface temperature; infrared cameras that display images not visible to the naked eye; handheld video recorders; a wide assortment of audio recorders; recording programs that translate data into waveform, showing whether certain occurrences are chance or something more; and many other tools used to detect changes in energy, sound and general environment. Investigations are typically conducted at night. “We like to investigate in the night-time hours due to the fact that world begins to calm down at night, offering less chance of evidence contamination from the hustle and bustle of daytime activity. Also, it takes less energy for an entity to manifest in the dark than it does in the daylight. Example – turn on a flashlight in the daylight and you can barely see the light, but at night you can see it quite well.” Inside the jail, investigators collected paranormal evidence that may or may not be evidence of a haunting, including unexplained footsteps and the sound of running water. During the course of the investigation, equipment collapsed or malfunctioned for no apparent reason and investigators heard the sound of metal striking bars, among other things. “We have only been able to capture audio, probably for the most part residual, but we have had intelligent answers to questions at times,” Benoit said. “We have heard knocks and bangs, whispers, footsteps and even the jingling of keys.” Despite a lack of hard and fast evidence, Benoit said he believes the jail to be haunted, “be it residual or intelligent,” but he doesn’t think there is anything to fear. For full details on this investigation and others conducted by Louisiana Spirits, visit Audio recordings are available for listeners, including an unknown voice saying “warden,” a distinctive male voice saying “no,” and other mysterious voices. by Erin Kelly

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No-carve pumpkin decorations Good Housekeeping

Pumpkin carving is a great way to celebrate the Halloween season. While carved pumpkins look fantastic and spooky when lit at night, they don’t last long and they may not be a suitable craft for children. No-carve pumpkins make for easy Halloween crafts and can look just as good during the day as they do at night. Here are a few no-carve pumpkin ideas for you to try.



Shimmering Pumpkins

Wrap pumpkins in fall colored ribbon.

Spray paint pumpkins in silver or bronzed colors.

Feature Creatures

Glittered Pumpkins

Sketch on scary faces with a black permanent marker.

Paint pumpkins with glue and spinkle glitter on to pumpkins.

halloween recipes Candy Apples Ingredients: Unsalted butter, for parchment paper 2 cups sugar 3/4 cup water 1/2 cup light corn syrup 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring, (optional) 6 medium apples, or 12 lady apples Directions: 1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; butter parchment, and set aside. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, 3/4 cup water, corn syrup, and food coloring, if using. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-high. Insert candy thermometer and continue to boil until temperature reaches between 300 degrees and 310 degrees (hard crack stage), about 20 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, insert a wooden stick into the top of each apple, pushing about halfway through; set aside. When mixture reaches temperature, immediately remove from heat. Working quickly, dip apples in sugar mixture until completely coated. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; allow to cool. Source: Martha Stewart


Thrive Magazine for Better Living

October 2011

Carrot Fingers and Ranch Dressing Ingredients: 1 bag peeled baby carrots 1 cup sliced almonds Cream Cheese 1 bottle of ranch dressing

Directions: 1. Place a bit of cream cheese on the end of a baby carrot and place an almond slice face down on top. The almond should look like a fingernail on the carrot “finger”. Repeat until all carrots are finished. 2. Pour dressing in a bowl and stand a few carrot fingers upright in the bowl. Place the bowl on a platter an lay the remaining carrot fingers around the bowl.

Spice Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Ingredients: 1-1/2 tablespoons margarine, melted ½ teaspoon salt 1/8-teaspoon garlic salt 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F 2. Combine the margarine, salt, garlic salt, Worcestershire sauce and pumpkin seeds. 3. Mix thoroughly and place in shallow baking dish. 4. Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Source:

Witch’s Brew

Ingredients: 1 quart lime sherbet, slightly softened 1 container (12 oz) frozen limeade, thawed 1 bottle (1 liter) ginger ale Gummy worm candies Lime Slices

Lake Charles’

last-minute costume ideas Dressing up for Halloween doesn’t have to be difficult. All you need is a little imagination. Try these easy ideas to make your Halloween costume a hit.

Black Cat




• • • • • • • •

Cat ears Cat tail A nose with drawn on whiskers A black shirt and black pants Cowboy hat Button down shirt Boots Bandana


• A cape • A shirt with a Superman, Superwoman, etc. logo


• Flannel t-shirt • Jeans with a pair of gardening gloves in your the pocket • Sun hat • Shovel to walk around with

October 2011

• • • •

Directions: 1. In punch bowl, mix sherbet, limeade and ginger ale. 2. Pour into glasses. Garnish each glass with candy worms and lime slices. Serve immediately.


Long skirt Beads Shawls Scarves

• Glasses with white tape around the bridge • Books, Calculator or other school supplies • High-waisted pants • Button down shirt

Sports Fan

• Hat or shirt of any sports team • Face paint


• Hawaiian button down shirt • A camera with a strap • A map

Open 7 Days a week Located Next to Academy

3413 Derek Drive


Thrive Magazine for Better Living


The Fear Appeal

Why we like to SCARE ourselves

Vampires, werewolves, witches, ghosts and other frightening creatures are all around us as Halloween approaches, and Hollywood keeps them lurking in theaters for a convenient fright fix throughout the rest of the year. We’ve all experienced feelings of fear: pounding heartbeat, rapid respiration, dry mouth, shaking hands, knotted stomach, nervous perspiration. And while some people would choose to avoid these feelings at all costs, many actually crave a regular dose of fear, whether it comes from watching a horror movie, prowling through a haunted house, riding a high speed roller coaster or leaping off a ledge with your safety tethered to a bungee cord. The reason? According to psychiatrist, D. Dale Archer, MD, founder of the Institute for Neuropsychiatry, and regular expert guest on national news programs, the simple answer is hormones. “In any alarming situation – real or just perceived – your body reacts instinctively with the ‘fight-or-flight’ response that prepares it to deal with danger.” He explains the process: Certain hormones are released to speed up the


by Kristy Armand

heart rate, slow digestion, divert blood flow to major muscle groups, and change various other autonomic nervous functions, to give the body a burst of energy and strength needed to avoid danger. Biologically speaking, this response is the same whether you are running from a ferocious beast, sky diving, or watching a scary movie. When the threat is gone, the body’s systems are designed to return to normal function through a relaxation response, and there is a sense of relief and peace. “Fear releases this hormonal cascade within the body, taking you on a complete journey from anticipation, to anxiety, to experiencing the fear and resulting adrenaline rush, to the relief felt when the scary scene or ride is over and you are able to remind yourself the movie isn’t real; you are safe,” says Dr. Archer. “It’s this chemical surge of controlled danger that delivers us safely back to reality that causes some people to seek out frightening experiences again and again. People are basically addicted to the intense rush, followed by intense relief.”

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

October 2011

Dr. Archer adds that everyone experiences this hormonal high differently. For some, the pleasurable sensations override the terrifying images on the movie screen. They rate the overall experience as a positive one and will repeat it often. “Those who don’t enjoy scary movies may either have a weaker hormonal response that provides less pleasure and doesn’t cancel out the negative images, or a stronger initial hormonal response that rapidly pushes everything to a more intense, uncomfortable level, which makes them unable to remind themselves that there is no real threat. For these people, the best choice is to avoid these types of fearprovoking situations – why do something you don’t have to do if there is no pleasure in it?” Experts also believe that some people find it reassuring to test themselves with fear experiences, to see how much fear than can tolerate. “Many people enjoy having a sense of control over their fear and feel a deep sense of satisfaction when they are able to endure high levels of anxiety successfully,” says Dr. Archer. When it comes to scary movies, Dr. Archer says fear of the unknown also comes into play. “As a society, we have always been intensely curious about the ‘dark side’ and trying to make sense of it. These movies frame the unknown, often in horrifying ways, but in a controlled setting that allows us a brief glimpse at something we might have imagined. There’s some satisfaction that comes from facing this fear and walking out of the theater safe and unharmed.” For children, Dr. Archer says an event like Halloween, with costumes and haunted houses, can provide an enjoyable and safe way to help them explore and experience fear, knowing that the goblins and witches stalking their neighborhood are only make-believe, and that their parents are right there with them to help them stay grounded in safe reality.

s e c a r B f o d i a r f A e B t Don’

At Crawford Orthodontics, braces aren’t scary at all.

We offer options that provide: increased comfort • faster results • advanced technology And braces aren’t just for kids. With the wide range of convenient orthodontic options available, more and more adults are able to have the smile they’ve always wanted. Fall is a great time to begin orthodontic treatment, allowing you to take advantage of flexible benefit account deadlines as well as annual insurance deductibles that have been met. We also offer affordable, convenient payment plans to fit any budget. Remember, a healthy, beautiful smile is one of the most important investments you can make. We’ll give you something to smile about.

(337) 478-7590 701 West College Street, Lake Charles

Spooktacular Halloween Events

Pumpkin Patches


Moss Bluff United Methodist Church 735 Sam Houston Jones Parkway, Lake Charles, 337 855 6241 October 17-21, 2010 Monday thru Friday: 3:00 – 6:30 p.m. Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Sunday: Noon – 6:30 p.m.

Ghost Crawl 0ctober 14-29, 2011 Lake Charles Board Walk Admission: $25/person Visit actual haunted placed in the Lake Charles area. Tours begin at 6 p.m. sharp from the Lake Charles Board Walk with vans leaving every 2 hours. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 3095985 or visit

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church 1700 Maplewood Drive, Sulphur, 337-625-4288 October 8-31, 2011 Monday thru Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Sundays: 12:00-6:00 p.m Bring your camera and kids in costume to take pictures and play games. No purchase necessary. CM Farms 252 CM Farms Road, Dry Creek October 1 – November 19, 2011 – Weekdays are reserved for school field trips Attractions include pumpkin patch, corn maize, pig races, hay stacks, farm animals, and tire pyramids, haunted trail, rubber duck races, pumpkin blaster and corn cannons. Visit their website for more information and attraction pricing at www. October 2011

Howl-O-Ween Bash October 15, 2011 Calcasieu Parish Animal Services – 5500-A Swift Plant Road 10:00am05:30pm Calcasieu Parish Animal Services is hosting its first annual Howl-O-Ween Bash. There will be a pet costume contest, adoption specials, treats, dog park games, pictures with your pets, and more! Come out and have a howling good time! The Country Club Arts & Crafts Fair October 15-16, 2011 St. Luke Simpson United Methodist Church – 1500 Country Club Road The Country Club Arts & Crafts Fair will offer a Thrive Magazine for Better Living

variety of crafts including wood, glass, baskets, homemade jellies, jams, pickles and all types of other handmade items. There will also be a bake sale of homemade cookies, pies, candies and breads. Haunted Tour October 21st and 28th Graveyard Shift Paranormal Society Passengers will board vans for drive-by tours of some locations in Lake Charles and Sulphur that have been investigated for paranormal activity. The final stop will offer a chance for some first-hand ghost hunting. Tickets are $25 and seating is limited. For ticket information, email Haunted Ship October 21-31, 2011 USS ORLECK – 604 East Enterprise Boulevard For one week each year, we unlock the chambers deep within the ship and the souls and spirits that live below are allowed to frolic and frighten all who dare to enter… or try to leave. For more information, call 433-4083 or visit their website at Continued on p37


The Fast Life on Wheels


by Erin Kelly

After a bad day at work, some people like to pour a nice glass of red and sit quietly in their living rooms. Others nestle up with a good book or great movie. Some slip into a warm bubble bath or take a nice jog in the park. Janie Fuselier puts on her skates. “There’s nothing like slamming into people after you’ve had a bad day,” she says. Janie, a nurse, is a jammer for Lafitte’s Ladies, a roller derby team with the Gulf Coast Rollergirls League. As a jammer, her job is to skate her way through a pack of opposing team members whose sole purpose in life – during the jam, at least – is to prevent her from moving forward. With ten women on the circuit each wearing eight wheels and all trying to push or prevent each other from advancing in the bout, things can get ugly. Roller derby is an intense contact sport dominated by women. The highly physical sport, whose showmanship often includes elements of punk and feminism, has experienced a revival over the past six years nurtured mostly by grassroots leagues in Austin, Texas. “Once that first whistle blows, it’s go, go, go,” said Fuselier, who skates under the derby name Calamity Jane. The use of “derby names” is another common element of the sport’s tradition; self-bestowed monikers are used by skaters as well as coaches and officials. “It’s a huge stress relief to get out there and slam into people. And it’s great exercise.” Laura Martin, a.k.a. Ho E-Ramone, described the game as “empowering.” She skates for Flat Out Roller Derby, a USA Roller Sportssanctioned team based in Lake Charles.


The Flat Out Roller Derby team watch the jam. Source:

A jammer with the Flat Out team swings through the opposing pack with help from a teammate.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living

October 2011

“It teaches women that they don’t have to be weak. You can get knocked down hard and keep getting back up. I tore a disc in my back and instead of being afraid of getting out there again, I begged my doctor to let me back in the game,” she said. “I played sports as a kid, but nothing compares to this.” Derby announcer Johnny Lantham, a.k.a. Johnny New York, agreed, saying that despite years of playing and watching football, baseball and hockey, he still considers roller derby one of the most entertaining sports in America. One of the reasons roller derby is considered so entertaining is because players have to play offense and defense at the same time; team members want to help their own jammer get through so she can score points, but they also need to prevent the other team’s jammer from scoring theirs. The high-action athleticism often creates crashes and slams that result in injury. Both Flat Out and Lafitte’s Ladies have had injuries on their teams, from broken ankles to torn ACLs. “It’s full contact, 100 percent. Not for the weak or the tired,” Lantham said. “It’s kinda like ice hockey in a sense in that it can appear to be mass chaos, but there is definitely structure to it.” Flat Out Captain Courtney LeDoux said the players’ minds are constantly turning while they’re on the circuit. “Your brain never stops. You’re asking yourself, ‘How will I knock this person down and let Continued on p28

Eugene H. Robinson Pulitzer Prize Prize--Winning Columnist for The Washington Post & Analyst for MSNBC



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October 2011

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The Fast Life Continied from p27 my person through without getting knocked down myself?’” Flat Out is coached by team owner Billy “Iron Man” Doherty. Coach Richard “Diesel Burner” Pattie of Lafitte’s Ladies described roller derby as “a fast-action, hard-hitting spectator sport.” “The adrenaline is racing. It’s fun and energetic and we’re like a family. We have a good time and that’s the main thing – trying to learn, have fun and not get hurt,” he said. Lafitte’s Ladies Captain Aundria “Terry Bell Tendencies” Dickens said the roller derby track is the one place where you can truly be yourself – the good, the bad and ugly. “You never know what talent you have until you play derby,” she said. “I can’t catch or kick a ball, but I can skate and hit. It’s like embracing an inner beast that you didn’t know you had. The first time I got hit, I thought ‘Oh, it’s on now.’” The sport embraces women from all walks of life. Athletes come in all shapes, sizes and ages. The only requirement is to be able to skate on eight wheels – if you’re fast, there’s a place for you; if you’re not as fast, there’s a different place, according to Martin. “There’s no stigma,” said Alexis “Maulin’ Maggie” Berthold. “We all play off each other, sometimes when we don’t even realize it. This is a sport that the entire team has to play or it doesn’t work. You can’t have one superstar. We all have to act like a team.” Before she joined Flat Out, T.J. “Slam Her” Wells hadn’t been active since she graduated high school in 1993. She has since lost 13 pounds and gotten in touch with her inner derby girl. “I can’t imagine life without it,” she said.

The Dish on Derby Here’s how it works: Two teams of five members each skate counterclockwise on a circuit track. Each team has a scoring player known as a jammer. The other four members are blockers. Each team designates one blocker as a pivot. Pivots are allowed to become jammers in the course of play. Pivots are also charged with establishing strategy during a jam. The bout is played in two periods of 30 minutes. Points are scored during plays known as jams. Jams last up to two minutes. Jammers must pass all of the opposing team’s blockers once before points can be scored. After the jammer makes a complete pass of the opposing team, she is known as the lead jammer. After the first complete pass, the jammer gets one point for every opposing blocker she passes through the rest of the jam. She also gets a point for passing the opposing jammer. Because blockers must help their team’s jammer make it through the pack while also preventing the other jammer from passing through, they play offense and defense simultaneously. Jammers are identified by stars on their helmets. Pivots are identified by stripes.

Crashes, like this one at a recent Lafitte’s Ladies game, are common. Source: t

A referee keeps watch on a roller derby bout. Source:


Thrive Magazine for Better Living

October 2011

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October 2011

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Thrive Magazine for Better Living

October 2011

Pro-Business Louisiana Legislators Lauded at

Legis-Gator Luncheon This year’s redistricting victory for Southwest Louisiana surfaced yet again as honorees were recognized during the Sixth Annual Chamber SWLA Legis Gator Luncheon. Awards were given to legislators who fought for pro-business legislation, and the distinguished Legis Gator of the Year and Chairman’s award went to Rep. Rick Gallot of Ruston who chairs the House and Governmental Affairs Committee and U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany of Lafayette for their bold action to keep the Southwest Louisiana region whole during redistricting. “Rep. Gallot and Congressman Boustany really stuck their necks out for Southwest Louisiana when they didn’t have to,” said Chamber SWLA CEO George Swift. “It’s important for us to recognize that courage. We also honored quite a large group of legislators from across Louisiana who helped us achieve our goals at the Capitol, these relationships are vital to our success fighting for our businesses.” More than 750 attendees, including Gov. Bobby Jindal who gave a closing address, helped the Chamber SWLA honor these legislators, recapping legislative efforts undertaken in 2011. This year’s awards focused on legislators supporting pro-business legislation targeting transportation, insurance and ethics reform, workforce development and other issues the Chamber SWLA has been monitoring in Baton Rouge and Washington, D.C. This year’s Business Champions included Sens. Blade Morrish and Willie Mount, and Reps. A.B. Franklin, Chuck Kleckley and Brett Geymann, all of Lake Charles, Sen. John Smith and Rep. James Armes, both of Leesville and Rep. Michael Danahay of Sulphur. This year’s first-ever Legacy of Service Award went to State Senator Willie Mount and the Governmental Chair Award went to Representative Mike Danahay.

Congressman Charles Boustany

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Rep. Rick Gallot of Ruston was Legis Gator of the Year

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400 West Hale Street • Lake Charles


An Open Door to New Beginnings

by Erin Kelly

A solid foundation of unwavering belief is what provides the platform for The Open Door, a prison ministry program for incarcerated women in Southwest Louisiana. The ministry is upheld not only by a Christian belief, but a belief in the women themselves, many of whom have lost the faith of others long ago. The Open Door was founded by Lisa Sober and Linda Brown with direct collaboration of Chaplain Willie Brown Jr. and Connie Durio of Probation and Parole. Its goal: To minister to female offenders, ex-offenders and their families – “shepherding them in the re-entry process into society.” Through the program, a team of volunteer mentors visit female prisoners regularly to share their Christian faith and teach women how to incorporate that faith into their own lives. The Open Door walks alongside women during their incarceration and following their release; volunteers help them find jobs, shelter, clothes, counseling, church communities and educational programs that will help keep them out of prison. According to Ms. Brown, the goal of The Open Door is to provide links and programs that encourage healthy and productive lifestyles, break the cycle of recidivism and incarceration of multiple Chaplain Willie Brown Jr. generations; reduce crime as a result of these efforts and ultimately promote community safety. The Open Door is one of 22 prison ministry programs offered by the Calcasieu Parish Correctional Center, according to Chaplain Willie Brown Jr. He said the effects of these programs reach far beyond the individual being mentored. Fellow Volunteer Chaplain Steve Cox agrees. “Love is action. Love isn’t just words,” Chaplain Brown Jr. said, noting that the 32

needs of female prisoners are unique to those of men; incarcerated women are typically mothers, for example. “Women often have needs of their kids that they have to think about. When they go home, we want it to be a happy event, not a negative event. We want to help them establish a new commitment with society. We want their basic needs to be taken care of so they can meld into society. We want the kids and mother to establish a new type of ‘normal,’ until it finally gets to a point where no one has to check up on things anymore because she’s got it together.” The Open Door seeks to fill a void that often sends prisoners back into the system – a non-productive cycle known as recidivism. According to the Louisiana Department of Corrections, about 15,000 state offenders are released into Louisiana communities each year with less than twenty dollars in their pocket. Despite having a criminal record, little to no money, no transportation, no set employment and often no support system, they are expected to find gainful employment, contribute to the well-being of a family in addition to paying their post-release fees to the state, follow the law and matriculate easily and quietly back into society. Unfortunately, most prisoners find the challenge close to impossible and within five years, more than half are back in prison. According to the state DOC, people spend years, sometimes decades, shifting in an out of prison, parole and probation – at a societal and financial cost to their communities. One of the greatest challenges faced by these prisoners, according to Ms. Brown, the mentors, the chaplain and the prisoners themselves, is the stark reality that faces them on the outside. Most prisoners find themselves with nowhere to go except toward their familiar life of crime.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

October 2011

For the

“You get out and you see the same people, the same things, the same atmosphere,” said Christine, who has been incarcerated since April. “You don’t have legs to stand on, so you go back to what you know, which is what got you in trouble in the first place.” The Open Door program starts behind bars, but doesn’t end there. They mentor women for up to two years after their release. Christine participates in The Open Door program and said this is the first time she will get out of jail and have someone on the other side. “I’ll have a person there to help me. I’ve never had that before and now, by the grace of God, I will be okay.” Christine is due to have her fifth child soon and said she is determined that this will be the year she turns it all around, with the help of The Open Door. “What do I see in my future? I see my kids in my life. I see my own place. I see myself going back to do my community service the way The Open Door has done for me. This time will be different. I have someone to turn to. I have a friend and it feels good. I’m almost 34. I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to get to this point, but I’m here.” According to Ms. Brown, the program steps in when women are “in a deep time of brokenness” and shows them that there’s another way – one that includes both a Christian and personal faith so they can build on both their inner support system and the one that exists outside of themselves. “Many inmates that are released do not have an effective support system in place when they return to our community,” said Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso. “Programs like The Open Door provide the necessary support and training to released offenders in hopes that the individual will learn the necessary skills to be successful.” Jennifer, an inmate, said the program has taught her how to build her own self-esteem. “They’ve shown me that just because you’ve made mistakes in your life, that doesn’t mean it’s who you are. It doesn’t have to define you,” she said. “You don’t have to be haunted by your past.” Susan, who is incarcerated for the second time, said there aren’t many people in the world that she trusts, but she trusts the ministers of the Open Door. “They make you feel like you’re somebody, not just an inmate,” she said. As a non-profit, faith-based organization, The Open Door is constantly accepting ministry volunteers as well as donations. According to Ms. Brown, volunteers come from all walks of life, from other nonprofits to church communities. She said the success of The Open Door would not be possible without volunteers, who supply time and items – bicycles, Bibles, and bus tickets, for example – that contribute to the foundation of the program.

Forging a New Life Amanda, 34, works as a waitress in a local restaurant. An optimistic church-going young mother, she comes across as your typical thirty-something – happy and comfortable with her life, but anxiously looking forward to the future. It’s difficult to imagine that there was a time when she was anything but an average woman, but her mentor, the woman who helped get her where she is today, tells the story of a different Amanda, one who was imprisoned, pregnant, coming off a virtual lifetime of drug addiction and substance abuse and unable to sit still long enough to pray. When they met, her mentor was a volunteer with The Open Door and Amanda was a convicted felon, locked up for the eighth time and facing a federal sentence for drug possession and intent to distribute. October 2011

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By the time Amanda crossed paths with The Open Door, she had struggled through an abusive childhood with a crack-addicted father – one who encouraged her to beat her younger siblings for sport – and a mother who worked around the clock, only to see her earnings used to buy more drugs. When Amanda was 13, after years of being molested by a relative and three years drinking and drug use, she and her brothers and escaped to Lake Charles with their mother, who worked three jobs and eventually remarried as Amanda’s drug use escalated. By 14, Amanda was using regularly and by 16 she was estranged from her mother and left Lake Charles for New Orleans, where no one would take her in. Desperate, she called her father, who took her out for an evening of drinking and drug use in the French Quarter, but said he didn’t have a place for her to stay. When he tried to sell her to a dealer in exchange for drugs, she escaped yet again and befriended a man who taught her how to live on the streets. At 17, just before her stepfather died of cancer, she returned to Lake Charles and became a bartender. Her first arrest followed shortly thereafter, when she was caught selling cocaine from the bar. Over the next 12 years, her life took many turns. She married another addict, had two sons, and developed an addiction to painkillers like OxyContin and Xanax. She entered five rehabs, all with the intent to get herself clean, only to fall back again and again. After her two sons were taken out of her custody to live with her mother-in-law in Texas, the now-divorced Amanda fell into a spiral of constant drug use. When she was busted buying painkillers in the summer of 2008, she was four months pregnant with her third child and on federal probation. She was awaiting her transfer to prison when she met her mentor through the Open Door program at the Calcasieu Correctional Center. “All those other times I went to jail I knew there was a program called The Open Door that helped women get jobs and get clothing, but this time when I went in, this was the end for me. I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. I’d lost everything. I’d been in rehab five times. I had a baby on the way,” Amanda said. When the mentors, met Amanda, she was going through a “deep time of brokenness,” according to Brown. “She was an absolute wreck.” After Amanda gave birth to her baby, who was eventually taken by her mother, she knew that this time had to be different and for the first time in her life, she had real hope that it would be. “This program taught me how to live. I didn’t even know how to interact with people in a normal way because every time I interacted with people I was always on drugs,” Amanda said. “They not only taught me how to talk to people, they taught me how to talk to God. They taught me about God’s love and that He’s always standing next to me in everything I do.” According to Amanda, one of the biggest reasons convicted offenders end up back in the system is because they don’t have a system of support to help them survive on the outside. Most of Amanda’s friends were involved in the drug lifestyle or had abandoned her once she was imprisoned and she’d alienated much of her family. Most convicted felons also have trouble finding a job, Amanda said, which makes it all the more difficult to get on your feet. “A lot of times, you really want to do better, but then you go outside to reality and back to the same life you were living before. When I was in rehab I was really determined to do better, but then I got out and I wasn’t around those people anymore. The old life is just sitting there, waiting for you. 34

Financially, you have no support. Everyone’s there waiting for you to fall on your face,” Amanda said. This time, though, Amanda found a strong system of support among the women in the prison ministry. Even after she was transferred to federal prison in Bryan, Texas, volunteers with The Open Door visited her regularly. Once she was released nearly two years ago, a strong system of support was waiting for her on the other side. She moved in with her mother, who was keeping her son, and her menotor helped her find a job. Today, Amanda has a full scholarship to attend classes at Cornerstone University, an independent Christian institution located in Lake Charles, and she plans to one day mentor imprisoned women the same way the women with The Open Door mentored her. She is a full-time mother to her youngest son

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October 2011

and visits her other two sons regularly. She feels that she’s right where she needs to be. “If not for The Open Door, I wouldn’t have made it. It means everything to have people there for you who want to listen; people who won’t judge,” she said. Her mentor also feels that Amanda is right where she needs to be. “There is such a need for ex-offender mentors like Amanda. People need to see how far she’s come. Now she will do the same for other women.” For more information on The Open Door, including ways to volunteer or donate, contact Linda Brown the Director of Mentoring at theopendoorlc@ or call 337-436-6700. Names of prisoners and ex-offenders have been changed for this article.

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GET SCREENED. Did you know that

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TAKE CONTROL of your breast health and GET SCREENED today. During October, West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital is offering a on digital screening MAMMOGRAMS. Call (337) 527-4256 to schedule an appointment Monday–Friday, 8am–5pm, and on Thursdays until 7pm. Radiologists’ fees are billed separately from the hospital and are not included in the discount. Sources: American Cancer Society and

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October 2011

Spooktacular Halloween Events

Math Doesn’t Have to be

continued from p25

Halloween Bash with Ashes of Babylon October 29, 2011 – Luna Live 10:00pm-1:00am Come out and enjoy Ashes of Babylon with special guests, Cypress Rootz! Central School Halloween Spook October 31, 2011 – Central School & Humanities Center 809 Kirby Street, Lake Charles Harvest Fest 2010 – City of Lake Charles October 31, 2011 – Lake Charles Civic Center 6:00-8:00 p.m. 900 Lakeshore Drive Bring the entire family out for a fun-filled evening full of activities, games and of course, candy and prizes. Costumes are not necessary.

Trunk or Treat Event October 31, 2011 - Lake Charles Vineyard Church – 9541 Gulf Highway 6:30-8:30pm Come out in your Halloween costume and take part in our annual trunk or treat event. Trick or Treat Times: The City of Lake Charles will observe Halloween on Monday, October 31. The City recommends that trick-ortreat activities end at 8 p.m. that evening. Parents are encouraged to have their children home by dark unless they are attending a supervised function sponsored by other parents or civic organizations.

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State of the Art

T h e C o mm u n i t y Va l u e o f : by Erin Kelly



Research indicates that as early as 100,000 years ago (and perhaps much sooner) humans have been compelled to create things – ceremonial sculptures, native dances, dramatic performances, chants, drums, paintings, carvings. They honored their communities and belief systems through intricate creations that have sustained long enough to come under the study of archaeologists and provide modern man with a story of the past. Today, as art enthusiasts nationwide celebrate Arts and Humanities Month, advocates wonder what will happen to the story of the twenty-first century if the arts continue to be viewed as a dispensable investment rather than a necessary asset. The lessons learned from viewing a painting or playing piano are difficult to measure, although research continues to indicate that those lessons not only exist, they are vital forces behind the creativity and sustainability of a viable community. “Art has proven to unify people across cultural lines and it produces a tangible six-dollar return on every dollar, so there is an economic return on investing in the arts,” said Matt Young, executive director of the Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana. Theatres and museums statewide have been forced to close their doors in the wake of budget cuts, he said, and if such cuts continue, Southwest Louisiana may get hit as well. “So far we haven’t seen it in the same magnitude as other communities, but unless we continue to raise legislative awareness, we might.” The shaky economic climate of recent years has caused federal and state governments to search for ways to cut or reduce arts funding, but now is not the time, according to Kelley Saucier of the Lake Charles Civic Ballet and Lake Charles Symphony board of directors. Economic downturns aren’t the ideal time to reduce support of the arts; in fact, just the opposite is true, said Saucier, who noted that “the arts have universal appeal in times of crisis” – an opinion shared by many scholars.



According to Ellen Dissanayake of the University of Washington, human beings throughout history have turned to creativity in times of crisis, even when it seemed more logical to focus on utilitarian pursuits. Dissanayake, who specializes on the anthropological exploration of art and culture, says the arts have provided cultural and biological sustainability throughout history by reducing the damaging physical and psychological effects of stress response and instilling collective emotions of trust and belonging. Advocates for the arts maintain that the same holds true today and research indicates that they’re right. A recent study published by the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found that art therapy reduced a broad spectrum of pain, stress and anxiety symptoms in a wide range of American cancer patients. The healing power of art has been embraced by places like Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. Through its Art for the Soul program, the hospital displays a special Local arts advocates Chris Shearman, Julie Fay and Linda collection

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

Brannon at a recent protest against reduced funding for the arts.

October 2011

of regional photography, creative imagery, original oil paintings, watercolors, pen and inks and other mediums throughout the lobbies, hallways and patient care areas of the Memorial Hospital main campus on Oak Park Boulevard and Memorial Hospital for Women on West Gauthier Road.

“ The arts don’t operate in an isolated environment. It’s an industry that is essential to building of a community.” Erica McCreedy Projects director for the Arts and Humanities Council

Candice Alexander, who received the Mayor’s 2010 Artist of the Year Award, is among the local artists who donated work to Art for the Soul. “I have realized there is never enough art in the community, making it even more valuable. Art inspires people’s minds and lives,” Alexander said. “Maybe that’s why people sometimes want art. It’s something they’ve always wanted to paint. It’s a memory. A connection. Art is a gift we are all given. We need more.” According to Erica McCreedy, projects director for the Arts and Humanities Council, art is powerful for the human mind as well as the human spirit. “It has been shown to sharpen problem-solving skills and adaptability and has been used to engage learners in math, science and business,” McCreedy said. Such findings were presented at a 2009 summit hosted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. According to researchers, arts training causes dramatic changes in the brain and may even be linked to higher intelligence. Presenters at the educational summit released research indicating that the skills used to practice the arts can cross into other mental domains, positively effecting cognition, attention and IQ. Different art forms, such as music or dance, interacted with varying neural networks, but Continued on p40

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October 2011

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all networks had positive overall cognitive effects. In other words: No matter what kind of arts you’re involved in, it could make you smarter and sharper, especially if you’re young when you get started. Last year the Guggenheim presented two years’ worth of data indicating that arts education is vital in the development of problem-solving skills and creativity – two attributes which have far-reaching effects in virtually every other area of life. According to the Guggenheim, students who received art education had higher performance in the ability to revise or rethink plans when faced with challenges, reflect on work to meet intended goals and identify additional materials needed to complete projects. Young noted that in an era when arts education has dwindled to virtual extinction in many classrooms nationwide, Calcasieu Parish has increased its art specialist staff from six to 56 under the leadership of Dr. Dan Vidrine, supervisor of the Calcasieu Parish Visual Arts Program. According to Saucier, this is further evidence

which is now the center for Arts and Humanities, Saucier noted. “This area is very resourceful when it comes to the arts,” she said. “Art is very accessible here. You name it and you can get a taste of it, whether you want to go to the ballet, the symphony, look at visual arts or hear music. And you can do it all at an affordable price. This isn’t a coat and tie town. We’re a jeans and T-shirt town. But when it comes to the arts, it doesn’t matter. That’s something you don’t always get out of a big city.” Another lesson to be learned, according to Stella Miller of the Black Heritage Gallery, is that you’re involved in the arts whether you like it or not. “The music you hear in church – that’s art, too,” Miller said. “People think of ‘the arts’ and they

“ The music you hear in church – that’s art, too.” Stella Miller Black Heritage Gallery

of the area’s extended history of supporting artistic culture. In addition to maintaining art education, the local community voted on taxes to raise money to build the Lake Charles Civic Center and to save Central School,

A piece of art that hangs in Lake Charles Memorial Hospital as part of their art therapy program

Another first for

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October 2011

immediately picture things like galleries or the ballet or the symphony. They don’t think that the Zydeco concert they went to last week as art, but it is. You are involved in the arts all the time, whether you realize it or not.” Mary Richardson, director of the McNeese Banners Series, agreed. “Art isn’t just a ballerina. It’s not just what you put on walls or what you see in theatres. It’s the food and the flowers, too.” According to Alexander, the relationship of art in a community is what makes it art in the first place. “Art is in everything and is everywhere. Whether it’s the 505 Imports mural downtown, the gardener next door, the creative ways to teach math, or the science teacher who wants to build a rocket.” McCreedy described art as a renewable resource. “Whether you see the effects or not or realize the effects, they’re there. The arts don’t operate in an isolated environment. It’s an industry that is essential to building of a community. When I was in high school, I thought, ‘I can’t wait to get out of here,’ but now I’m proud to live here. The arts help develop the identity of communities and the people of Southwest Louisiana are continually realizing how much identity they have to claim,” she said.

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Center for Orthopaedics (CFO), the region’s largest musculoskeletal group, is proud to announce the opening of our third office in DeRidder. Our new office is located at 111 N. Royal Street and will make our services more conveniently accessible to patients in the DeRidder area. OUR RANGE OF SERVICES INCLUDES: Joint Replacement Surgery Knee Surgery Foot and Ankle Hip Surgery Surgery Shoulder Surgery Hand and Wrist Back and Neck Pain Surgery Spine and Neck Podiatric Medicine

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Lake Charles Office: 1747 Imperial Blvd. • Sulphur: 250 S. Beglis Pkwy., Ste. 1

October 2011

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Dr. Tim Robinson and Dr. Domingue prepare Willie for the procedure.

Local Dental Group Restores Smile for

Willie of ‘Swamp People’

“Choot’em” is not usually something you hear around a dental office, but since giving reality television star Willie Edwards the gift of a brand-new smile, Robinson Dental Group of Lake Charles has experienced “Swamp People” mania. To fans of “Swamp People,” he’s just “Willie.” On the show—as in real life—he hunts alligators with his father, Junior, in the swamps near his home in Iberville Parish. A fan favorite, 29-year-old Willie is recognizable for his signature missing front tooth. He recalls the childhood accident that created the gap in his smile: “I was about eight or nine. Me and my sister were playing in the house one night. We put towels around our heads—we were playing blindfold—and I ran into the icebox and broke the back (of the tooth) off, and after so many years it just rotted out and died.” He never received dental treatment for the injured tooth. Now, 20 years later, Robinson Dental Group has given him the opportunity to regain his full smile. “Restoring missing or damaged teeth can have a tremendously positive effect on every area of person’s life,” said Tim Robinson, DDS, a dentist at Robinson Dental Group. “We see it with our patients every day: restoring a person’s smile builds their confidence. They just feel better about themselves. We wanted to give this gift to Willie.” After some research and tracking down connections, they were able to reach Willie—and offered to restore his smile. “I was at my house one day and they called me to say they wanted to do some dental work on my mouth,” said Willie. “I always thought I was going to 42

live my life without my front tooth.” A few weeks later, this past August, Willie came to Robinson Dental Group to begin the dental implant process. “Dental implants are the closest thing to regaining the natural tooth— providing a more natural feel that not only makes a patient feel more physically at ease, but also helps them regain confidence in their smile,” says Daniel Domingue, DDS, a dentist at Robinson Dental Group. Willie has just completed the first stage of the three-stage dental implant process, which involved implanting an anchoring root into his jawbone. This anchor is made of titanium and has the appearance of a cylinder or screw. The titanium anchor bonds with the jawbone to create a root for the implant. This merger takes a few months. “Once we completed stage one, we gave Willie a removable piece to replace his tooth temporarily until we can complete the process,” says Dr. Domingue. “It has the appearance of a real tooth and will give him greater comfort while eating and speaking.” In the second stage, the dentist will remove a protective cover and replace it with an abutment, which is used to connect the anchor to the replacement tooth. Then in the final stage, the new artificial tooth will be created and connected to the abutment. Willie is planning to return to Robinson Dental Group in a few months to complete the final steps of the implant process and receive a new, permanent tooth. In the meantime, he’ll film the new season of “Swamp People” with his familiar “missing tooth” look.

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October 2011

Fans can find out more about Willie and dental implants on Robinson Dental Group’s Facebook page: or by visiting

Caring for You, As You Care forThem

As a woman, you nurture, comfort, protect, provide for, guide, discipline, delegate and advise every day. The physicians, nurses and staff of OBG-1 have provided excellence in women’s health care for over 30 years. We pledge to continue providing you with the care you need so you can continue to care for those you love. Physicians: Ben Darby, MD Scott Bergstedt, MD

Willie, before and after his procedure.

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1747 Imperial Blvd., Lake Charles (just off of Nelson, 1/2 mile south of Country Club Rd.) October 2011

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Boudin Wars, Terrance Simien at The Great Acadian Awakening! Tuesday, October 11

Get your taste buds ready to savor boudin and your dancing shoes ready for headliner, Grammy winner Terrance Simien because it’s time to celebrate! Cajun food, Boudin Wars, Terrance Simien, Bayou Roots and all things Cajun and Zydeco will be at your fingertips at the Lake Charles Civic Center as part of the Great Acadian Awakening on Tuesday, Oct. 11, a free public event. The Great Acadian Awakening is the perfect opportunity to invigorate the spirit of our heritage and connection with French speaking countries, specifically the Acadian people in Canada. The celebration starts in New Orleans, Oct. 7-8; moves to Houma, Oct. 9-10; then Lake Charles, Oct. 11-12, ending in Lafayette, Oct. 13-17. Tuesday, Oct. 11, is the day with the most activities in Lake Charles, and the public is invited to come to the Lake Charles Civic Center. The festivities start Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 10 a.m. with genealogy workshops and resources available by the Southwest Louisiana Genealogical & Historical Library. Stephen White, a genealogist and speaker from Moncton University in New Brunswick, will be the guest speaker at 2:15 p.m. on the historical perspective of the Acadians. The opening ceremonies kick off at 11 a.m. with dignitaries, a singing group from Barbe High School and the Acadiana Cowboys Band. Following the opening ceremonies, there will be a French language Cultural Coffee Corner where local French speakers can have conversations with tour groups from Canada and other French speakers from around the Continued on p46 44

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October 2011

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Terrance Simien

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514 N. Pine St., DeRidder | 463-4574 Thrive Magazine for Better Living


state, starting at 1:15 p.m. Free French lessons will also be given at that time for those who are beginners. There will be free performances by Terrance Simien with his Creole for Kidz Program as well as a musical storyteller from New Orleans on Cajun traditions, Papillion, during the day at the Rosa Hart Theatre from noon-1:30 p.m. From 4-10 p.m., art vendors and local restaurants such as 121 Artisan Bistro, Pujo St. Café, Southern Spice and Aucoin’s will have booth space in the Exhibition Hall, and there will be the famed Boudin Wars! Over the past two years, the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail has grown in popularity, and now is the chance for the stops along the trail to compete with event-goers casting their votes – to name the “Boudin Master of the Universe!” Battling it out at the Boudin Wars from 5-7 p.m. will be Famous Foods, Hollier’s, Sausage Link, Comeaux’s, Market Basket, Gills Grocery & Café, Billedeaux’s, Sonnier’s Sausage & Boudin and Kat’s Kracklins.


Other bands to perform through the day and into the evening include Lesa Cormier & the Sundown Playboys at 4 p.m., Chris Miller & Bayou Roots at 6 p.m. and Grammy Winner Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience from 8-10 p.m. A special addition to the event will be the Thomas Jefferson French Wine Tasting, with a presentation in French by Dr. Phillipe Girard with a translation performed by Adley Cormier, dressed as none other than Thomas Jefferson. One event that carries over into the next day is the 25 year anniversary premier of Belizaire the Cajun. The film will be shown on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at the Imperial Calcasieu Museum. Filmmaker Glen Pitre will introduce the film, and Michelle Benoit will be on hand to answer questions afterward. Seating is limited, and you must reserve your seat by calling the museum at 337-439-3797. For more information or a full schedule, log onto To explore the French Wine Experience, visit To participate or volunteer, contact Angie Manning-Istre,

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October 2011

Color Barriers in Vision Color Blindness More Likely to Affect Men About 7 percent of the male population cannot distinguish red from green or see shades of color differently from the rest of the population – a condition commonly known as color blindness. “People who have this condition are usually capable of seeing color, so the term ‘color blindness’ isn’t very accurate. Although there is a very small population who see no color at all, most men afflicted with color vision problems primarily have difficulty with shades and varieties of red, green and blue,” says Ophthalmologist A.J. O’Byrne, MD, with the Eye Clinic. “Many people believe that those who are color blind see swapped colors – like seeing a blue apple or a purple banana – but that isn’t the case.” Less than 1 percent of those affected by color blindness are women. It is commonly believed that the prevalence of color vision problems in men is due to a genetic error that occurs on the X chromosome, of which men have only one. According to the Hughes Medical Institute, more than 95 percent of all variations in human color vision involve the red and green receptors. When these don’t function properly, it results in color vision problems. Dr. O’Byrne explains that most color vision problems are inherited, but some are caused by aging, injury, or disease. The most common diseases to cause color vision deficiency are Parkinson’s disease, cataracts, and Kallman’s syndrome (a failure of the pituitary gland). Reduction in color vision is also a common side effect in some antiepileptic drugs. “If the condition is acquired through disease or injury, the problem can sometimes be corrected, but obviously it depends on the type of disease and injury,” he says. “Unfortunately, inherited color blindness cannot be treated or corrected.” Children afflicted with color vision problems can sometimes have difficulty with learning and reading development, explains Dr. O’Byrne. “It’s important to diagnose color vision deficiencies as early as possible so the condition can be managed.” Errors in color vision are typically diagnosed using a pseudoisochromatic plate test. The patient is asked to view an arrangement of dots and identify a pattern, such as a letter or number. The type of vision problems that is diagnosed relies on which patterns are seen and which aren’t. “Just as with most any condition, the severity of color vision problems ranges from October 2011

minor to major. In the most severe cases, a person can only interpret black, white and gray, although this is very rare.” Color vision problems can also make it difficult to drive, complete some daily tasks, and can create limitations in career choices, but Dr. O’Byrne notes that most individuals with the affliction are able to compensate well, especially if they learn ways to work around the inability to distinguish specific colors. “There are special lenses available that are designed to enhance color perception, but that may not be a viable option for everyone. It’s important to discuss this option with a qualified ophthalmologist,” Dr. O’Byrne says. Call The Eye Clinic at 478-3810 for more information on color blindness or to schedule an evaluation.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

by Kristy Armand



Straight Answers to Your Questions on Industry and the Environment

Q: A:

What products do local industries make? Is it anything I use? The industries here in Southwest Louisiana make ingredients for products that are used in travel, healthcare and around the house.

Many of the end products are easily recognizable in our everyday routines. For example, local industries produce ethylene, an ingredient in food wrap. They also produce ingredients for vinyl, widely used in the healthcare industry for things like heart catheters and IV’s. Ingredients for synthetic alcohol are produced here, resulting in hand sanitizers and liquid soaps. Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, motor oil and specialty additives are made locally, making it possible for us to travel, enjoy a day on the water or just drive across town. Local industries have a part in producing many products to enrich our quality of life.

April Joy Altazan communications specialist at local industry

Visit to learn more and submit your question about local industry and the environment.


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McNeese President Gearing Up, Not Settling In, for His Second Year by Brett Downer

Call him the top sophomore on campus: Dr. Philip C. Williams, who this semester begins his second year as president of McNeese State University. Williams, a North Carolina native, was president of the University of Montevallo in Alabama before coming to Southwest Louisiana. As second year gets under way, Thrive wondered what he might’ve learned during his first year at his new school and city. “A laundry list,” he said. “Every day I am taught something important by the folks here on campus and throughout Southwest Louisiana.” Williams shared several more of his freshman lessons: “People laugh much more readily in Southwest Louisiana than in other parts of the country. I’ve heard this referred to as ‘joie de vivre,’ but it could just be that folks are amused by the new president,” he jokes. On a more serious note, he gives accolades to longtime president Dr. Robert Hebert, his predecessor: “I inherited a well-managed university from a great president. I continue to reap the benefits from his vision and from the leadership team he hired.” He feels that the University of Louisiana System is well-managed, with institutions focused on serving the people in the respective regions – including, but not limited to, McNeese. He also credits the local legislative delegation, “almost all of whom attended McNeese (and) pull together to help McNeese and Sowela without regard to party affiliation.” His most important lesson thus far, however? “By far the most important fact that I have learned is that there is more than one way to snap the head off of a boiled crawfish. A corollary to this rule is that no one has ever gotten full eating boiled crawfish. The only way to get full is to eat the potatoes, corn, and/or dessert served along with it.” October 2011

THE YEAR AHEAD So what can students, and McNeese community at large, look forward to during this new 2011-12 academic year? “This year will be a time of town hall sessions, brainstorming, and other strategic planning input,” Williams said. “We began this process with a faculty retreat and will continue the process throughout the fall and spring semesters. It is my hope that this process will result in a strategic plan that can guide our major decisions over the next five years.” Some change is under way in concrete ways -- literally. “We will also be seeing lots of construction,” he said. “In addition to the recent completion of our new field house, everyone has been commenting on the steel girders visible across Ryan Street from the main campus.” Those girders will form the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Center, a $14 million partnership among McNeese, the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish. “The SEED Center will not only serve as the site for small business incubation and entrepreneurship, it will also serve as the hub for Chamber activities, industrial development, and academic innovation,” he said. “We are very excited about the prospect of an expanding partnership between McNeese and regional employers.” Also during this academic year, “we expect to break ground on a new park surrounding the recently dedicated statue of John McNeese and to finish renovation work on Kaufman Hall,” Williams said. “We also hope to begin work on the reconstruction of Burton Residence Hall and renovation work in various buildings across campus. This work will include making necessary improvements to accommodate students with disabilities.” Williams also hopes to begin building a parking garage by next fall. For students this year, there are “a number of new pedestrian safety features, including lower speed limits around campus, more visible signage and crosswalks, a re-engineered intersection at the corner of McNeese and

Common Streets, and increased safety education and monitoring,” he said. For faculty and staff, “I am excited that, because of a partnership with Christus St. Patrick Hospital, we are now able to offer a wellness program to our employees at no charge to them,” he said. “It is my hope that this program will result in higher productivity, reduced illness and absenteeism, and increased morale.” Williams also said he is “excited about our growing partnerships” with Sowela Technical Community College and Fort Polk.

“ There is more than one way to snap the head off of a boiled crawfish.” Dr. Philip Williams

McNeese President

e t h m e o n c e ext Super Fan! B 2 Lake Charles locations McNeese Campus ~ 475-5494 or 4314 Ryan St. ~ 475-8860

McNeese State University 2 Lake Charles locations: McNeese Campus ~ 475-5494 or 4205 Ryan St. ~ 475-8860 October 2011

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first person

First Person is a monthly Q&A that features compelling people who excel in their chosen endeavors. Ideas for future Q&As? Email



George Rodrigue

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

by Brett Downer

October 2011


is an artist among artists today -- and he grew up in south Louisiana. George Rodrigue is known the world over for his “Blue Dog” paintings, which are part of a body of work that draws from Louisiana’s vibrant, colorful and even heartbreaking streaks. Born in New Iberia, he still lives in Louisiana, where people understand that his Blue Dog paintings are only part of Rodrigue’s art enterprise. He is also the founder of the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, which encourage young artists with programs and awards. He and his wife, Wendy, also helped to keep attention on the areas hurt most by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Louisiana’s history, politics and even current events inform Rodrigue’s work. His latest exhibit is “Blue Dogs, Louisiana Governors and Russian President Gorbachev,” featuring paintings from the New Orleans Museum of Art’s permanent collection, private collectors and Rodrigue’s archives -- including paintings from the Xerox and Neiman Marcus collections, all five of his governor’s portraits and the “Saga of the Acadians” series. It can be seen at the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum in Shreveport through Dec. 30.

Your work is a huge cultural reference point for people outside our state. What do you want them to understand about Louisiana? It wasn’t until I left Louisiana and went to California for art school that I realized how different we are. Louisiana consists of a culturally mixed background. Our different forms of music and art are as varied as our food. That said, what do you want people in Louisiana to understand about themselves? People in Louisiana ought to learn more about different parts of the state and see how each section was formed by the individual historic events in those areas and offers something unique to the state. Too often, one section of the state dismisses another, when in fact it takes all of us to make Louisiana special. Your “Blue Dog” paintings are known all over the world. Any personal favorites? My favorite painting is always the one I’m working on right now.  My wife, however, does have a favorite (the “Loup-garou,” the first painting of the Blue Dog without the usual Cajun background), and she’s also fond of talking about my least favorite (a 1971 self-portait of the artist as a young man). You started painting when you were 8. Why? I had polio and was bedridden for several months. My mother brought me paint-by-number sets -- a new invention at the time. I didn’t like the pictures of Last Suppers and country lanes, however, so I turned the canvases over and painted whatever I wanted. What were the some of the first things you painted as a child? I painted monsters -- especially the Creature from the Black Lagoon -- on T-shirts for friends. I also painted monsters on their water skis -- in enamel, so it didn’t wash off. My friends in high school brought me their T-shirts, and for $5 I’d paint a monster. This is how I earned my gas money.

October 2011

In your book “Why is Blue Dog Blue?” you answer, “Look in the sky! Blue Dog is everywhere, like the sky. That’s why.” But sometimes, you paint Blue Dog in another color -- red, white, mustard, and in a Saints jersey. Why? Also, like it says in the book: I use my mood and imagination to paint the Blue Dog any color I want. Part of your studies were in California, and you maintain a second studio there -- but why does Louisiana remain your home base? Because I grew up in Louisiana and have lived here most of my life.  It’s my roots and I feel like I belong here.  All of my inspiration still comes from Louisiana. Do you paint in spurts of creativity, or as a workday routine? Although Louisiana is my inspiration, it’s ironic, because I rarely paint in New Orleans, where we live most of the year, anymore -- simply because there’s too much going on and there are too many interruptions. I do most of my painting in California, in 12- to 15-hour-a-day sessions for a month or more at once. Then I may return to Louisiana and not paint for several weeks. It’s rare that I paint only a few hours here or there. I approach each painting fresh, having no idea what I’m going to paint. Even if I know it’s going to be a Blue Dog, I want to keep things fresh in my mind as much as possible, so that I don’t have preconceived ideas and can paint something immediately on the canvas. Occasionally, I have to make exceptions, such as the works I did for Neiman Marcus or recently for the National World War II Museum, but I’m happiest when I approach my canvas without a plan. How did 9/11, Katrina and Rita influence your work? Looking back at these individual disasters, they affected me in different ways, sometimes because I was in Louisiana or outside. In all cases, I wanted to be a part of the recovery to help people get

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their lives back together. Truthfully, the real answers are too long to list. (The Sept. 11 attacks prompted “God Bless America: A Silkscreen Following 9/11. Louisiana’s twin disaster hurricane inspired “We Will Rise Again” and “Blue Dog Relief,” and his wife Wendy recently reaffirmed that support of Louisiana in a commentary for Gambit magazine.) What have been some of the successes of the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts? In our short two years we’ve given away nearly $100,000 in art scholarships, provided art supplies to schools, held art camps for both students and teachers, installed artwork in children’s hospitals, organized and offered for free dozens of nationally accredited lesson plans raised more than a million dollars for other nonprofits and visited with thousands of students. (The foundation) is the best and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life. What would you tell young people -- or adults, for that matter -- who might want to explore painting? Painting can be a hobby, a serious career, or something you do once a year. It all depends on what you want out of it. I was very serious about it from an early age and formed my career around painting things I like to capture. I will say: Most people who say they ‘want to be artists’ don’t paint nearly enough. Continued on p53



Thrive Magazine for Better Living

October 2011

first person

continued from p51

What are your interests outside of art and arts advocacy? I enjoy traveling with my wife, especially investigating other cultures around the world. We love the American West. We read art books and visit museums. We ponder the mysteries of space and the universe. For more about Rodrigue’s art, visit or To learn more about his arts advocacy efforts, visit

s n o i t a l u t a r Cong

1 1 0 2 f o s s a l Fall C Love, Joy Key Guidry, Kara Guidry (former AY President), Marissa Guidry (former KI President), and Staci Guidry (AY Panhellenic Delegate)

Dr. Andrew Foret Joins Center for Orthopaedics Center for Orthopaedics is proud to announce the addition of Dr. Andrew Foret, hand and wrist surgical specialist, to our medical staff. Dr. Foret is from Lake Charles and earned his undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and his Medical Degree from LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans. He completed a residency in general surgery at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and a fellowship in Hand Surgery at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Dr. Foret has published numerous scientific articles related to hand surgery. He is a member of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.

Dr. Foret will be seeing patients in the Lake Charles, Sulphur and DeRidder offices of Center for Orthopaedics. Call 721-7236 to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Foret Specializes In: • Forearm, wrist, and hand fractures • Hand nodules and tumors • Wrist arthroscopy • Microsurgery

October 2011

• Finger joint replacement • Carpal tunnel syndrome • Hand and wrist arthritis • Sports-related injuries

• Congenital hand conditions • Tendon, artery and nerve injuries • Dupuytren’s disease

(337) 721-7236 •

Lake Charles: 1747 Imperial Blvd. Sulphur: 250 S. Beglis Pkwy., Ste. 1 • DeRidder: 111 N. Royal St.

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A Season with the Lake Charles Civic

The Lake Charles Civic Ballet’s 2011-2012 season will open with a season sneak preview and behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming season at 5 p.m. Sunday, November 13, at the Arts and Humanities Council’s Central School Theatre. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet principal dancers of the LCCB and preview new choreography by Drew Anderson, as well as get a sneak peek of the Sleeping Beauty. The 2011-2012 is as follows:

The Sleeping Beauty with the Lake Charles Symphony March 17 & 18, 2012

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer December 8, 9 & 10, 2011

Location: Rosa Hart Theatre, Lake Charles Civic Center Saturday, December 10, 2011, Matinee 11 a.m., Gala 6 p.m. This beautiful story told through the wonder of classical dance and music is a Lake Charles tradition. Originally choreographed by artistic director emeritus and founder, Lady Leah LaFargue Hathaway, the current production is directed by Lady Holly Hathaway Kaough, artistic director of LCCB. Children of all ages will delight as they experience Santa and his elves working furiously to finish all the toys for the trip around the world and the triumph of Rudolph as he saves Christmas.

Location: Rosa Hart Theatre, Lake Charles Civic Center Gala Performance with the Lake Charles Symphony: Saturday, March 17, 2012, 7 p.m. Matinee Performance without the Symphony: Sunday, March 18, 2012, 3 p.m. In collaboration with the Lake Charles Symphony, conducted by Maestro Bohuslav Rattay, LCCB Artistic Director, Lady Holly Hathaway Kaough has interpreted the Kirov version of the ballet set to the beautiful music of Tchaikovsky. It is the classic fairy tale of the Princess Aurora, who is cursed by the jealous fairy, Carabosse. According to the curse, the beautiful Aurora will prick her finger and die by her 16th birthday. The Lilac Fairy lessens the curse, causing the castle to fall into a deep sleep. Help finally arrives when Prince Desire gives Aurora a kiss to awaken her and restore life to the castle.

the best Partner to have in the treatment of Kidney CanCer. Advanced comprehensive kidney cancer care right here in Lake Charles Using the da Vinci Si Robotic System, the CHRISTUS St. Patrick robotic surgery team offers the latest in minimally invasive technology, providing patients with the following benefits:

Urologist Farjaad Siddiq, M.D., FACS, Director of Robotic Surgery, and the robotics staff.

• Significantly less pain • Faster recovery time • Excellent cure rates compared to open surgery

To watch patient stories, visit • Call 430-3400 for a consultation • 54

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October 2011

$99 Move In Special

LCCB Spring Performance May 20, 2012 Location: Rosa Hart Theatre, Lake Charles Civic Center Sunday, May 20, 2012, 3 PM FREE to the public, Sponsored by Lake Charles Civic Ballet Students of LLL School of the Dance showcase their brilliance in ballet, tap, and jazz. Dancers of LCCB will perform select works from an extensive repertoire. A memorable event recognized by art patrons which spotlights the professional training of our area’s future artists.

Specials on 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms.

The Lake Charles Civic Ballet is supported by grants from the Louisiana State Arts Council through the Louisiana Division of the Arts, City of Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, and Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau as administered by the Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana. For Gala tickets call 474-0311 or visit

The importance of family is measured every day in a small community like ours. At Jennings American Legion Hospital, the daily health of your family isn’t just your priority – it’s ours, too. You may have to travel for some things, but quality healthcare isn’t one of them. With Jennings American Legion Hospital, the healing touch for your family is right here at home. Make an appointment today and meet our team of family physicians. Pictured from L to R: Johnny Segura, MD Christopher Achee, MD Michael Benoit, MD Mark Clawson, MD Young Kang, MD Amanda LaComb, MD Richard McGregor, MD James McNally, MD

1634 Elton Rd. • 616-7000 • October 2011

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1330 W. McNeese St. Lake Charles, LA 70605 337-214-1557


Kicking it Up a Notch: The Appeal of

Extreme Fitness by Lisa Addison

No pain, no gain! Most of us know that the way to stay fit is through proper nutrition and regular exercise. Not everyone has the focus and discipline to stick with a routine but there are some who not only stick to a routine, they take it to the next level: extreme fitness and programs that test physical endurance. What is extreme fitness? Some of the current trends, such as tire flipping, P90X workouts, boot camps, and bleacher-running are classified as extreme fitness. Many local trainers and fitness enthusiasts have engaged in every type of exercise that one could conceive of, including extreme fitness. Carl Comeaux, of LiveFit7, is one of those trainers who enjoys being on the cutting edge when fitness is involved. He’s done his share of extreme fitness pursuits including tire flipping, boot camps, obstacle courses, etc. “You know, it’s just another style of fitness,” Comeaux said. “The cool thing is that there is something in the exercise world for every person and every age. My goal is simply to transform lives. We currently have seven personal trainers and all together they serve 120 clients. But it isn’t about us being successful. It’s about helping to motivate people and that’s the part that I really love. We’re able to reach people and help them to change their lives.” Comeaux remembers being Carl Comeaux | LiveFit7 overweight at 11 years old and getting involved in an exercise and nutrition program that completely changed his life. He joined a gym at 14 and by the time he was 16, he was functioning as a personal trainer and had several clients of his own. Heavily involved in sports for most of his life, he later had a serious injury while playing high school football that ended his dreams of playing college football. That’s when he made the shift toward entering the field of personal training as a career. Comeaux has a master’s degree in exercise physiology from McNeese State University. He also has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, also from MSU. He’s a certified personal trainer and has more than seven years of experience as a health and fitness professional. “I believe that our ability to contribute and perform in our lives and realize our dreams is directly affected by our fitness level and our willingness to take action,” Comeaux said. “Be a doer. Frequently, people ask me to tell them what I think is the best work-out plan that they could do and I always tell them the same thing. The best work-out plan is the one you do on a consistent basis!” Mike VanGossen is equally positive about the attributes of physical fitness and doing some type of exercise on a regular basis. He also has experience when it comes to extreme fitness, including tire flipping. “Tire flipping is a fitness program designed to work the whole body,” he said, “The tire is the implement that we use to create resistance, use as a bridge to do pushups and other exercises on. It is also used as an obstacle to hop on, in to, and over. In any workout – home or organized – you are only limited by your imagination.” An assistant department head and instructor in the Department of Health and Human Performance at McNeese State University as well as a certified fitness and conditioning trainer, VanGossen believes some of the current trends in extreme fitness are more about changing up an exercise routine than it is 56

about taking things to the extreme. “When exercising or working on being in better shape, it’s really not about doing all kinds of crazy, whacked-out things,” he said. “It’s about not being bored and keeping things fresh so you don’t do the same thing over and over,” he said. “And, you can do extreme fitness anywhere – at home, in organized classes, at the park, and on and on.” Like so many other people these days, VanGossen finds himself doing quite the balancing act when it comes to work, family, and other demands on his time. So he doesn’t always have as much time to devote to taking on new clients or working on the personal trainer side of his life. “For the past couple of years, I’ve been focused on work and family,” he said. “But I do have a group of people (exercise enthusiasts) that has transformed into a program we call the 337 Bleacher Club. It has taken on many of the same extreme-type challenges but we use bleachers, sandbags, and many other items to get a challenging total body workout. It’s very satisfying and quite enjoyable. It’s for people like me who work indoors all day and can’t wait to get outside and be active.” VanGossen loves motivating others and helping them to find the fitness workout that fits best into their lives. But he does feel that there is one huge misconception that people have about exercise. “A lot of people seem to feel that they should already be in shape before they enter into an exercise program,” he said. “But I totally disagree. The best time to start an exercise program is today. Don’t put if off because if you do, you’ll never get there. I’ll have people tell me that they want to be in better shape before they start exercising. That’s when I’ll ask them, ‘Okay, and when will that be?’“ For more information on LiveFit7, call (337) 310-8424 and ask for the fitness center. For more information on the 337 Bleacher Club, visit the group on Facebook.

Mike VanGossen | 337 Bleacher Club

Class members run through various exercises on the bleachers.

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October 2011

Alliance/ Thrive Magazine Produce Book of Lists

Fight Like

The Southwest Louisiana Book of Lists, a comprehensive regional business directory, contains lists of the area’s leading businesses in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jeff Davis parishes, organized by category, and including key contact information and other specific company details. Containing more than 2,000 contacts, the Book of Lists is a “one-stop” business reference available to everyone in our community. The Book of Lists is a joint project between the SWLA Alliance and Thrive Magazine, and will be an essential resource for business owners and a critical economic development tool as we recruit new businesses to our region. The publication contains a wide range of information about each company – the company’s address, telephone, fax, website address, name of primary contact and number of employees, plus information specifically related to each list. “We have printed 5,000 copies of the inaugural Book of Lists, and plan to produce an updated version every 18 months. This publication will be distributed at no charge to area businesses and we’ll immediately begin including this publication in our business development efforts. When new businesses are considering or making a move to our market, they’ll now have one convenient directory resource of all area businesses that can help them succeed in Southwest Louisiana,” said SWLA Alliance President/CEO George Swift. “We didn’t want to just reprint the phone book, so we have established what we believe to be the most important criterion for inclusion in each list.” Copies of the Book of Lists are available at the Thrive and SWLA Alliance offices.

a girl

Women’s Self Defense Seminar Ladies of all ages are invited. Simple, consistent techniques that ALL women can do! Comfortable attire.

Registration fee



Friday, October 21 • Beginning at 6:30pm for socializing

ATA Black Belt Academy

4070 Nelson Road • Lake Charles RSVP with your name and age to

We offer a large variety of group fitness, weight equipment and personal training services and we’re the only are fitness center to provide: • Indoor heated pool • Dry sauna • Steam room • Whirlpool • Outdoor pool

Fall into fitness!

LA Fitness is making it easier than ever to achieve your fitness goals. We’ll help you be strong, dynamic, powerful and active. Our full-service fitness center caters to all ages and all fitness levels. So, don’t put it off any longer - now’s the time to get fit!

Call Today!


Fitness that Fits Your Life! 4324 Lake Street • Lake Charles

Join Naovwe! and S

*Alternate access to parking on Canal Street October 2011

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Weigh the Evidence When Selecting a Law Firm by Kristy Armand

When you need a lawyer, selecting the right one could be one of the most important decisions you make. After all, the very fact that a person is in need of legal representation means that the subject is a very important one, involving potentially serious consequences.

“Taking the time to find the right lawyer to meet your needs is critical,” said Samantha Hebert, director of client services with the Stockwell Sievert Law Firm. “This may sound like a simple undertaking, especially when you see the numerous media advertisements for attorneys, but finding the right lawyer and law firm to handle a particular legal matter involves looking closely at many different factors.” Mrs. Hebert joined the firm earlier this year, as part of the firm’s emphasis on staying on the cutting edge of providing excellent client service. She obtained her degree in marketing from McNeese State University. Her employment background has primarily involved working with local industry and contractors, with over twelve years of experience. Hebert also owns and continues to operate her own residential remodeling business. This range of experience has given her a good perspective on the quality of legal services that clients can and should expect.

Find a lawyer and firm that specialize in the area you need help Like doctors, the practice of law today requires lawyers to specialize. You need a lawyer who is up to date on the latest statutes, court decisions and procedural rules affecting the transaction or lawsuit to be handled. Generally, such lawyers are found in firms with other lawyers who compliment the specialty or who allow the firm to provide a wider range of services to their clients. Taking a case to trial or completing an important legal transaction often involves a team of that includes both one or more attorneys and experienced paralegals and other law office staff members. 58

Do your homework Once you find a few names of attorneys to consider for your legal needs, it’s time to find out more about them. Ask friends or acquaintances about the individual lawyer and the firm’s reputation. Review the firm’s website, if one is available. Conduct an internet search for news, recognition, and information about litigation or transactions the firm has handled. Check on their relevant experience and their reputation for handling legal matters like yours.

Meet the lawyers you are considering You should basically interview them for the job you are offering, just like any other person you would consider hiring. A personal meeting or consultation is best. Most attorneys offer free consultations. When you meet with the attorneys, ask them some of the questions discussed above regarding their areas of specialization and what experience they specifically have in the area in which you need assistance. You should also inquire about how much time they will be able to dedicate to your job and how many other cases or transactions they are handling. This will affect how well and how promptly they will be able to respond to your needs, and their ability to meet deadlines and more. An experienced lawyer should be able to give you an assessment of your legal situation, and explain to you step by step what is likely to happen throughout the course of handling the matter for you.

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October 2011

h ealt H t s ea h! is Br s Mont r e es ob Oct waren A

Understand how the fees will be structured It is important to understand the financial aspects of hiring a lawyer. Generally, a law firm will handle a business transaction on the basis of an estimated or fixed “lump sum” fee. In litigation of personal injury cases, the person filing a lawsuit as the plaintiff usually enters into a contingency fee contract, in which the lawyer’s fee will be a percentage of the recovery. In defending lawsuits, matters are usually handled on the basis of an hourly rate, subject to set budgets for completing certain stages of the litigation. Go over the proposed contract with the lawyer and get complete answers to your questions.

Choose a lawyer and law firm you can trust The leading national registry of attorneys is published by MartindaleHubbell, found at That service provides a rating of both the level of competence and the reputation for integrity. Attorneys and firms with the highest grade for competence are “A” rated; and their reputation for integrity is noted with a “V”. Accordingly, those attorneys with the highest grade in both categories are rated “A-V”. It takes many years to earn an “A” rating, so you can find many very competent attorneys who have only been practicing for 10 years or more, who are only rated “B” or “C”, and they can do a very good job for you. However, you should make sure that any such attorney still has a “V” rating. For more information on a wide variety of legal issues, visit the Stockwell Sievert website at

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our shoulders carry the weight of your world, so when you experience shoulder pain, many of the things you need and want to do are out of reach. There are many different causes for shoulder pain, and correctly identifying this is the key to successful treatment.

Join Dr. George “J.” Trappey IV, orthopaedic surgeon and shoulder specialist, at Center for Orthopaedics for a free seminar to learn more about the causes of shoulder pain and the newest treatment techniques, including non-surgical management, minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques and advanced joint replacement procedures.

Get Shoulder Smart

Tuesday, October 18 • 5:30pm Center for Orthopaedics 1747 Imperial Blvd., Lake Charles (Just off Nelson, a half-mile South of Country Club Road)

Seating is limited and pre-registration is requested.

Call 721-2903 or email to pre-register.

Dr. George “J.” Trappey, MD

Orthopaedic Surgeon

October 2011

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


Collaborative Enterprise at Work

by Brett Downer

Local businesses turn to an innovative source of help: Each other Free enterprise takes innovative forms in Southwest Louisiana -- and one of them is the way area businesses collaborate, formally or informally, with each other. These collaborations dot the local economy in all shapes and sizes. For example, petroleum giant ConocoPhillips is the half owner (with Flint Hills Resources) of a smaller refinery next door, Excel Paralubes, which produces crystal-clear specialty oil. On the other end of the spectrum are budding entrepreneurs who have complementary businesses and shared dreams -and who decide that sometimes two is better than one when it comes to, say, marketing. In the middle are perhaps the best-known examples of collaboration in the area, the Cottage Shops -- small businesses in central Lake Charles, many of them clustered in former homes. The Cottage Shops have earned designation as a cultural district, and their streets are marked with distinctive blue signs. The Cottage Shops have shared advertising, themed promotional efforts and a visible role in civic efforts over the years. Their Web site touts businesses offering a wide range of good and services: Acme Sign, Focal Point, Jon Margeaux, Honey Luv Lingerie & More, The Louisiana Market, K Fuze Salon, A Piece of Cake, Jean Lafitte’s Corner, The Perfect Gift, Odyssey Salon, Dance-NStyle, Bee-Line, Jesse’s House of Flowers and Just for Looks Salon. “Collaboration” may mean joint marketing, hand-in-hand promotions, business referrals and even a support for people whose businesses -- and business challenges -- complement each other. Dial down further, and you’ll find a newer local collaboration with an even tighter focus -- a fresh group of entrepreneurs, all women, who boost their business prospects by working with each other.


Lauren Monroe, owner of Mimosa Boutique, explained the benefits of working together. “Collaboration is great because each of us has a different customer base,” she said, pausing to assist a customer in her shop. “We bring two customer bases together. It helps people realize that they can shop locally.” She stopped again to field a request from a walk-in. Monroe told her she didn’t carry that particular item -- and cheerfully offered the name of another local shop that might. Monroe opened her business in 2010 and, soon after, collaborated with Whitney Manns, owner of WM Wardrobe Consulting. She has also collaborated with Stella & Dot Jewelry as well as Teci Culpepper of Teci’s Ladies Apparel. On Facebook, she has partnered with Treesajane’s Shoe Salon for promotions. “We can all work together and share each other’s ideas,” said Manns, who started her consulting business here in 2009. “We’re all on the same mindset, running our businesses and living our lives, so we have a lot in common with each other.” Danielle Granger, independent stylist for Stella & Dot Jewelry, is one of those businesswomen who share that wavelength. She went into business earlier this year. “One of our main goals and hurdles, is the cycle that has conditioned women and younger girls here that you had to go to Lafayette, Beaumont, Houston or Baton Rouge to get fashion and style,” Granger said. “But the truth is, you can shop locally-- and you can have style.” “We’re working to improve the shopping in Lake Charles,” said Granger. Yet another female entrepreneur, Kimberly Dellafosse of Crimson Media Enterprises, has partnered with Monroe on marketing. “Collaboration means you can match up with similar businesses that don’t (directly) compete,” she said. “In today’s economy, when you collaborate with other businesses that aren’t competitors, you can expand your message.” Collaboration doesn’t only lead to better business prospects. It has also led to an upcoming special event that draws on all these women’s talents.

“ In today’s economy, when you collaborate . . . you can expand your message.” Kimberly Dellafosse Crimson Media


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Dellafosse is a co-organizer and publicist for the Fashion Fusion Runway Show, a new event that takes place Oct. 13 at Gray Plantation. Fashion Fusion will present fall clothing and accessories in a New York-style runway setting. The fashion items will come from local merchants -- including all of the businesswomen who talked to Thrive for this story. The proceeds from the show will go to the Calcasieu Women’s Shelter.

October 2011

“They really have a desire to bring something new and fresh to the city,” Dellafosse said. “And adding the charity element makes it a win-win for business and the community.” Every element of the show, in fact -- right down to the printing and design -- is being done by women. “We really want to make this an annual event,” Dellafosse said. The fashion show will feature a 6 p.m. cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar, followed by the runway event. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. McNeese students can present their ID at Mimosa Boutique and buy an advance ticket for $8. The first 50 attendees will receive a free “look book,” featuring all of the runway offerings, from The Impressionery. For tickets or more information, call Mimosa Boutique at 564-5818 or visit

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October 2011

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First Bone Sparing Shoulder Replacement Performed at Memorial Brett Cascio, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon on staff at Memorial Hospital, recently performed the first Total Shoulder Resurfacing procedure in the South using the HemiCAP® System. He was one of the first physicians to perform the procedure in the United States. Shoulder pain and arthritis are common problems among the 40 to 65 year-old age group. The Baby Boomer population is filled with people who want to retain an active lifestyle free of joint pain and shoulder stiffness. On average, around 25,000 shoulder arthroplasties are performed around the nation each year. Over 500 shoulder arthroplasties are performed annually in the Southwest Louisiana region. “Shoulder replacement was first performed in the United States in 1950’s. Since that time, the procedure has been refined with the use of new implant materials and design, as well as improved surgical, anesthetic, and rehabilitation techniques,” says Dr. Brett Cascio. “Up until now total shoulder replacement surgery involved placing a large metal stem into the humerus (armbone) and a large plastic implant into the glenoid (socket).” A new less invasive resurfacing procedure is available and is now being performed at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital.

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A Bank for a New Generation! 62

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October 2011

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“We are now utilizing the latest technology called the HemiCAP® resurfacing shoulder system from Arthrosurface. This innovative system resurfaces the damaged joint surfaces rather than replacing the entire joint,” Dr. Cascio states. “One of the major advantages of the resurfacing system is that it takes less bone and tissue away than the old stemmed systems, so there is less pain and potentially better function.” The new system uses a 3-D mapping technology that allows the surgeon to figure out how large the defect is and what curvature the patient’s joint surface has. Because each HemiCAP® joint system has a family of implant curvatures and sizes, it allows the surgeon to essentially implant a custom device into the patient’s shoulder. “I am able to use the HemiCAP instruments to accurately reproduce the original anatomy which can help patients regain normal motion and relieve their pain,” says Dr. Cascio. “I frequently describe HemiCAP resurfacing surgery as akin to a filling for a tooth cavity versus pulling the whole tooth out.” In the past, problems with glenoid (socket) loosening occurred in many younger shoulder replacement patients. Until now, the average 40-year old patient with shoulder arthritis only got the ball replaced because, in most cases, the glenoid or cup would loosen with years of wear and tear. “The new system allows the glenoid to inset into the patient’s native bone, preserving the soft tissue, rather than removing it completely,” says Dr. Cascio. “In the end, this will allow me to clear the patient for more aggressive activities, with less concern of loosening.” For more information about the HemiCAP® resurfacing shoulder system, call Orthopaedic Specialists at (337) 494-4900 or log on to www.lcmh. com.

October 2011

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


In ancient times, people believed many events of their lives, including epidemics, were governed by the influence of the stars. That’s actually the origin of the word “influenza,” more commonly called just “the flu” today. And while most people chuckle when they hear this theory today, other myths about the flu are still all too prevalent.

Curing Flu Myths by Kristy Armand

“Misconceptions about the flu often spread more easily and quickly than the virus itself,” says Margaret Aubin, NP, with The Clinic’s Urgent Care Center, a division of Imperial Calcasieu Medical Group. “Most of these myths are based on faulty facts or only a partial understanding of information.” As we approach flu season, which typically begins in late fall and lasts through early spring, we asked Dr. Aubin to help us take a closer look at some of the most common flu myths – and give us the facts to dispel them.

Myth: The flu vaccine can give you the flu. FACT: The most common and dangerous myth about the flu is that you can get it from the flu shot, according to Dr. Aubin. “ This fear keeps many people, including some at high-risk for flu complications, from taking advantage of one of the most effective illness prevention tools we have,” says Aubin. “The flu vaccine is made with inactivated organisms, so you cannot get the flu from it.”

Myth: Only the elderly need to get vaccinated for the flu. FACT: The CDC now recommends “universal” flu vaccination in the U.S., which means that an annual flu vaccine is advised for everyone 6 months and older to expand protection against the flu to more people. Dr. Aubin says there may


be some rare exceptions for certain types of medical conditions. “If you have a concern, you should check with your doctor before getting a flu shot.”

Myth: By January, it’s too late to get the vaccine. FACT: It takes about two weeks for your body to make protective influenza antibodies. According to the CDC, the best time to get vaccinated is October or November, but getting the vaccine in December or later in the flu season will still protect you against the flu.

Myth: If you get the flu vaccine too early in the year, your protection will wear off before flu season ends. FACT: The protection from the vaccine is good for a year, so getting the vaccine anytime in the fall will provide protection well past flu season.

Myth: Getting vaccinated guarantees protection from the flu. FACT: The influenza vaccine’s effectiveness varies each year and depends on two things: the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) prediction and the strength of a person’s immune system. The CDC predicts what strains will cause the next year’s outbreak. All vaccines give some immunity to related strains, so even if

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

October 2011

you do catch the flu after getting the shot, your illness is likely to be much less severe.

Myth: There is no way for doctors to accurately diagnose the flu. FACT: There is. The rapid throat swab test is 99.9% accurate for influenza.

Myth: Take antibiotics to fight the flu. FACT: Dr. Heinen explains that antibiotics are not effective against viruses like influenza, so there is no need to take them.

Myth: There’s no treatment for the flu except rest, aspirin and lots of liquids. FACT: These may help relive flu symptoms, but newer antiviral medications are now available if treatment begins early. Dr. Aubin says many people are unaware of antivirals, which can minimize symptoms and shorten the duration of the flu in most cases if started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. The CDC also recommends that aspirin not be given to children under the age of 18, as this may cause a rare but serious illness called Reye’s syndrome. Dr. Aubin says this year’s flu vaccine is already widely available in Southwest Louisiana. “So unless you have a really good reason for not getting it, such as an allergy or pre-existing medical condition, you should seriously consider taking advantage of this simple, highly effective preventive tool.“ Flu shots are available at both locations of The Clinic’s Urgent Care Centers in Lake Charles and Moss Bluff without an appointment. Call 310-CARE for more information.

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The movers and shakers in Southwest Louisiana... Ragusa Named to Board of Directors Julie Ragusa, vice president of marketing for L’Auberge Lake Charles, has been named to the board of directors for the Lake Charles Civic Ballet. Ragusa joins the organization for a three Julie Ragusa year term. Ragusa, a Sulphur native, joined L’Auberge in 2005. She oversees the development and implementation of all property marketing, advertising, special events, promotions and entertainment in addition to the mychoice players club program. A former principal dancer with the Civic Ballet, Ragusa has had a lifelong interest in dance and the arts.

Hunter Announces Police Jury Candidacy Nicholas “Nic” Hunter has announced his candidacy for the District 5 seat on the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, which is now held by Dr. Charles Mackey. Hunter, 27, is a lifelong resident of Calcasieu Parish. He is Nic Hunter owner of Harlequin Steaks & Seafood, which he has managed full-time since the age of 17. Family & Youth Counseling Agency named him Philanthropist of the Year in 2011; the Times of Southwest Louisiana selected him as an Up and Coming Under 40 in 2009; the Association of Fundraising Professionals SWLA Chapter named him a National Philanthropy Day 2011 honoree; and the Lake Charles Mayor’s Armed Forces Committee named him “Patriot of the Year” for 2011. Hunter is a graduate of St. Louis Catholic High School and McNeese State University with a B.A. in history. He is currently working on a second degree at McNeese, a B.S. in government.

Lakeside Bank Appoints Officers Lakeside Bank in Lake Charles has named Kay Breaux and Jamie Fuselier as officers of the bank. Originally from Erath, Louisiana, Breaux has over 14 years of experience in the banking industry, working at several other financial institutions 66

before joining Lakeside. Fuselier is a Lake Charles native, and has worked in the financial field for nine years. Both Breaux and Fuselier have completed numerous banking and finance training programs throughout their careers. They joined Lakeside when it opened a year ago, making it the only new bank to open in the U.S. in 2010. Since its opening, the bank is exceeding projections, reporting a 400% growth in deposits for the first half of 2011. Lakeside’s temporary facility is located at 4735 Nelson Road, where construction on their new 6000-square-foot banking center is well underway. Completion is expected in early 2012.

CFO Welcomes New Hand and Wrist Specialist Andrew Foret, MD, hand surgeon, has joined the medical staff of Center for Orthopaedics. Dr. Foret is from Lake Charles and earned his undergraduate degree Andrew Foret, MD from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and his Medical Degree from LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans. He completed a residency in general surgery at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and a fellowship in Hand Surgery at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. During his residency, he was named Resident of the Year and was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. Dr. Foret has been involved in numerous research projects relating to hand surgery, many of which have been published. He is a member of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Dr. Foret specializes in hand and wrist surgery and treatment, including: forearm, wrist, and hand fractures; hand nodules and tumors (including ganglion cysts); wrist arthroscopy; microsurgery including nerve and artery repair; finger joint replacement; carpal tunnel syndrome (and other nerve compression syndromes); hand and wrist arthritis (including rheumatoid arthritis); tendonitis and overuse injuries; sports-related injuries to the hand and wrist; congenital hand conditions; and dupuytren’s disease. Dr. Foret will be seeing patients in the Lake Charles, Sulphur and DeRidder offices of Center for Orthopaedics. Call 721-7236 to schedule an appointment.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

Beane Named VP of DeQuincy Location Nikki Beane has been named vice president and branch manager of the DeQuincy location of City Savings Bank and Trust. Beane has worked at City Savings Bank since 1996. She recently served as Nikki Beane assistant vice president and assistant branch manager of the DeQuincy branch. Beane’s 15 years in banking has given her extensive experience in commercial lending and small business development. She is a graduate of the Louisiana State University Graduate School of Banking.

Conner Completes Community Development Institute David Conner, vice president of economic development and international services for the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, was among David Conner the 31 individuals who were awarded graduation certificates during the 25th Annual Community Development Institute Central at UCA. Conner completed all three years of the institute’s program of study. CDI trains local officials, board members, faith based affiliates, and governmental officials on how to strengthen their local economies and build communities. The complete institute experience involves a curriculum of over 100 hours with corporate, academic and governmental professionals serving as faculty.

Bordelon honored with First Lady Award Lake Charles CCA president Brett Wicke Bordelon was recently honored as the 2011 recipient of the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana’s Children First Lady Award. The award is Brett Wicke Bordelon given periodically to an outstanding individual who is making a positive difference in the lives of children in Louisiana. As an avid outdoorsman and volunteer of the Coastal October 2011

Conservation Association of Louisiana, Bordelon has worked to form a partnership between CCA and local 4-H clubs in the Lake Charles area. She recruited volunteers to dedicate their time to teach children how to identify various fish species and how to cast a line properly, while also educating them about fish tagging and research and about conserving our coastal marine resources. This model program has now been successfully expanded to other regions of the state.

Stella Named VP of Casino Operations Gary Stella will join the property of L’Auberge Casino Resort as its Vice President of Casino Operations. Stella most recently worked at the corporate level for Pinnacle Entertainment, parent Gary Stella company to L’Auberge. In his new role as vice president of casino operations for L’Auberge Lake Charles, Stella will oversee all slot, table games and Poker Room operations. With more than 20 years of experience in the gaming industry, Stella’s past experiences include Director of Table Games and Director of Casino Operations at Horseshoe Bossier City. At Harrah’s Prairie Band Casino & Resort in Mayetta, Kansas he was Director of Table Games. Gary started his career as a writer in the race and sports book at Harrah’s Reno and as a dealer before working his way up to Table Games Shift Manager at Harrah’s North Kansas City and then on to the other management positions. Stella received a bachelor of arts in business management from California Coast University in Santa Ana, California. While at Harrah’s, he was recognized with awards for customer service and leadership.

Holt Named VP of First National Bank in DeRidder First National Bank in DeRidder recently named William J. “Justin” Holt as vice president and senior lending officer. Holt was named assistant vice president in July 2009 and William J. “Justin” Holt has served as a mortgage specialist with First National Bank since July 2008. Holt, who is in his final year of study at the Graduate School of Banking at LSU in Baton Rouge, received his bachelor’s degree in management from McNeese. Holt was previously manager at Family First Mortgage Co. As senior lending officer with First National Bank in DeRidder, Holt’s responsibilities include supervision of all lending, including commercial, consumer and mortgage lending, as well as assisting bank customers with finding the right loan for their income and lifestyle. October 2011

Pickett Joins Rural Health Clinic Team at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital announces the addition of Pike Pickett, APRN, adult nurse practitioner, to its team of medical practitioners at Pike Pickett the Vinton Medical Clinic and Hackberry Rural Health Clinic. Pickett will see patients in the Vinton clinic on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays of each week. He will see patients in Hackberry on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. A native of Vinton, Pickett recently received a Master of Science degree in nursing from McNeese State University. He will join Julie Galley, CFNP, and Lance Waldemeir, CFNP, in caring for the residents of the Vinton and Hackberry communities. Pickett is a resident of Sulphur and is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the Louisiana Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Finchum Joins Allstate Insurances Company Allstate Insurance Company announces Misty Rutherford Finchum as their new exclusive insurance agent in Iowa. She owns and operates the full-service agency offering a complete line of products Misty Rutherford Finchum and services, including auto, property, commercial and life insurance, longterm care and annuities. A graduate of McNeese State University and a native of DeRidder, Finchum currently serves as Board member of the West Calcasieu Association of Commerce, Executive Secretary and Charter Member of the Lake Charles Elite Lions Club, Board Member of the Krewe de la Louisiane and member of the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society. The Misty Finchum Agency is located at 401 S. Thomson Ave. For more information, visit MISTYFINCHUM or call (337) 582-1555.

Brad W. LeBert, MD, Opens Southwest Louisiana Ear, Nose and Throat Lake Charles Memorial Hospital welcomes otolaryngologist Brad W. LeBert, MD, and his practice, Southwest Louisiana Ear, Nose and Throat, located Brad W. LeBert, MD at 1890 W. Gauthier Road, Suite 205. Dr. LeBert will begin seeing patients on September 26. Continued on p68 Thrive Magazine for Better Living


A Lake Charles native, Dr. LeBert graduated magna cum laude from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge with a degree in Zoology, and a minor in Psychology. He then went on to earn his medical degree from LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans, where he also completed his residency in Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck surgery. Dr. LeBert is a member of the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Otolaryngology. He has also published research and given national presentations on a variety of ear, nose and throat topics; including speech restoration after laryngectomy and branchial cleft cyst removal. Dr. LeBert provides comprehensive care in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of ear, nose and throat conditions. These include, but are not limited to sinus disease, tinnitus, ear infections, tonsilar conditions, as well as facial reconstruction. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call Southwest Louisiana Ear, Nose and Throat at (337) 480-5595.

Katie Henning Selected to Louisiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council Katie Henning, a junior at Alfred M. Barbe High School, has been selected as a new member of the Louisiana Legislative Left to Right, Rep. Mike Danahay, Sen. Willie Mount, Katie Youth Advisory Council Henning, Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish, and Lieutenant Governor (LYAC). The council is a Jay Dardenne yearly-appointed body composed entirely of students that addresses issues affecting the youth of Louisiana and is overseen by the Louisiana Commission on Civic Education. Now in its fourth year, LYAC facilitates the communication between youth and the legislature and gives students the unique opportunity to be involved in the workings of state government. Members of the council are selected from a wide pool of applicants from around the state who display a strong interest in civic involvement. Two student members serve from each of the congressional districts (14 members) and seven (7) additional youth members are designated by and represent a school-sponsored or community service club or organization which has a civic mission. Henning is a member of the soccer, golf, cross country, and track teams at Barbe. She also plays on a Division 1 tournament soccer team that advanced to the state finals this past Spring. She is a member of the Mu Alpha Theta Math Club, International Club, Team Green of Southwest Louisiana, and is a Student Council officer.

outdoors. We want to leave them with a legacy of faith and integrity. I wrote the book for them, but I’m honored to have been invited to the Book Festival and for the book to be so well received.” The book is available online at, $15 for paperback and $25 for hard cover. The Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge will be held on October 29, with over 25,000 expected to attend. Louisiana Public Broadcasting will record programming for Louisiana Book Talks, airing later on LPB. Hennigan is available as a speaker for meetings and socials, as well as book signings. Contact Stephanie Young-Ryder at (337) 540-2788.

Paula Mosca Gillard Inducted as Arts Council President The Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana is proud to announce that Paula Mosca Gillard of Lake Charles was appointed as its Board President for 2011 to 2012 during its annual meeting on September 20th. Gillard manages the City of Lake Charles Print Shop and is married to Karl Gillard. A new Arts Council Executive Committee was also inducted with Jason Martinez (Iberia Bank) as First Vice Paula Mosca Gillard President, Mindy Schwarzauer (The O’Carroll Group) as Second Vice President, Amanda White (SWLA Economic Chamber Alliance) as Treasurer, and Sally Cappel (artist) as Secretary. The Board of Directors also approved the initiation of twelve new members: James Babin (ASI Office Systems), Jason Barnes (Calcasieu Parish Police Jury), John Boykin (self), Jessilyn Burge (L’auberge du Lac), Mary Donaldson (artist), Katie Harrington (Sleep Disorder Center of Louisiana), Jordan LeLeux (Bolton Ford), Shonda Manuel (Healthy Image Marketing Agency), Chantelle Richardson (City of Lake Charles, Americorp), Tom Shea (The Sanchez Law Firm), Sharon Steinman (former symphony president), and Mia Vick (McFatter Insurance).

Local Author Invited to Louisiana Book Festival A local author’s book has been selected for the Louisiana Book Festival to be held this October in Baton Rouge. Rodney Hennigan, a resident of Westlake, wrote My Father’s Gift: A Louisiana Outdoor Legacy as a tribute to his seven sons. Hennigan has also been invited to sit on a panel at the festival to discuss the book and the reason he chose to self-publish. After the discussion, he will sign books in the Barnes & Noble Rodney Hennigan tent. This is Hennigan’s first book. Hennigan is an avid outdoorsman; the book weaves together some of the adventures they’ve shared as a family. “The book is full of local references; in fact, one of the main stories is about our experience with the Light Up the Lake holiday boat parade,” said Hennigan. “Our homemade canoe caught everyone’s attention!” He said writing the book was one of the ways he wanted to teach his sons valuable life lessons. “My wife and I are raising our sons to have strong moral character and to be good stewards of the great 68

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October 2011

DON’T MISS EVENTS! Goo Goo Dolls at L’Auberge The alternative rock band The Goo Goo Dolls will perform in the L’Auberge Event Center at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 29. Tickets are priced at $55. Please note this show is general admission; standing room only. Show tickets can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 488-5252 or online at Guests must be 21 years of age and present a valid photo ID. For more information log on to .

Lawrence to Serve as Keynote Speaker at Women’s Conference

This year’s keynote speaker at the Women’s Commission of Southwest Louisiana annual Women’s Conference on Thursday, Oct. 20, is the multitalented Vickie Lawrence. From 1965 to 1967, Lawrence sang with the Young Americans musical group and also appeared in the feature film “The Young Americans” winner of an Academy Award for Best Documentary. During her senior year of high school, Lawrence sent Carol Burnett a letter which included a local newspaper article mentioning their resemblance and invited Burnett to the local fire department’s “Miss Fireball Contest” in which she was performing. Burnett, looking for an actress to play her kid sister on her new variety series, contacted Lawrence, who went on to spend 11 years on the Carol Burnett Show, for which she earned one Emmy and five Emmy nominations. After the Burnett show ended, Vicki went on to star in her own TV series, “Mama’s Family” with Ken Berry, Dorothy Lyman, Beverly Archer, and Allan Kayser. The last original episode was made in January of 1990, completing five years of first-run syndication. For more conference details, visit or email . Continued on p71

October 2011

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When it comes to your health, useful information is what you need. KPLC 7News is here to help with our Healthcast Report. Get the latest medical news and see medical breakthroughs happening right here in Southwest Louisiana. The KPLC 7News Healthcast Report airs weekdays at 10 p.m. Here’s a recap of some of the most recent health news stories we’ve reported.

Be Sweet To Your Feet Feet bear the brunt of the body’s weight and shoes on those feet can make a big difference in comfort. The problem is shoe stores feature so many options that it can be confusing and buying the wrong athletic shoe could cause injury. “Certain types of shoes can cause things like that and certain types of shoes can help them,” said Dr. Tyson Green, foot and ankle specialist at the Center for Orthopedics. He said many people often buy the best looking shoes over the most functional. “You’re strictly buying it based on looks...You’ve got to look at it as a medical purchase,” explained Dr. Green. Specialty running store Tri-Running in Lake Charles puts shoppers through tests like squats and knee bends to find what shoe will work best. “Sometimes we have like 120 lb woman walk in who’s training for her first marathon and sometimes we have Ma-Ma who just had bunion surgery,” said Aaron Lasher, Tri-Running employee. Dr. Green said no matter your fitness level, “I usually recommend a running shoe because it breathes easy and its built better” He added the cushion inside the shoe is paramount to the comfort and functionality. “If the foam cushion is going to give under your fingertips then that’s definitely going to give under your body weight,” said Dr. Green. A neutral foot, the most common type, has a medium height arch and needs only minimal support, while a person with flat feet will need extra arch support. Dr. Green recommends sole inserts to supplement the cushion the shoe already has inside. The there is the new trend: barefoot technology. The shoes that hug the contours of feet and surround individual toes, but Dr. Green said these shoes lack traditional support. “I can tell you I’ve seen more stress fractures and more problems since the barefoot technology has come out,” said Dr. Green. He thinks many barefoot users are not slowly adjusting to the shoe, and consequently hurting themselves. For more on how to choose the right shoe, Dr. Green is hosting a seminar with the owner of Tri-Running Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at the Center for Orthopedics. The event starts at 5:30pm. Call (337) 721-2903 to register.


Experts: 366 Million People Now Have Diabetes

People Sweat At Different Rates

An estimated 366 million people worldwide now suffer from diabetes and the global epidemic is getting worse, health officials said Tuesday.

The hot and humid weather is keeping most people perspiring, but doctors said it’s good to sweat because it keeps people healthy.

The International Diabetes Federation described the number of cases as “staggering,” with one person dying from diabetes every seven seconds. The federation called for concrete measures to stop the epidemic, urging officials focusing on chronic diseases at a United Nations meeting next week to commit to specific targets to prevent cases and to invest in more research. Experts also said diabetes care should be integrated into local health clinics.

Catherine Lowry believes in exercise, yet even though she works hard enough to sweat she doesn’t, which can lead to problems. “It’s the after affect, I never quiet cool down, a headache will set in and I feel like I have the flu,” Lowry said.

“The clock is ticking for the world’s leaders,” Jean Claude Mbanya, the group’s president, said in a statement. “We expect action from their meeting next week at the United Nations that will halt diabetes’ relentlessly upwards trajectory.” The figures were announced in Lisbon, Portugal, during the European meeting of the group, an umbrella organization that represents associations from more than 160 countries. It estimated that diabetes causes 4.6 million deaths every year and that health systems spend $465 billion annually fighting the disease. That includes both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes mainly affects children and young adults, who are unable to make insulin. Type 2 diabetes is more common and is often tied to obesity. It develops when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to break down glucose, inflating blood sugar levels. The disease can be managed with diet, exercise and medication but chronically high blood sugar levels causes nerve damage, which can result in kidney disease, blindness and amputation. In June, a study published in the medical journal Lancet estimated the global number of diabetes had more than doubled in the last three decades and put the figure at 347 million.

Sweating maintains body’s temperature by cooling it down. When you’re hot and you sweat, moisture evaporates and cools off the body. Not sweating can cause overheating.”There can be complications with heat stroke, heat exhaustion, mind doesn’t tend to work very well, kidneys can suffer, various other things,” said Dr. David Hansen with Foxhall Internists. Not everyone sweats the same way. Men sweat more than women because females sweat at a higher temperature, causing less perspiration. And people who are overweight sweat more, because fat acts as an insulator that raises the temperature in the body. Some people, like Lowry, sweat very little, which is called hypohidrosis, and those who sweat excessively, have a condition known as hyperhidrosis. “People who sweat excessively, tend not to have significant medical issues, it’s more of a cosmetic issue for many,” Hansen said. Because Lowry doesn’t sweat, she needs to work out indoors during the summer months and exercise outdoors only in the cooler temperatures. “I basically give up running in the summer, it ruins my day,” she said. To learn more about these stories and more, visit us on the web at and tune into KPLC 7News daily for the latest news, weather, sports and health reports. You can also stay connected 24/7 on your mobile device at

Experts said much of the rise in diabetes cases was due to aging populations - since diabetes typically hits in middle age - and population growth, but that obesity rates had also fueled the disease’s spread.

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October 2011

CNN Money Names Lake Charles One of the

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OLQH Heavenly Jazz Fest Weekend Our Lady Queen of Heaven School will hold its Heavenly Jazz Fest Auction on October 14 in the Family Life Center gym. Doors will open at 6pm with the silent auction followed by the live auction beginning at 7:30pm. Tickets are $55 and will include a jazz-themed dinner, drinks and dessert. A jazz band will play live during the silent auction. The live auction will feature Hall McMillin as auctioneer, assisted by Monsignor James Gaddy. For tickets, contact Chauntel Mathieu at 274-2214 or Alicia Williams at 302-4026. The 2011 Queen of Heaven School Carnival will be Sunday, October 16 from 10am – 4pm. Live entertainment includes the St. Louis Show Choir, game booths for kids of all ages, Club Baron with makeovers, Tiny Town for the younger kids to play games and activities along with the Petting Zoo. BBQ chicken dinners, hamburgers and funnel cakes will be available. The carnival will also feature the Green Room, filled with fall flowers and plants for sale, the Heavenly Pumpkin Patch and the Spirit Store with OLQH items. For more information, call Lillian Lundy at 794-1765.

Top 25 Places to Retire

Leisure time in Lake Charles largely revolves around its eponymous lake, which boasts a sandy beach and waterfront promenade. Throughout the year, the lake is the backdrop for boat parades, firework displays, and festivals celebrating everything from Cajun culture to pirate lore. (The city hosts more than 75 festivals each year.) Lake Charles is also a regional hub for retailers, academia, medical care and the arts. McNeese State University’s “leisure learning” program offers classes and lectures in everything from cooking dim sum to writing short stories. The university’s new $16 million Shearman Fine Arts Building, meanwhile, is a notable addition to Lake Charles’ robust performing arts community, which includes a symphony, civic ballet, and children’s theater company, to name a few. What’s not to like? The city is 30 miles upriver from the Gulf of Mexico, making it vulnerable to hurricanes and floods. Source CNN Money

October 2011

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All you need to know to stay in the know! Chamber/Southwest Receives Chamber of the Year Award

in a variety of community service events. The company has about 2,500 employees and produces almost 12 billion pounds of products annually, generating $3.2 billion of revenue in 2010. Locally, Westlake began operations in 1986. The Westlake Chemicals Sulphur - Lake Charles Complex has over 600 employees and contractors.

WCCH Awarded Gold Level by AHA

L to R: Amanda White, Communications Director; Paula Ramsey, VP, Chamber Operations; George Swift; and Avon Knowlton, Director of Membership & Investor Services

The Chamber SWLA recently won the Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executive’s Large Chamber of the Year. The award recognizes the organization’s regional economic development efforts such as the Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development Center, which is currently under construction across from McNeese. Earlier this year, the Chamber was recognized as one of the Top Economic Development Groups in the Nation (Site Selection Magazine), as one of the Top Ten Notable Collective Economic Development Efforts in the South (Southern Business & Development Magazine), and the region has been acknowledged as the 2010 Top Metro and the 2011 Top Mid-Market Metro of the Year. Pictured: Amanda White, Communications Director; Paula Ramsey, VP, Chamber Operations; George Swift; and Avon Knowlton, Director of Membership & Investor Services.

City Receives Achievement Award The City of Lake Charles was recently awarded the 2010 Community Achievement Award at the Louisiana Municipal Association’s 74th annual convention held at the Shreveport Convention Center. The City of Lake Charles won the award for its Lakefront Promenade and Bord du Lac Marina under the category of Economic Development and population group 25,001 and over. The LMA’s annual awards program recognizes municipalities for outstanding achievement in basic services, community development, and economic development.

The American Heart Association recognized West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital as a Gold Level Start! Fit-Friendly Company at its Annual Southwest Louisiana Heart Walk Kickoff luncheon. WCCH was recognized for its efforts at promoting physical activity and health in the workplace. Start! FitFriendly Companies reach gold-level status by implementing various activities and programs to encourage physical activity, nutrition and culture enhancements such as on-site walking routes, healthy food choices in cafeterias and vending machines, annual employee health risk assessments and online tracking tools.

Center for Orthopaedics Opens DeRidder Office Center for Orthopaedics (CFO) has announced the opening of a third office in DeRidder at 111 North Royal Street. CFO is the region’s largest musculoskeletal group, offering a comprehensive range of services, including general orthopaedics, arthroscopic surgery, joint replacement, sports medicine, back pain, and physical medicine and rehabilitation. The 10 doctors on the group’s medical staff specialize in various areas of musculoskeletal care, including knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, spine, foot, ankle, hand and wrist. Center for Orthopaedics has been in operation for 17 years. The main office is located in Lake Charles, with an additional satellite office in Sulphur. The medical staff includes Dr. James Perry, Dr. John Noble Jr., Dr. Geoffrey Collins, Dr. Craig Morton, Dr. Tyson Green, Dr. Steven Hale, Dr. George “J.” Trappey IV, Dr. Bill Lowry Jr., Dr. David Drez Jr., and Dr. Andrew Foret. Appointments can be scheduled at the new DeRidder office by calling (337) 721-7236.

Nominees Sought for Hector San Miguel Award

Westlake Chemical Celebrates 25 Years of Excellence Westlake Chemical Corporation, the Houstonbased international manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals, polymers and building products, recently recognized 25 years of business. Each company held a series of events, including a “Westlake Service Day” where employees volunteer 72

Hector San Miguel

The Hector San Miguel Memorial Fund is now seeking nominations for the second annual award to be bestowed in the former American Press reporter’s honor. Thrive Magazine for Better Living

In partnership with the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana, the goal is to bestow an annual award stipend for a recipient selected by the fund’s advisory board. The Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization that assists donors and philanthropists with their charitable giving, holds the fund in a field of interest endowment. Recipients must meet the following criteria: Outstanding achievement in journalism and/or relentless pursuit of the truth; Must live in the fiveparish region or their work shall have impacted Southwest Louisiana; Must be nominated in writing no later than October 15. Written nominations, including a brief description of the candidates’ work, can be mailed to the attention of the Hector San Miguel Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana, PO Box 3125, Lake Charles, Louisiana 70602, sent via fax to 491-6710 or emailed to

Merger of Family Auto & Quik Lube Randy Billedeaux has announced the merging of Family Auto Repair and Family Quik Lube at 6435 Common Street. The staff can handle mechanical and A/C repairs as well as oil and lube needs. For more information, call 477-5367.

Special Art Pieces Donated to Memorial Hospital

L to R: David Berryhill, owner of Signs Now; Psychiatrist, Dr. Dale Archer; Misty Kelly, Director of the LCMH Psychiatric Services Department and Michelle Hall, Psychiatric Services Unit Coordinator.

Psychiatric Services Department Specialized art pieces are now on permanent display in the Lake Charles Memorial Hospital Inpatient Psychiatric Unit, thanks to the owners of Signs Now, a Lake Charles company specializing in computer-designed signs, and Dale Archer, M.D., local psychiatrist with the Institute for Neuropsychiatry and member of the Memorial Hospital Medical Staff. The art project, valued at over $3,000, features seven panels of gorgeous scenic photography. The pieces are made of vinyl and look as though they are professionally framed. The project is part of the hospital’s Art for the Soul program. “Before now, due to safety precautions, we October 2011

were unable to place framed art pieces within the inpatient psychiatric patient care area,” says Leif Pedersen, Senior Vice President of Philanthropy. “Signs Now, along with Dr. Dale Archer, came up with a secure and harmless alternative. Thanks to their generous contributions and hard work, this project is now a reality.”

Local Refinery Celebrates Esteemed OSHA Recognition The ConocoPhillips Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex celebrated its recent certification as a Star Worksite by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as part of its Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) at a ceremony held Wednesday, September 7th at the refinery. The VPP Star flag and sign were unveiled immediately following the ceremony. “I am proud of our employees’ dedication to safe and reliable operations,” said Willie A. Tempton, Jr., LCMC manager. “Achieving VPP Star status is the culmination of an ongoing partnership between refinery management and labor working cooperatively and proactively with OSHA to prevent employee injuries and illness.” The LCMC joins more than 20 other ConocoPhillips sites as a recipient of OSHA’s prestigious VPP Star status.The VPP was created in 1982 to encourage industrial facilities to strive for safety excellence. VPP sites have shown their commitment to employee protection extends beyond the OSHA standards. Companies whose worksites achieve the VPP Star Award demonstrate injury and illness rates at or below the national average of their competitors.

Hospital Foundation Receives Grant from Cameron LNG

L to R: Debby Nabours, WCCH Foundation director; Bill Hankins, WCCH CEO; Melissa Portie, Cameron LNG human resources and community relations manager; and Sondra Moss, WCCH Foundation president.

Cameron LNG awarded the Foundation of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital (WCCH) with a $7500 grant for the provision of numerous health programs and services for the residents of October 2011

Southwest Louisiana. The grant will be used for community health programs, such as an annual community health fair, free flu shot clinics at the Hackberry Rural Health Clinic for Cameron parish residents, the Santa Fun Run and Camp Smiling F.A.C.E.S., a camp for special needs children in the area. For more information on the activities funded by the grant or to donate to the WCCH Foundation, contact Debby Nabours at (337) 527-4144.

Developer Expands Healthy Community Concept for Nelson Road Imperial Pointe As part of the Lafayette-based Derek Development’s plans to make its recently announced $200 million development Imperial Pointe off Nelson Road a “healthy community,” its President, Roland “Rocky” Robin has released details about the fitness and wellness center that will be included as part of the overall development. According to Robin, “In a first-class development like this that includes hospitals, medical offices, surgical buildings, office parks, residences, assistedliving facilities, retail outlets and restaurants; it is just a good business decision to integrate these living components with a center that includes all the amenities that focus on healthy living.” Robin adds, “This fitness and wellness facility will provide the perfect opportunity for residents and patients to have convenient, walking-distance access to a state-of-the-art, comprehensive facility. This will be a family-friendly fitness center, offering classes, fitness equipment, aquatics, rehabilitation services, sports enhancement programs, spa services, wellness counseling, retail and a healthy choice café. It will give Imperial Pointe a strong purpose of place and quality of life, creating a synergistic hub for the community.” Robin sees the fitness and wellness center supporting the strong youth sports and athletic programs in this region, offering speed and agility training, swing mechanics for golf and baseball, techniques for soccer and other sports and executive wellness programs. Plans are being made for a two-story facility encompassing approximately 60,000 square feet. It will be located between the surgical and rehab hospitals and the Town Thrive Magazine for Better Living

Center, and will be an integral focal point of the development. Construction on the fitness and wellness facility is scheduled to begin within six months and with an estimated completion timeline of 12 to 14 months.

Memorial Hospital Introduces Hip Center of Louisiana Lake Charles Memorial Hospital is introducing the Hip Center of Louisiana. Under the direction of orthopaedic surgeons Nathan Cohen, MD, and Brett Cascio, MD, and orthopaedic trauma specialist Thomas W. Axelrad, MD, PhD, the Hip Center of Louisiana will offer expert, innovative treatment options to patients who suffer from hip and groin pain. Many hip problems are treatable without surgical intervention, and the physicians at the Hip Center of Louisiana believe that surgery should be reserved as a last resort for patients when all other measures have been unsuccessful in returning the patient to an active lifestyle. Certain emerging nonsurgical treatments employed by the Hip Center physicians, such as Platelet-rich Plasma therapy and Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate, belong to a newer branch of medicine called Orthobiologics, which follows the philosophy of merging new technologies with the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Continued on p75


Best Impressions

Modern Day Manners & Everyday Etiquette by Rose Klein

Q: My grandmother and I are 55 years apart in age. We have very different opinions about etiquette. She tells me I am supposed to write a thank you note to everyone who gave me a baby shower gift including those who attended the shower. I say that I thanked those who attended the party personally so no note is needed. Which is correct? A: In many instances there will be the “old school of thought” and the more contemporary school of thought. I must confess that I agree with your grandmother. I once heard of a shower where the hostess passed out envelopes and asked each attendee to address the envelope to themselves – one less step for the honoree. If your friends and family go to the trouble and expense of selecting an appropriate gift for you and your child, then a handwritten thank you note is not too much to ask.


Solutions for Life Solutions Employee Assistance Program from

by Keri Forbess-McCorquodale, MS, LPC, LMFT, CEAP

Diversify your Thinking I’ve been doing a lot of training lately on harassment issues – diversity, sexual harassment, bullying, etc. This training is some of my favorite because I get to gently challenge the way many people have been thinking all their lives. Today I’d like to tackle the issue of diversity. First, we must understand that we are all racist, genderist, ageist, etc. to some degree. Whenever I hear people say, “I don’t see color,” I know they are lying to themselves and everyone around them. It’s impossible not to see color, gender, age, physical challenges, and/or sexual orientation and not have some emotion connected to it. The trick is acknowledging it and overcoming it. When doing my research for the harassment workshops, I came across one of the most helpful words – ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is the tendency we have to make whatever group we are a part of be the best in our minds. We always want to be on the winning team! So, whether we’re talking about race, age, gender, etc – we think that whatever we are is best. It’s really a survival skill. If we thought we were “less than” all the time, we would soon give up. So, it’s understandable. It’s just not realistic. And it’s problematic in that it does not leave room for other groups to feel good about themselves. So, it becomes a matter of us all fighting to be “number 1.” And if there is only room for one winner, then everyone else must be losers. No one wants to be a loser! So, how can we all win at this diversity thing? I have some suggestions: • Take a look at history. Exclusion is nothing new. The Bible tells of scholars who shunned tax collectors. In Medieval times left-handed people were thought to be evil (and some of you may have been forced to write with your right hand even though it felt unnatural). Many groups from different ethnic backgrounds were thought to be unteachable. How ridiculous it all seems now! • Take a look at your personal past. How were people “different” from you and your family viewed? Were they talked about? Was it in a positive or negative light? Who was invited to your house? Was it unspoken but clear that only people who looked like you could come over?


I have a friend who is physically challenged. She has spent most of her life in a wheel chair. When we talk of her childhood, many of her memories are very sad. She remembers everyone being so nice to her at school, but never once was she invited to birthday parties or over to someone’s house to play. Her invitations to do the same were never accepted. • Take a look at your current life. Who is in it? Who is clearly not included? Who do you keep on the perimeter, and who is truly a part of the discussion? Oh, you’re nice to everyone and say “Hi” to all, but who do you choose to let in a little deeper (and what do you base it on)? Acknowledge that this is an area you need to work on, and begin to make conscious changes. One of my favorite billboards was one that simply said, “He’s a well-spoken black man.” The word “black” was marked through. It really made me think about how many times I attach a characteristic of no importance to a description of someone. Following this logic, “He’s a well spoken black man,” becomes “He’s a well spoken man,” which becomes, “He’s well spoken.” I challenge you to begin looking at how often you let characteristics skew your view of others. • Take a look at your business life. Do you treat people differently based on gender, color, age, etc? Do you assume that one gender can grasp whatever you’re speaking about more easily than another? Do you assume that the young person with tattoos and piercings can’t possibly have an intelligent conversation? Are people who are different from you truly included in discussions? Do they have a place at the table where their voices are genuinely acknowledged? The issue at hand is learning to accept each person as an individual without making assumptions based on characteristics. How can skin color make you smarter or dumber? About the same way that eye color can; not at all.

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October 2011

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In some cases, surgical intervention is still necessary, and the physicians at the Hip Center of Louisiana are specialized in various types of surgical procedures of the hip. Hip Center of Louisiana provides a full continuum of care for hip injuries and conditions from state of the art surgical and non-surgical treatments, to rehabilitation under the direction of Dr. Michael Lane, a board certified physiatrist on staff at Memorial Hospital and founder of the Rehabilitation Institute of SWLA. For more information on the physicians or treatment options available at Hip Center of Louisiana call 800-530-7733 or visit

Discounted Mammograms Offered in October West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital is offering twenty percent off digital screening mammograms during October, the month recognized nationally as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Appointments are required and can be made by calling (337) 527-4256. Appointments are available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., and on Thursday from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. The discount is applied to hospital charges and does not include radiologists’ fees, which are billed separately.

Sasol Brings Major Project to Southwest Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sasol New Business Development Managing Director Ernst Oberholster recently announced the South African company has selected Calcasieu Parish for a planned gas-to-liquids (GTL) facility. The project is slated to be the first plant in the U.S. to produce GTL transportation fuels and other products. Oberholster said, “We believe Sasol’s proprietary GTL technology can help unlock the potential of Louisiana’s clean and abundant natural gas resources and contribute to an affordable, reliable and high quality fuel supply for the United States. GTL fuels are an important part of the energy mix because they can advance energy independence in a way that is both cost-efficient and environmentally friendly.” In addition, unlike other proposed alternatives to conventional petroleum-based fuels, GTL fuel is used in existing vehicles and fuel delivery infrastructure without modifications. Sasol will embark on a feasibility study to evaluate the viability of a GTL venture in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, over the next 18 months. The feasibility study will consider two options of a two million tons per annum and a four million tons per annum facility. The project could create up to 850 permanent positions and up to approximately 5,500 jobs during peak construction periods.

It takes energy to prepare for a journey. I haven’t traveled as much as I’d like, but I’ve been to a few interesting places. I’ve ridden Jeepneys in the Philippines, swam in the cool waters of Belize, traipsed to waterfalls in Costa Rica, looked for ghosts in the Lizzie Borden house in Massachusetts, peered off the edge of the Empire State Building, eaten a sword fish in Providence. This month, I will take another journey to the northeast as I accept a two-week stay at the Martha’s Vineyard Writer’s Residency, which is designed to give writers and poets a quiet getaway so they can create masterpieces in the inspiring atmosphere of Cape Cod. I will take this two-week vacation with an often-moody, somewhat cynical, sometimes optimistic, cautiously cheery and potentially creative person who has been known to irritate me on a regular basis: Myself. To prepare for this journey, I found a big suitcase and packed it with all the items that help me operate in a world away from my rambunctious dog, teenage daughter and nine-to-five job. I’ve never been to “the Cape,” as the New Englanders call it, and have no idea what to expect. Martha’s Vineyard has never been more than a lighthouse on a postcard to me, but I anticipate that the scenery will make me forget about swamps and bayous for a while. Most of August and September were spent planning for this trip – figuring out what to wear, how much money to bring, what to take and what to leave, how I will get from the airport to the island, where to go once I’m on the island, what is permitted on planes and what is not. October 2011

The Last Word

by Erin K When I prepare for trips, I utilize elly handy checklists to make sure I’ve got everything in order. I don’t want to forge ahead unprepared. I never know which shoes to take or how many pairs of jeans I’ll need, but I eventually figure it out. Despite my best-laid plans, however, I’m about ninety percent certain I will arrive at Martha’s Vineyard and discover that I need something in Lake Charles. The idea of planning for a trip is exhausting, but even more overwhelming is the realization that we prepare for journeys every day, even when we don’t know it. I don’t know what to expect at Martha’s Vineyard, just as I don’t know what to expect in Lake Charles tomorrow. I’ve never been one who likes surprises, but life has them for you whether you like it or not. Sometimes you can prepare as much as you like. You can have it all mapped out and convince yourself that you know exactly what to expect. Then life happens and you realize you don’t have the right pair of shoes.

Erin Kelly has been a local journalist for more than 12 years. Email her at

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Thrive Magazine for Better Living

October 2011

Thrive October 2011 Issue