Thrive April 2020 Issue

Page 1

APRIL 2020

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Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

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Contents In This Issue Mind & Body

Coping with the


Regular Features 17 Who’s News 67 Business Buzz

6-15 Special Section: How Prepared are we for COVID19? P A N D E M I C 7 Ways to Help Your Kids Reduce Stress in This COVID-19 World Strategies for Surviving Tough Economic Times Spring Allergies or COVID-19? 16 Increasing Accuracy for Breast Cancer Patients

Money & Career

18-47 Cover Story – 13 Thriving 30-Somethings 2020 Thriving 30-Somethings Thirteen Thriving 30-Somethings Archives 30-Somethings By the Numbers Thriving Couples Noteworthy Past Thriving 30-Somethings —Where are they now?

Places & Faces

e m o H e et Sw e: Hom

A Car Traveler’s Road Ready Handbook

48-53 Special Section: Ready, Set, Roadtrip! But is your car ready? Road Trippin’- Where are you Headed? Buckle Up: Car Seat Safety for Your Kids

Home & Family



54-59 Special Section: Home Sweet Home: Tiny Houses can Mean Major Happiness Don't DIY Real Estate Focus on Professional Real Estate Photography

A Real Estate Guide

60 SELF-STORAGE: Your Spring-Cleaning Solution

Make a Splash this Summer:

62-66 Special Section: Considering Becoming a Swimmer? Dive in! A POOL GUIDE Chlorine vs. Saltwater – What Pool is Right for You? Pool Toys and Games!

@thriveswla | 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 to be successful in all areas of their lives – family, health, home and career. Submitted articles and photos are welcome. Thrive assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials and does not guarantee any submissions. 4

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

65 Managing Editor Angie Kay Dilmore Editors and Publishers Kristy Como Armand Christine Fisher Creative Director Barbara VanGossen Design and Layout Shonda Manuel Sarah Bercier Business Manager Katie McDaniel Stevenson Advertising Sales 337.310.2099 Submissions

MICHELLE CORCORAN, D.D.S. THOMAS CATES, D.D.S When considering cosmetic surgery, two things are essential. An experienced, highly skilled surgeon who understands the structure of the face both inside and out is, of course, a requirement. But, making skin smooth and tight again is only a part of the process. A keen understanding of the balance and proportions of your particular face—how the chin, nose, eyes and neck work in harmony to enhance your appearance is critical. Adjusting this balance, delicately and gently, requires the experienced eye of an artist. Uncovering the beauty beneath demands a special touch.

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Mind & Body


COVID-19 PANDEMIC PANDEMIC Global pandemic, flattening the curve, social distancing, self-isolation and quarantine – until last month, these previously-unfamiliar phrases were not a part of our collective wheelhouse. Now, they are a daily reality. It is easy to become fearful and anxious, with non-stop news coverage and social media posts that address little else. Yet, being concerned and staying informed through trustworthy sources is appropriate, even essential. In our effort to remain relevant, timely, and to keep our readers up-to-date, we compiled these coronavirusrelated stories to help you navigate through this challenging time.

6 Thrive Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

This is the age of a new Louisiana. We built Louisiana’s largest pediatric health network to care for any of the one million children in our state and deliver on the belief that your child can be part of a stronger, healthier tomorrow. From check-ups to complex medical and emergency care, your child’s care begins here. Visit for more.

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Mind & Body |



COVID-19? COVID-19? The number of reported cases and deaths from coronavirus in the U.S. is staggering. As you likely have heard, we currently don’t have a vaccine or an established treatment option for COVID-19.

It is important for each person to be educated about how to protect themselves from COVID-19. If someone has traveled outside the country or thinks they’ve been exposed to someone who might have COVID-19, they should notify their clinic before going in. Prior notification minimizes the transmission risk. This way the person can arrange for testing and then seek medical attention.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the primary source of medical information in the U.S., particularly as it relates to communicable diseases and epidemics. The CDC also works closely with the World Health Organization to track cases and persons of interest. The White House is informed by the CDC and Health and Human Services (HHS).


Because the epidemic is not yet controlled, people are recommended not to travel to areas where there are high concentrations of the infection. If you do not need to be in crowded areas, avoid them. Caution is especially advised for older adults or people who are at risk from conditions such as lung issues, asthma, cancer, diabetes, or HIV, or from medications that suppress the immune system.

8 8 Thrive Thrive Magazine Magazine forfor Better Better Living Living • April • April 2020 2020



The current information suggests that, for approximately 80% of infected people, the infection behaves much like the flu with mild symptoms and complete resolution. It may also be an infection that develops seasonality with waxes and wanes. We still do not know.

Stay home! You could have the common flu or COVID-19. Either way, self-isolation and social distancing help slow down and decrease the rate of transmission in the community. At the time of this writing, Governor John Bel Edwards has issued a Stay at Home order, which further protects Louisiana citizens.



Despite rapid vaccination methodologies that are being tested, current estimates are that a vaccine may not be available until later this year or even next year.


It can be quite difficult as many who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 had mild or no symptoms. Symptoms could be similar to the common cold or quite severe (severe cough, difficulties breathing, shortness of

If you think you have COVID-19, contact your doctor or clinic warning them that you might have it, which would allow them to prepare for your visit.



Currently, for healthy, young people, treatment is generally supportive therapies and antivirals, though it is unclear whether any treatment is truly effective. Severe cases, especially in middle age groups and older, may require hospitalization.



Like with other communicable airborne illnesses, COVID-19 is spread from coughing, sneezing, or talking as the virus travels through respiratory droplets. Current data suggests that the virus can also survive on surfaces for several hours, if not days.

As with adults, children should practice good handwashing hygiene: wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use antibacterial gel that has at least 60% alcohol. Avoid playdates with large groups of children or with children who might have a parent or sibling who is experiencing symptoms.

Because COVID-19 is particularly dangerous to anyone who is immunocompromised, parents should keep up with their children’s vaccination schedule as any condition or illness that could make the child sick could lower the child’s immune system and ability to fight off other infections. Do what you can to keep children healthy overall.


• Buy travel insurance to cover yourself if you have trips planned.

• Check the CDC site for current Travel Alerts. Bottom line, everyone needs to take this virus seriously and practice precautions. Diligently wash hands well and often. Contain cough and sneezes. Avoid gatherings. Stay home if you experience mild, non-life-threatening symptoms and even if you are well, increase the odds of staying well by employing self-quarantine and social distancing.



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Mind & Body |


TO HELP YOUR KIDS REDUCE STRESS DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS In this unpredictable global pandemic world, it’s hard to tell how much children understand or how they will react to what they do understand. Some handle it well while others have a difficult time processing the information and experience more anxiety. How can parents help their children deal with the stress during these difficult and uncertain times? Keri Forbess-McCorquodale, MS, CEAP, LPC-S, LMFT, president of Solutions Counseling and EAP says children and teens react, in part, to what they see from the adults around them. “When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children.” She says it’s important to understand that not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include:

• • • • • • • • • •

Excessive crying or irritation in younger children Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting) Excessive worry or sadness Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens Poor school performance or avoiding schoolwork Difficulty with attention and concentration Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past Unexplained headaches or body pain Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared, says Forbess-McCorquodale. She offers the following suggestions from Dr. Alok Trivedi, an expert in human behavior and stress, and founder of the Aligned Performance Institute:

10 Thrive Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020



Most adults and kids experience only mild flu symptoms if they contract the virus. Before you speak to your children about what’s going on, make sure you understand what’s happening and that you are getting your information from reliable sources. There is a lot of scary misinformation currently circulating, so parents, make sure you get the facts before communicating with your kids.



Sometimes it’s not the words you say, but how you say them that determines how a child will to react. If you instill chaos and panic in the tone of your voice, your child is more likely to become scared. However, if you say your words in a calm manner, even if what you say isn’t what they want to hear, they are more likely to remain relaxed.



Kids will read their parent’s stress levels and respond accordingly. If you need a moment to unwind, it’s okay to excuse yourself, take a few minutes to regroup and get yourself together before interacting again with the kids. After your own stress levels are in check, focus on making sure your children are handling it well, too. Signs that the stress might be too much for them: changes in appetite, unable to sleep, acting fearful or anxious, wanting to be left alone, and a lack of excitement for things they usually enjoy.



With kids home from school now, they’re going to need things to do. Kids respond better when they get involved with something they truly love. Give them projects around these activities. Most kids like YouTube, so encourage them to use this online platform to learn as much as they can about their interests. Not only are you taking their mind off the coronavirus, you’re helping them become more involved in what they are already interested in.



Stress is real. Even if you don’t understand it, know that for your kids it can be very serious. Always be supportive and help them work through what’s bothering them as best you can. Never say things like, “just get over it” or “you’re overreacting.” If your child’s worry becomes more serious and doesn’t subside, they may need professional help.

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The best way to reduce stress is to take appropriate measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Don’t just encourage your children to wash their hands and not touch their face, but let them know that by doing so, they are minimizing their chance of coming down with the virus. Healthy behaviors will lead to stronger mental health and well-being.


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Mind & Body |




TIMES What a year it’s been, and we’re just a quarter of the way through. It’s been a rollercoaster of stress and worry. Not only worries about a global pandemic but the resulting impact on the economy. From the government’s standpoint, the best thing for consumers to do when the economy is in turmoil is to spend money. Consumer spending has a positive effect on all national economic indicators, but the same can’t necessarily be said about your personal economic indicators. “Basically, you should follow the same personal finance rules during an economic downturn as you do at other times, perhaps with an extra-cautious eye on what is going on with the economy,” says Karen Quinilty, Senior Vice President with Lakeside Bank. “It’s certainly not a good idea to panic and change the things you are doing right, but if you don’t feel you have a handle on your personal finances; its definitely time to examine your situation and get a plan in place.” Quinilty offers the following suggestions as a guide for maintaining a positive personal economic outlook regardless of what is going on nationally.

12 Thrive Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020


We all want those designer shoes, backyard pool, summer trip or sports car, but most people can’t afford all of these things. Quinilty says if you don’t follow any other financial rule, follow this one: If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. “It sounds simple, but with easy access to credit, it can be very difficult to have the discipline to deny yourself or your children something they really want. But it’s so important to not overextend yourself if you want to avoid long-term money problems. You may not have the fairytale lifestyle of the rich and famous that is promoted in the media, but at least you won’t have to worry about how to make the payments for those things you can’t really afford.”


Quinilty says this advice goes hand-inhand with living within your means. “If you don’t have the money to buy something and are forced to use a credit card to purchase it, then you shouldn’t buy it, except in extreme emergencies.” She adds that a big part of the problem is that carrying large amounts of credit card debt has become all too common. “Credit is easy to get, but you still shouldn’t use it if you can’t afford it, and most people know whether or not they can afford a purchase. The same is true for house or car payments. While these types of purchases are typically done with loans, you need to make sure the monthly payment is within your budget.”


It may seem obvious, but this is not something most people do. Getting further into debt will only make a bad situation worse. “You’d be surprised at how much you can save by eliminating unnecessary spending. Things like dining out, movies, and morning lattes can really add up. Putting that money toward paying down debt, or saving it, can really change your overall financial situation, and help you be better prepared for any unexpected expenses,” says Quinilty. “Start tracking your spending, make a budget and stick to it.”


The government is implementing measures to stimulate the economy, and those should help, but it’s important to accept that your personal finances are really your personal responsibility, says Quinilty. “Don’t count on someone else to save you. You

should always be prepared for that eventual rainy day. Set aside an emergency fund that you can access when you really need it for things like the loss of a job, medical expenses, hurricane repairs or other unforeseen financial demands. Having this ‘rainy day account’ will also give you great peace of mind, knowing you can handle the unexpected.”

Quinilty adds that all of these suggestions work well in good times and in bad, so don’t wait until you are worried about the national economy to start making smart decisions. “If you’ve got savings and a smart financial plan, you’ll be fine, and you’ll survive whatever ups and downs come your way.”

for every chapter of your life

Imperial Health is part of your story. As the region’s largest, independent multi-specialty medical group, we take a team approach to your healthcare through every age and stage of your life. Our primary care doctors, specialists and clinical support professionals work together, sharing resources and expertise to care for you and your family.

We’re more than a doctor, we’re your healthcare team.


Mind & Body |



COVID-19? COVID-19? With the earliest on-set of spring since 1896, pollen has started to bloom, causing the typical allergy symptoms. Adding to the misery this year is allergy season’s early arrival coinciding with the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), increasing anxiety as people try to determine if their symptoms are just seasonal allergies or perhaps a warning sign they have been infected with the virus. “Allergies typically cause nasal symptoms such as a runny nose and sinus congestion, but do not usually result in a fever,

as found with COVID-19,” said Dr. Bridget Loehn, Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist with Imperial Health. “But some allergy symptoms—like nasal congestion and a dry cough – are similar to the mild symptoms found in those diagnosed with COVID-19, making it difficult to know which one you have. Because of that, it is prudent to assume you could be infected and follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to minimize contact with other people until it becomes clear that allergies are the cause of your symptoms.” There are some key differences in the causes, symptoms and treatment options. Dr. Loehn says knowing these may help lessen your anxiety and reduce the strain on local healthcare providers during this time.

CAUSES Allergies are caused by a response in the immune system and are not contagious. COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that can spread person to person through close contact, touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and respiratory droplets produced from coughing or sneezing.

TREATMENT Allergies respond well to over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal sprays. For those with severe reactions, a visit to an allergist for a customized plan is recommended. COVID-19 does not have a specific antiviral treatment, although development is underway. If symptoms are mild, it is recommended to selfisolate at home, cover coughs and sneezes, drink plenty of fluids, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid sharing personal items and clean all surfaces that are touched often. You may also want to take over-the-counter medication to help treat the symptoms such as cough suppressants, fever reducers and expectorants.

14 Thrive Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020
















Runny/Stuffy Nose






Sore Throat



Chest Discomfort/Cough



Itchiness (Eyes, Nose, Ears, Throat)



Difficulty Breathing



If you’re feeling sick, please follow the below recommendations from the Louisiana Department of Health:

If you have mild symptoms and are worried that you might have COVID-19, call your doctor or local health department instead of going to a clinic or doctor’s office without an appointment, to ensure you aren’t potentially exposing others to the virus.

If you have severe breathing problems, seek medical attention or call 911 immediately and let the person you speak with know that you have respiratory problems and need to be isolated and seen right away.

“A good way of identifying the differences between COVID-19 and allergy symptoms is that itchiness is a hallmark sign it’s allergy related, and allergy symptoms rarely extend beyond the head,” said Dr. Loehn.

The Ear Pull. It’s a classic move, and one that could be a sign of allergies, sinus problems or even an infection. Specialized treatment for little ears, noses and throats. If you notice your child pulling or rubbing their ears, that’s your signal to take them to an experienced ENT specialist. Dr. Bridget Loehn with Imperial Health offers advanced diagnostic and treatment options for a wide range of pediatric ear, nose and throat problems, along with

ENT & Allergy Specialist Dr. Bridget Loehn (337) 419-1960

4150 Nelson Rd Suite, Suite C-10 Lake Charles


Mind & Body


Increasing Accuracy for Breast Cancer Patients by Christine Fisher

For breast cancer patients, a new technique known as radiofrequency seed localization is now available at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital to guide surgeons to the precise area to be removed. This is the same procedure used among the top 10 cancer centers in the US, including the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. “A radiofrequency seed, the size of a grain of rice, helps us be more accurate during surgery,” explains Devin Seale, MD, general surgeon with WCCH. When a lumpectomy is scheduled after a breast tumor is found, doctors must identify the area to be removed. Previously, the wire method was used; which meant a small wire indicating the tumor was inserted in the breast tissue prior to surgery. This was often uncomfortable, and at times, not as accurate as surgeons would like. Radiofrequency seeds now give surgeons a more precise location of the tumor to be removed. Using a mammogram for guidance, a seed is safely injected with a needle, inside the tumor. This can be done up to 30 days prior to the surgery. The radiofrequency signal is detected during surgery, leading the surgeon to exactly the right area to be removed.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

“This procedure is easier on the patient and gives us a more accurate location of the tumor,” explains Dr. Seale. “It allows for improved cosmetic results following lumpectomy.” A 2010 study in the American Journal of Surgery on seed localized lumpectomy shows Mayo Clinic researchers found the method reduced the need for follow-up surgery by about 50 percent because of the increased accuracy of identifying the cancerous area. Dr. Seale notes that his patients say this procedure is more comfortable and less cumbersome than the wire method. “It’s an extremely safe procedure that benefits the patient and the surgeon.” For more information, call Sulphur Surgical Clinic at (337) 527-6363.

Movers and Shakers in Southwest Louisiana... Who’s News? You tell us! Send press releases to Safety Council of Southwest Louisiana adds Kyle to Leadership Team Scott Kyle has joined the Safety Council of Southwest Louisiana as the Director of Strategic Operations & Implementation, Scott Kyle where he will direct new initiatives, business development, and project management. He comes to the Safety Council with more than 15 years of Quality, Safety, and Emergency Management experience. Prior to joining the Safety Council, Kyle served as the Regional Manager of Safety and Emergency Management for CHRISTUS Ochsner Southwestern Louisiana. Kyle is a Certified Department of Homeland Security Emergency Management Operations Instructor, Center for Domestic Preparedness Hospital Emergency Response Instructor, and NRA Firearms Instructor. Scott Kyle is available for interviews and additional materials on Safety Council services are available to assist with your coverage. Contact Scott at 337-436-3354 or First Federal Bank Welcomes Paris Chaisson First Federal Bank of Louisiana’s leadership team is proud to announce that Paris Chaisson has joined the Bank as an Assistant Vice President/Lender and McNeese Branch Paris Chaisson Manager. Chaisson has spent six years in the banking industry working as an Assistant Branch Manager, Branch Manager, and Mortgage Originator. In her new role she will be responsible for branch development as well as growth in loans and deposits. Chaisson has experience working with local Partners in Education, and she is an affiliate of the SWLA Association of Realtors. Chaisson lives in Moss Bluff with her husband and four children, and she volunteers regularly with her church.

Mallie Bowers Appointed to State LBEC First Federal Bank of Louisiana’s board of directors is pleased to announce that the Bank’s Director of Human Resources, Mallie Bowers, has Mallie Bowers been appointed to the Louisiana Bankers Education Council (LBEC). Bowers will serve as Education Chairman, and she represents the only member of LBEC from Lake Charles. She has been in banking for 15 years and has been at First Federal Bank since 2008. Bowers has attended the Bankers School for Supervisory Training, the LBA Leadership School, and the BOLT Program at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. She is also a member of the Society for Human Resources Management. West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital names Deculus Director of Care Management West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital is pleased to announce that Sherron Deculus, Sherron Deculus RN, RHIA, has been named director of care management. In her new role, Deculus will direct the hospital care management and discharge planning activities and will work closely with physicians, staff, leaders and others to assure that integrated and effective programs are in place to include coordination of care, prospective, concurrent and retrospective reviews, social service activities and discharge planning functions. Deculus brings over 20 years of healthcare experience in the hospital environment, ranging from inpatient coding, case management, core measure abstraction, utilization review and direct patient care.

Lakeside Bank Names Roy M. Raftery, Jr., President and CEO Roy M. Raftery, Jr., has been appointed President and CEO of Lakeside Bank. A well- recognized name in the banking industry, Raftery previously served Roy M. Raftery, Jr as President and CEO of Cameron State Bank from 1992 – 2011. He began his banking career with First National Bank of Lake Charles, rising to the position of executive vice president, before joining Cameron State Bank as President and CEO of the bank and Cameron Bancshares, Inc. In 1999, Raftery also became CEO and Director of Mallard Investments, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cameron State Bank. During his time at Cameron State Bank, Raftery was honored with a 45-year Banking Service Award from the Louisiana Bankers Association. He also served as in instructor for AIB for a number of years. He was inducted to the McNeese Athletics Hall of Honor in 1999 and was named Philanthropist of the Year by the Family Foundation of SWLA in 2007. In 2010, Raftery was awarded the McNeese Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award. Klenke Named Chief Information Officer at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital is pleased to announce the promotion of Mike Klenke to Chief Information Officer. In this role, he will provide Mike Klenke vision and leadership for the development and management of information resources and technology to support the hospital’s strategic goals and priorities. Mike has proven to be a dynamic and versatile leader at WCCH. Most recently holding the position of Network Technician, he brings two decades of experience in healthcare technology with a total of 30 years in the information technology field. Prior to joining WCCH, Mike served as Network Administrator and Project Manager at Opelousas General for 12 years. A resident of Sulphur, he joined WCCH in 2012.


photos by Shonda Manuel stories by Angie Kay Dilmore shot on location at L'Auberge Casino Resort, Lake Charles

2020 marks Thrive magazine’s 10th anniversary of our annual 13 Thriving

30-Somethings feature! What a pleasure it has been to spotlight young, local, successful, compassionate professionals this past decade. Every year, we receive dozens of nominations, each one worthy of being named a Thriving 30-Something. It’s always a challenge to narrow the field down to 13. Our community is full of high-achieving community-minded citizens who represent diverse backgrounds and a wide range of occupations. In celebration of our ten years, we went all out on the photo shoot – formal attire and stunning backdrops at L’Auberge Casino Resort. We also expanded this year’s special section to a whopping 30 pages. Sit back, read and relax, and know for certain, the future of Southwest Louisiana is in great hands!

18 Thrive Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

Gregory Bass, 33 Director of Operational Excellence at Golden Nugget Lake Charles

Gregory Bass was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana. He began his post-secondary education at LSUE for Nuclear Medicine and ultimately completed his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Phoenix while working full-time. He made an intentional decision to postpone obtaining his MBA and opted instead to earn his Six Sigma/Lean credentials. “That decision has played a valuable role in my career and growth opportunities,” Gregory says. “With Villanova University I earned the top certification of Advanced Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt.” Gregory began his working career as do many young people – in food service. He soon joined the heavy equipment company Louisiana CAT. From there, he joined the hospitality industry and loves his job. He is now Director of Operational Excellence at Golden Nugget Lake Charles. “My grandfather shared a statement with me long ago as a young man that I’ve continually turned to in my life. ‘Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.’ Therefore, anything I commit my time will have my complete effort.” Gregory co-chairs his employer’s Golden Giver Community Panel, through to which he serves at United Way of SWLA and raises funds for nonprofits in the community. He’s a member of the executive leadership committee for the SWLA American Cancer Society and was their 2019 Chair for their fundraiser Real Men Wear Pink, raising a total of $222,241. Gregory is the 1st Vice President for the Arts & Humanities Council of SWLA, serving as co-chair to the 2020 Live at Lakefront. He also coaches his son’s soccer team with the Calcasieu Soccer Club! “I’m thankful to my wife for allowing me the opportunity to serve. I believe those with the ability to serve owe it to their community to add value and help change lives, even if in a small way. I want to be remembered as a person who cares for others and to leave this world knowing I did my part to make it better for my children and the future of my family and other families.” Gregory lives with his wife, Claire, and their sons, Patrick and Ronan.

What were you doing 10 years ago? I had just married my incredibly talented and beautiful wife and we moved to Prairieville, Louisiana for a position I was promoted to at Louisiana CAT.

Where do you plan to be 10 years from now? I intend to be general manager of a property or something comparable. Most importantly, I commit to providing for my family and spending all the precious time I can with them.


Scofield Gerard Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry A T T O R N E Y S




Jana Crain on being named one of THRIVE’S 13 THRIVING 30-SOMETHINGS for 2020!



to Ashley Gatte, Empire of the Seed Historic Events President... our Thriving Thirties gal!

8/12/19, 2(03 PM

(337) 310-0405


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

Jana Crain, 39 Litigation paralegal with Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher, & Landry

Lake Charles native Jana Crain attended Barbe High School and Hamilton Christian Academy, and graduated from McNeese State University with a bachelor’s in criminal justice and a minor in paralegal studies. She lived in Dallas and later Houston, working in law firms and handling complex international commercial litigation. Growing weary of big city life, Jana and her husband returned to Lake Charles to be close to family and friends. She now works for Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher, & Landry. “For 17 years I have driven myself to produce the best product to help my firms and their clients present the strongest cases possible. I have coupled this with my organizational skills both in the courtroom and my personal life.” In 2019, Jana started her own business, Honestly Organized. Her passion is to help people find better organization in the clutter of everyday life. She helps to organize home and business moves – from planning boxing and moving day to full unpacking and set up in the new location. “My dream has been to be a small business owner and use these skills to help my clients find ways to de-clutter their lives for their families and careers.” she says. Jana serves the community and especially thrives behind the scenes, making things happen. She currently serves with the Arts & Humanities Council of SWLA as the Secretary of their executive board and and works with their numerous annual events. Jana assists her husband with his charity, the Outdoor Association for True Heroes (OATH) and is a member in Krewe du Lac. “I strive to help people and organizations reach their goals by playing supportive roles and using my experience and perspective to strengthen their teams.” Jana volunteers for the Everything Grey Greyhound Rescue. She fosters and finds homes for rescued retired racers. “After Hurricane Harvey, hundreds of dogs were displaced and shipped to Lake Charles. I couldn’t stand the thought of them being hungry and scared, trapped in a kennel. I spent several days working around the clock at Burton Complex walking, feeding, and comforting these dogs until they were returned to their owners.” Jana lives with her husband, Chad, her step-son, Zachary, and her dogs, Sizzle, Layla, and Marty.

What were you doing 10 years ago? Working in Houston on the BP Horizon Oil spill. And I had just met the man who is now my husband.

Where would you like to be 10 years from now? I want to be fully invested in Honestly Organized. I envision myself with a lifestyle that allows my husband and I to travel while continuing to volunteer.


Ashley Gatte, 34 Ashley Gatte spent her childhood in Sulphur and moved to Lake Charles when she was a high school senior. She earned a degree in marketing (minor in management) and an MBA from McNeese State University and is currently the President of Events Division at Empire of the Seed. Through her role there, Ashley supports local organizations such as the Lake Charles Symphony, Boy Scouts, The Community Foundation, and various community and arts projects. “I believe that giving is a part of my nature,” says Ashley. “I aim to be someone who gives abundantly and does not ask for anything in return. Several people in my life inspire me daily. My husband (Ben Gatte), my parents (Lonnie and Trudy Phelps), my in-laws (Nacis and Patty Gatte), my friends (they know who they are), and Rick and Donna Richard. These folks have been true examples of what it means to be selfless and generous. I’ve been so blessed in my life; I can’t help but try to be my best self every day. Hard work and drive are my expressions of gratitude to all of those who have encouraged and helped me along the way! Ashley has been a volunteer musician at her church for years, allowing her to serve different church congregations and act as a mentor for younger musicians who need encouragement/ advice. “I believe my faith is the main reason for this drive to make our community and the world a better place. I grew up in church watching my parents volunteer, teach Sunday school, and open our home to befriend people and share meals with them. (1 Peter 4:8-10, Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.) Ashley also volunteers at local 5k races and events. “It’s always fun when you can align your favorite hobbies with doing good for others!”

What were you doing 10 years ago? I was in Lake Charles, starting the MBA program at McNeese and working as Dr. Burckel’s graduate assistant.

Where would you like to be in 10 years? I would love to still be in Lake Charles. I love this city. As long as I stay rooted in my faith in God, and am surrounded by the ones I love, I know I can handle whatever the future may bring. Ten years from now I hope to be doing good and meaningful work, encouraging others, and creating community!


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

Empire of the Seed Historic Events President

Emily Porché, 31 Events Manager at Burton Coliseum Complex

Emily Porche' was born and raised in Lake Charles, graduated from Barbe High School, and McNeese State University with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. She is the Events Manager at Burton Coliseum Complex, where she rents the facilities to various clients and helps create memorable experiences for our community. Her first “big girl” job was the Marketing Assistant at Cameron State Bank, where she coordinated promotions and special events for each bank branch. “I knew that my career was headed down the right path of managing promotions, planning events, and ensuring patrons enjoy their experiences, whether in a bank lobby or in a large 6,200 seat arena,” Emily says. Emily was a member of Fusion Five, serving as a board member and an executive board member. She represented the art community by serving on the Arts & Humanities board and executive committee for several years. She participated in the annual Mad Hot Ballroom fundraising event for Dancing Classrooms and DanceSport as a “professional dancer” and is a 2014 graduate of SWLA Leadership and a 2018 graduate of the International Association of Venue Management. After her experiences from these various leadership and volunteer opportunities, Emily felt a passion to start her own non-profit organization, Mae’s Mission., founded in September of 2019 to bring awareness and fundraised dollars to small, lesser-known non-profit organizations within the five-parish region of Southwest Louisiana. They host events and donate the collected funds to other nonprofits through a grant application process. Emily strives to live by what she calls the 50/50 standard. “The 50/50 standard focuses 50% of your time and efforts on accomplishing goals and focusing the other 50% on putting those accomplished goals to good use, meaning giving back to your community. I also think celebrating ‘small wins’ is important so that your goals and accomplishments are kept in check. Everyone defines success and achievement differently, but if you take the time to recognize your ‘small wins,’ they add up to large achievements along the way.” Emily is married to Cody, owner of Porche' Aerial Imagery, and mom to Charlie Mae.

What were you doing 10 years ago? I was just starting my first job at Cameron State Bank, finalizing wedding plans to marry my high-school sweetheart, excited to take on the so-called “real world,” and still teaching dance classes for extra money.

Where do you plan to be 10 years from now? I hope that ten years from now, I’m as eager to succeed and serve my community as I am now.


Sarah Beth Kennison -Owner

201 8

Class of Thriving 30-Somethings

4212 Lake Street, Lake Charles 70605 • (337) 474-4000

LOOKING FOR A TRUSTED CHIROPRACTOR IN LAKE CHARLES? If so, then one call to Ultimate Performance Chiro & Rehab is all you need to start living a healthier life. We can provide pain relief, increased range of motion, an improved diet, and much more. Make an appointment today by calling 337-421-0010!


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

(337) 421-0010

Kyle Daigle, D.C., 33 Doctor of Chiropractic, Owner of Ultimate Performance Chiro & Rehab

Kyle Daigle says he’s a small-town kid making an impact in the world. He grew up in the Sulphur/Vinton area and began his higher education at McNeese and later transferred to LSU. After completing the prerequisites for chiropractic school, he attended Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas, where he studied Functional Medicine and Functional Neurology and was president of the Nutrition Club. Kyle is currently the Chief Medical Officer for SNA Technologies, a software company in Austin, Texas, where he co-developed a patent-pending program called Neurosage that is being used in countries around the world. He manages Partners for Brain Chat, an online educational platform for doctors and therapists who want to learn about Neurological Rehabilitation. He published a book called What If You Knew. He partnered with a Company in Abu Dhabi called Developing Minds, a learning center for kids with development delays and sensory processing disorders. He lectures at Life University and in Europe (Barcelona and Amsterdam) to doctors in the International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehabilitation (IAFNR) about Digital Therapy and Childhood Development Disorders. He received the 2018 IAFNR Humanitarian of the Year Award and won their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 for developing the software used by numerous doctors in the organization. He was recently selected to speak at the Movement Conference at the University of Paris/La Sorbonne in September on the impact of Virtual Reality in movement and cognition. When he isn’t traveling, Kyle sees patients in his private practice in Lake Charles called Ultimate Performance Chiro & Rehab. “I absolutely love my job and all my patients! I help patients facing difficulties with different neurological and orthopedic conditions,” he says. As a child, Kyle’s career path was influenced by his parents and his love of competitive sports. His mother is a special needs teacher. “Her passion to help kids struck me early. She has made such a huge impact on so many kids.” His father operated a successful oil distribution company. “I had two great role models who demonstrated persistent hard work and setting goals. In second grade, I knew what I wanted to be—a doctor. At LSU, my interests changed after I began researching neurology, biochemistry, and nutrition which led me to the chiropractic field.” Kyle lives with his wife, Alexa, and daughter, Blakesly.

What were you doing 10 years ago? Living in Dallas, attending Chiropractic School, and dreaming about opening my own practice.

Where would you like to be 10 years from now? I plan to expand Developing Minds throughout the Middle East and into parts of Europe while still practicing here in Lake Charles.



What started as aas casual get get Fusion FiveFive cultivates a a What started a casual Fusion cultivates together among friends at a at a positive impact on Southwest together among friends positive impact on Southwest was was created of and for young created of and for young coffee shopshop ended up becoming by connecting and and coffee ended up becomingLouisiana Louisiana by connecting professionals to change the the professionals to change the newest YPOYPO in Southwest young professionals the newest in Southwest engaging engaging young professionals social and and economic landscape social economic landscape Louisiana. In the of 2007 opportunities for for Louisiana. In Spring the Spring of 2007in regional in regional opportunities of Southwest Louisiana. of Southwest Louisiana. the founders began meeting growth and and development. the founders began meeting growth development. Our Our mission is toiscultivate a a mission to cultivate onceonce a month to discuss waysways to toAll across America, YPOs are are a month to discuss All across America, YPOs positive impact on Southwest positive impact on Southwest better improve our businesses, entrepreneurial projects, better improve our businesses, running running entrepreneurial projects, Louisiana by connecting and and Louisiana by connecting ourselves, and and SWLA. The The goalgoal increasing awareness, and and ourselves, SWLA. increasing awareness, engaging young professionals engaging young professionals was was to create a true Young providing young professionals to create a true Young providing young professionals in regional opportunities for for in regional opportunities Professional Organization (YPO) in their community. Are Are Professional Organization (YPO)a voice a voice in their community. civiccivic engagement, professional engagement, professional thatthat would allow us tousdevelop a young professional aged would allow to develop you you a young professional aged development, and and personal development, personal the next generation of SWLA’s to accelerate youryour the next generation of SWLA’s 21- 45 21-looking 45 looking to accelerate growth. growth. business leaders. Taking the the career and and givegive backback to your business leaders. Taking career to your Fusion FiveFive is a Young Fusion is a Young nextnext step,step, it was agreed to have TakeTake the first stepstep it was agreed to havecommunity? community? the first Professional Organization Professional Organization the Chamber SWLA sponsor and and invest in your future. JoinJoin the Chamber SWLA sponsor invest in your future. (YPO) thatthat is making a positive (YPO) is making a positive and and mentor Fusion Five.Five. Today Five.Five. mentor Fusion Today Fusion Fusion impact on SWLA by exchanging impact on SWLA by exchangingFusion FiveFive is a standalone Fusion is a standalone ideas, developing our members, ideas, developing our members,501C3 dedicated to the 501C3 dedicated to success the success leading the community, and and leading the community, of it’s professionally of members it’s members professionally creating a better place to live creating a better place to live and and personally. personally. and and work. work.



Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

Are you young professional agedaged 21- 45 Are ayou a young professional 21-looking 45 looking to accelerate your your career and give backback to your to accelerate career and give to your community? TakeTake the first and invest in your community? the step first step and invest in your future. Join Join Fusion Five.Five. future. Fusion

Nick Reina, 33 Agent/Owner of Nick Reina State Farm

Nick Reina was born and raised in Lake Charles.

Mind & Body He attended Hamilton Christian Academy and

joined the United States Marine Corps immediately after graduation. He served as an infantryman in Iraq from 2006-2008. After his honorable discharge, Nick attended McNeese State University and majored in Natural Resource Conservation Management with a concentration in Wildlife. While in college, he worked for Meridian Global Security and did overseas anti-piracy security contracts abroad. He also installed irrigation systems and realized he would rather have an office job. Postgraduation, Nick moved to Houston and worked nearly four years with a successful State Farm agent, working his way up to Office Manager. Nick is currently the Agent/Owner of Nick Reina State Farm in Lake Charles. “During our first year, we were the number seven new agent in the country out of roughly 1000. In our first full year we received an award for being a top 5% agency nationwide,” says Nick. “My desire to win, do things the right way, take care of others, and my need for personal growth in development drive me to succeed in my career.” Nick serves on many boards throughout the area such as the Arts and Humanities Council and Fusion Five. He’s a member of the SWLA Veterans Association, and integrally involved with the College of Business at McNeese State University. His business has sponsored schools, organizations, and sports teams. “My compassion and love for the community stem from growing up in this area and being raised in the church. My compassion for others increased tremendously as a result of my years in the Marine Corps. Seeing how other people live opened my eyes to the struggles people deal with every day. If we can make an impact that makes their lives a little easier, it’s worth doing. I feel compelled to give back because without people helping me through my life I would not be where I am today. Helping others gives me the self-satisfaction that I am doing what God has called me to do. Otherwise, what is the purpose of life? Be it financial support, acts or service, or just listening, being there for others is my calling.” Nick lives with his wife, Erin, and daughters, Emma Catherine and Parker.

What were you doing 10 years ago? I was a freshman at McNeese transitioning back into civilian life after leaving the Marine Corps.

Where do you want to be in 10 years? I want to be a Top 50 Agent in the country, be able to give back more to the community, and assist with the positive progression of Lake Charles.


Brandon Racca was born and raised in Lacassine. He recalls helping on his grandfather’s farm, working summers for his dad on construction sites, and riding four-wheelers. With academic and athletic scholarships (he was a javelin thrower), Brandon attended LSU and graduated with a degree in Kinesiology. From there, he attended Texas Chiropractic College. After that he began his career as a D.C. at Southwest Chiropractic in Lake Charles and is now a partner at Center for Chiropractic in Lake Charles. Brandon spearheaded the development of a second office in Sulphur to better assist their patients. “In my journey through life, athletics, and career I have had many people give me their time and knowledge to improve me as a person. For that, I feel a calling to repay to others after me. One of the joys of life for me is to provide people with improvement of their health and physical being.” Brandon grew up in a family with five chiropractors who were pioneers in their field. From the time he was five years old, Brandon aspired to follow their lead. “My dad always told me to do what makes you happy and you will always want to go to work.” Brandon’s parents taught him the importance of service. His mother was a teacher and his dad a carpenter. “They taught me through their actions what kind of man to be.” Brandon recently went on a medical mission to El Salvador, traveling from village to village and setting up a mobile clinic where he gave free adjustments, health education, and provided basic hygiene essentials to those in need. He coaches high school and college athletes in Track and Field and helps with local events. Brandon is an avid cyclist and has ridden in multiple MS 150’s to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. “We can enrich not just one person but many others through giving. I am one person and if I can help thousands of people then those people can help millions along their journeys.” Brandon lives with his wife, Krickett (a fellow 30-Something this year).

What were you doing 10 years ago? I was stressing out in Houston at chiropractic school.

Where would you like to be 10 years from now? Right here doing the same job. I love my town and I never want to leave, but I would like to branch out more into the surrounding area and develop multiple practices.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

Brandon Racca, D.C., 35 Chiropractor/partner at Center for Chiropractic in Lake Charles

Krickett Racca, 31 Marketing and Special Events Manager at Crying Eagle Brewing Co

Krickett Racca was born in Springfield, Missouri. She and her mother later moved to Greenville, Michigan. As an early teen, her mother met Krickett’s stepfather which took them to Southaven, Mississippi. She graduated high school from DeSoto Central in Southaven and attended LSU where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies in 2010. As a young person, Krickett worked summers at her parents' beer distributorship, submitting beer and soda orders for local restaurants and grocery stores. “This position gave me valuable behind the scenes knowledge that I utilize every day in my current position at Crying Eagle,” she says. “I have worked several marketing jobs throughout my life at restaurants, doctors’ offices, media companies, athletics, you name it I've marketed it! When Crying Eagle popped up on my radar, I knew that it was the perfect place to combine both of my passions; marketing and beer.” Krickett learned the value of volunteer work from her mother’s example. “We helped serve food at church, we adopted shelter animals. As soon as I was old enough to drive, she encouraged me to spend time at our local animal shelter and our community foundation.” Through the Junior League of Lake Charles, Krickett has volunteered for Fit Kids, Truck Fest, Waters Edge Food Pantry, and Lake Charles Pitbull Rescue. She’s on the board of directors at the Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana and Fusion Five, and volunteers with the Children’s Museum of Lake Charles (Secretary & past board member). She is currently in the Leadership Southwest Class of 2020. “I love to see a need, come up with a plan, and make it happen all while working with some truly brilliant and caring individuals. No matter where I’ve lived, I meet amazing people while volunteering.” Krickett lives with her husband, Brandon.

What were you doing 10 years ago? I was finishing up my bachelor's degree at LSU. I was also an LSU Batgirl and a Chi Omega, putting off "adulting" as long as possible.

Where would you like to be 10 years from now? I plan to physically be right where I am. My husband and I have planted roots here in Lake Charles. Our community has so much potential and we intend to do our part to make it even better year after year. I plan to still be working at Crying Eagle and striving to make our brand the go-to Louisiana beer as well as bringing bigger better out-of-the-box events to SWLA.


t t e k a Kric c c a R t er d g i a n m a M h t n e Sc v E l a Speci g& n i t e k r Ma



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Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

Ashley Chretien Williams, 32 Assistant Director – Oasis A Safe Haven for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence

Ashley Williams was born and raised in Lake Charles. She began her role at Oasis A Safe Haven for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence (formerly Calcasieu Women’s Shelter) 12 years ago as a volunteer and worked her way up to Assistant Director of the organization. “I advocate for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. I am also responsible for training and supervising survivor and children advocates, addressing family needs, safety planning, educating survivors on the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence and I have facilitated domestic violence support groups for survivors and their children,” she says. During her employment with Oasis, Ashley also worked with the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) as the Public Policy Coordinator where she provided legislative advocacy on the state and national levels. She was also the Project Coordinator of LCADV’s Children Exposed to Violence Program. “Domestic and sexual violence is real and affects families in our community. I try to be a voice for all victims, but it is the children impacted by violence who hold a special place in my heart. They need people in their lives who will listen, believe, and respect them. I want them to know that they are not alone.” Ashley says being a voice against domestic violence is rewarding by itself, but educating children and young adults about healthy relationships, bullying and signs of domestic violence is what she loves. “When I see that engaging, educating and empowering our young people is saving and changing lives, it truly makes my heart smile.” Ashley volunteers for several community service organizations. She’s a board member of MusicMakers2U, Secretary at LCADV, a member of the Junior League of Lake Charles and the Lake Charles Happy Hour Rotary, and an active member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Ashley learned the importance of service from her parents. “Watching them give so much of their time and talents growing up taught me that if I can help someone, just do it! I am so grateful that God has given me opportunities to serve Him through serving others. Ashley lives with her husband Markell and her son Mason.

What were you doing 10 years ago? I was a McNeese student and child advocate at Calcasieu Women’s Shelter.

Where would you like to be 10 years from now? I would like to be better version of myself. I hope that I will be a BETTER wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and member of this community. Most importantly, I hope my faith is still my foundation.


While working on her undergraduate degree at McNeese State University, Melissa Raymond was introduced to the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In 2009, she earned a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Houston Clear Lake with a concentration in ABA and became a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst; later a Licensed Behavior Analyst. In 2012, she and her husband, Craig, opened Milestones Behavioral Services with a goal of utilizing the principles of ABA to help autistic children and those with other developmental disabilities reach their developmental milestones. “I am so lucky to wake up every day to a beautiful family and a job that I truly enjoy,” she says. Inspired by her parents, Melissa has a passion for working with children with developmental disabilities. “As a Licensed Behavior Analyst, I see children speak for the first time. I see them learn new skills and reach new milestones. As a business owner, I create a positive environment where employees enjoy the work that they do and feel support from their supervisors.” Witnessing the struggle that parents of children with developmental disabilities face when transitioning their child from early intervention to a school setting, Melissa wanted to do more. In 2017, she and Craig founded the non-profit organization Autism Scholars with a mission to increase scholarly opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities. Autism Scholars gives back to the community through its Teacher Workshop and Scholarship Fund. The one-week, hands-on Teacher Workshop provides information about ABA to teachers in Calcasieu, Cameron, Allen, and Beauregard Parishes. The goal of the workshop is to arm teachers with tools they can take back to their classrooms. Melissa is on the boards of Louisiana Coalition for Access to Autism Services and Louisiana Association for Behavior Analysis. Along with her husband, Melissa lives with her children, Kinzey and Cohen.

What were you doing 10 years ago? I was a new behavior analyst working part time for myself and part time for another company. And I was still a newlywed!

Where do you want to be in 10 years? I hope that Autism Scholars has grown and our reach expanded. I hope our fundraisers are bigger, better, and result in the donations needed to expand our scholarship fund and increase the number of teacher workshops offered. Milestones Behavioral Services might have multiple locations and possibly include a feeding clinic and life skills lab to provide ABA services to more families.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

Melissa Coco Raymond, 33 Licensed Behavior Analyst, owner of Milestones Behavioral Services, autism activist

Erika Doshier, 37 Vice President of the Children’s Advocacy Center and the Court Appointed Special Advocates

Erika Doshier is a native of Lake Charles, a graduate of Barbe High School, and a McNeese State University graduate with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. Her first job was working the drive through at McDonalds. In college she worked as a nursing step student for CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital. In 2006, she was hired by Family and Youth Counseling Agency. “I started at an entry level position and now 13 ½ years later I’m the Vice President of the Children’s Advocacy Center and the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and a Diplomate Child Forensic Interviewer for the State of Louisiana.” Erika’s goal has always been to “help the next person” whether she’s providing information to our community about child abuse or foster care issues or talking with a child one-on-one about their story of abuse. “I feel so honored to play a small role in keeping our community safe. I love being involved in my community and working to bring about change.” Erika credits her passion for community to her love for her son. “Becoming a mother changed my outlook on what being involved means. I look around and I want to ensure my son’s experience in this community is healthy, safe, nurturing and most of all inspires him to want to give back to our community in some capacity. Growing up, my parents were always involved with community and church groups, lending a hand to a friend or stranger in need. I was raised to believe that being able to serve others is an outward reflection of God’s love for us.” Erika’s past and current community volunteer work includes the Go Group Sub Committee, KIDS Can of Southwest Louisiana, Leadership Southwest, Allstate Greater Good Nonprofit Leaders Program, and the Continuous Quality Improvement Team (created by the Department of Children and Families to improve the quality of services for SWLA foster care youth). She assists with special events for the eight different divisions of Family & Youth Counseling Agency. She’s been a member of the Junior League of Lake Charles and is a member of her church choir at United Christian Fellowship Church. Erika lives with her son, Myles Simon.

What were you doing 10 years ago? I was the Senior Coordinator for the Children's Advocacy Center at Family and Youth Counseling Agency. I was also preparing for the National Association of Certified Child Forensic Interviewer Exam.

Where would you like to be 10 years from now? I want to work with others to strengthen our community by being a voice for change, advocacy, and education! I believe it’s our responsibility to pave the way and leave a legacy for the next generation.



Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

Stefanee Tolbert, 34 Co-founder, visionary, and principal at Life Christian Academy

Stefanee Tolbert was born and raised in DeQuincy. She attended LSU and earned a Bachelor of Science in Education with a minor in English, as well as a degree in Educational Leadership and Administration. She also earned an associate’s degree in Advanced Youth Ministry from Christ for the Nations in Dallas. In 2011, she and Carolyn Nelson opened Life Christian Academy to the public with 26 students. They now enroll 350. From the beginning, their goal has been to "encourage, equip, and empower" their students. “These values are also my life values,” says Stefanee. “If I look back over my day, and know that I have encouraged, equipped, and empowered the people in my life, then I feel like I am thriving. I strive to help others reach their full potential.” Stefanee says she wanted to be an educator her whole life. “From a very early age, I would play school. So many things have led to where I am today, from ministry experience to my personal educational experience. My life has been a series of wins and losses, high mountains and low valleys, but I wouldn't change it. I am so happy where I am today. I don't take it for granted.” Stefanee enjoys community outreach, but says she doesn’t like to do it alone. “I provide our students with many opportunities to serve. As early as three years old, we involve our scholars with community outreach. We go to SC3 to provide non-perishable food items; we have partnered with the City of Sulphur to serve the senior citizens at the Ole Tyme Christmas Brunch by singing, interacting, and serving food. We partner with Compassion International and bring groups of children to poverty simulations. We collect necessities and deliver them to the homeless; partner with the Biker Church to serve lunch to those in our community; and participate in Operation Christmas Child. I’m proud of how well my students do academically, but my true joy is encouraging, equipping, and empowering the next generation of world changers to be the hands and feet of Christ. Servant leadership is essential.” Stefanee is married to Trent Tolbert and together they parent Cruz, Piper, Beckett, and Nash.

What were you doing 10 years ago? I was fresh out of LSU with big dreams, absolutely no idea how to reach them, but determination to make my dreams reality.

Where do you want to be in 10 years? Life Christian Academy will be meeting in our stateof-the-art facility. I will be encouraging, equipping, and empowering a new group of young world changers, and training up educators to do the same.



by appointment only so all eyes can be on you...request online at


Dr. Joseph Kulaga | Dr. Laurie Baynard 240-6619 | 5656 Nelson Rd Ste D2 Lake Charles, LA 70605 36

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

Jamie Chapman, 36 Region Engineering Supervisor for Entergy Louisiana Jamie Chapman grew up in Lake Charles, attended Hamilton Christian Academy, and majored in electrical engineering at McNeese State University. After college, she began her career with Entergy as a Distribution Field Engineer. She briefly transferred into a Distribution Planning Engineer role before accepting her first leadership assignment in 2014 as the Region Engineering Supervisor of the Entergy Louisiana West Region. In this role, Jamie led a group of employees responsible for distribution designs for Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana, a geographic area spanning from the Atchafalaya Basin to the Texas border. Most recently Jamie accepted a developmental opportunity where she is the acting Region Manager, leading the day to day operations of the line and service organizations in this same geographic area. “I have every intention to retire with Entergy,” she says. “I strive to be the best role model I can be for my two daughters. I want them to see a successful independent hard-working mother who has a strong career and also makes it to the events at school.” Jamie is also actively involved in the community through board and committee membership. She serves on the Family and Youth Counseling Agency Board and is engaged in the Programs and Personnel Committee. She serves on the board of Hamilton Christian Academy where she currently holds the office of Secretary. Jamie has also served as a member of the CHRISTUS Ochsner Southwestern Louisiana Foundation Board for three years on the Foundation’s Development Committee and Children’s Miracle Network Committee and was an honored Philanthropist in 2019. “I invest back into the community because I grew up here and I plan on staying here long term even after retiring. I want a strong community so that even my girls will want to build their families here, too.” Jamie lives with her husband, Blake, and daughters Emma and Charlotte.

What were you doing 10 years ago? Living in Lake Charles and working for Entergy as a Field Engineer in the department I currently supervise. Ten years ago I was married and focused on starting my family.

Where do you want to be in 10 years? I love Lake Charles and I plan to still be here.



Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

F U L L W E B S I T E N OW AVA I L A B L E ! S H O P O N L I N E AT W W W. M I M O S A - B O U T I Q U E . C O M 312 5 E R N E S T S T R E E T , S U I T E 1 • L A K E C H A R L E S , L O U I S I A N A • ( 3 37 ) 5 6 4 - 5 818


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A lot of work goes into planning the Thriving 30-Something issue. From themes to props to locations to scheduling, thriving is serious business. Past themes for the issues include a police line-up, CLUE, smart phone apps, selfies, movies, back-to-school, camping, Southwest Louisiana and chairs. The one thing that stays the same each year are the bonds created between the recipients. Many go on to remain close friends through this experience.

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April 2017

Thrive Magazine for Better Living











Allison Kuhn Brooks Donald-Williams Clair Marceaux Dave Evans Heath Allen Jennifer Wallace Jason Barnes Kara Garofas Nikki Fontenot Kimberly Dellafosse Trista Ledet Ames Tyson Green Wayne Smith

Jason Martinez Angela Pierson Jennifer Spees Erik Jessen Keith Credo Angie Manning Peshoff Erin Davison Dr. Craig Morton Rebekah Osborn Ann Barilleaux Haleigh Lyons Dr. Keith Menard Eric Zartler

Anatole Karpovs Makeitta Broussard Matt Young Huber Mickey Smith Travis Manceaux Erica McCreedy Angela Stutes Melanie Dees Brad Guillory Ethan Miller Ashli Waldrep Fred Sebren Justin Hill

Alyson Vamvoras Antoon Mike Beer Owen Clanton Brandon Cooligan Marcell Gary Megan Monsour Hartman Jennifer Chaumont Istre Terra Gauthreaux Jones Brett McKee Lauren Monroe John O’Donnell Amanda Reeves Maria Tran

Amber Ewing Brittany Manuel Charley Lemons Crystal Briscoe Dr. Michelle Corcoran Dr. Donald Higgins Jennie Bono John Viator Justin Holt Megan Norris Melissa Hill Michael Elliot Morgan Turpin





Melissa Bender Kay Morgan Nadine Dunbar Gillis Dr. Brian Harrell Nomica Guillory Tommy McClelland Billy Edwards Jen Kober Lady Holly Hathaway Kaough Becky Dupre Pastor Tony Bourque Aaron Davis Keisha Braxton Payne

Stephanie Karpovs Heather Hidalgo-LaFleur Sophia Simancas Janet Woolman Brittney Glaser Felder James Babin Sharmita Rideau Emily Fenet Parker George Cestia Chelsea Boudreaux Lyle Broussard Christy Duhon Marcus Myers

Candice Alexander Cheyenne Boudreaux Cary Chavis Rachel Garner Hillary Green Katie Harrington Anthony Iannone Sara Lasher Shonda Manuel Beth McGee Beth Melancon Curtis Stewart Lonnie Turpin

Devin Morgan Elizabeth Eustis Keri Hankins Krystle Blue Graham Martin Ronaldo Hardy Laurie Baynard John Reddin Amy Peck Selena Cisneros Blake Brignac Sara Kennison Jessica McBride

FUN FACT Sometimes it's quite hard to get everyone in to take the Thriving 30 Something group picture. Can you spot who are the people who were photoshopped into their month's cover photo?




PASSION I EXCELLENCE I RELIABILITY I COMMITMENT Residential Services Home is where the heart is. With PERC Development and our Construction Services, you'll love the way your residence looks when we're done with the job.

Commercial Services Establishing a solid base of operations can be crucial for any business. PERC Development can provide the construction services your business requires acting as a General Contractor or through our construction management process.

Construction Management Under the Construction Management delivery system, PERC Development provides experienced leadership throughout the construction process including design review, scheduling, cost control, value engineering, constructability, estimating and project management.

1712 Ryan 42 Thrive MagazineStreet, for Better Living Lake • April 2020Charles, LA 70601 I 337.602.3958


T hriving Married Couples

You could say high-achieving, compassionate personalities are drawn to like minds. It’s no surprise there are five instances where both individuals in a married couple have been past Thriving 30-Somethings. Thrive magazine caught up with these folks and asked them how being a thriving couple has affected their relationship with each other and with the community.

Dr. Anatole & Stephanie Kestel Karpovs married December 29, 2001

Stephanie – Private practice speech-language pathologist, Therapy Team leader and feeding specialist in the NICU at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. Anatole – Pediatrician at the Children's Clinic of SWLA and Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist. Thriving personally is great; but combining our strengths, talents and passions has given us the opportunity to grow together and help others to thrive. We've used our own health scares combined with our professional training to help others use food as medicine and combat disease. We’ve attended trainings that allow us to collectively help patients while spending time with each other across the country. We take one day at a time, laughing, praying, and reflecting on the many reasons we have to love being a part of this community.

Dr. Tyson & Hillary Green married June 20, 2003

Hillary – Former teacher turned stay-at-home mom to four kids and an occasional substitute teacher at ICCS. Tyson – Podiatric Specialist/Partner with Center for Orthopaedics. Our relationship was tested and proven when fostering and adopting our daughter. It was a time to rely on each other’s strengths, the same strengths used to thrive as a couple, pushing each other to be resilient. Regarding the community, we have branched out and learned more about the needs of our city and its people. Being a thriving couple gave us the confidence to step out of our comfort zones and continue to be challenged to find new ways to make a difference in our area.

Justin & Melissa Hill married August 11, 2007

Melissa – Owner of Niche Creative Studio. Justin – Head Baseball Coach at McNeese State University. Success should be measured by how much you can help those around you. We like to focus on community outreach that we can do as a family. This way we can support each other and show our children what it means to do a “job” you love but also give back to the community we live in.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

Morgan & Lonnie Turpin married June 28, 2014

Morgan - McNeese State University- College of Business Internship Director. Lonnie - McNeese State University - Associate Professor of Operations and Statistics. We feel very fortunate to serve our students, side-by-side, in the College of Business at McNeese. Through our work at the University and volunteerism in the community, we hope to help others thrive. We support each other in all endeavors—our careers, passions, and service.

Matt Young & Wayne Smith married November 4, 2017

Wayne - Supervisor and Hearing Officer for Calcasieu Parish School Board’s Department of Child Welfare and Attendance. Matt - Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Lake Charles. Matt says, “We’ve learned it’s important to support each other’s professional goals and personal passions. You can’t be so busy chasing your own ambitions that you forget your partner’s dreams.” Wayne adds, “The calendar can get out of control really quickly. We’ve learned to be more intentional with scheduling dates, quiet nights at home, and short weekend trips. I so appreciate the drive Matt brings to the table and being able to run ideas past him is priceless. From new businesses to the growth of homegrown festivals, we are fortunate to be able to experience our thriving community together."

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Noteworthy Past Thriving 30-Somethings —Where are they now? Clair Thomson Marceaux was a 30-Something in 2011. At that time, she worked with the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, overseeing more than $35 million in hurricane recovery projects and was involved in the development of the SEED Center. Since then, Marceaux says she has grown more passionate about participating in regional economic development initiatives. She moved on to positions with Entergy Louisiana, and the Director of Economic Development with the Cameron Parish Police Jury. She currently holds the position of Director of the Cameron Parish Port, Harbor & Terminal District. She has served on numerous boards and was recognized as one of four global nominees by ExxonMobil for its first ever Vanguard Award in 2019, which honors those who display tremendous leadership in the liquified natural gas industry. In 2018, she was awarded the SWLA Economic Development Alliance’s “Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership and Accomplishments for Southwest Louisiana.” Marceaux is currently pursuing a master’s degree in port management.

Dave Evans was also one of our Thirteen Thriving 30-Somethings in 2011. During that time, he championed downtown Lake Charles development, including his popular restaurant, Luna Bar and Grill. Nine years later, Evans is still evolving his business and the cultural climate of Lake Charles. Several years ago, he spearheaded the organization of Chuck Fest, a festival celebrating music, food, and art in Lake Charles. Last year, Evans expanded Luna, a fixture on Ryan St. for the past 16 years, into the space next door. This spring, he’s breaking into the Lafayette dining scene with a brick and mortar location. In February of this year, Evans was named the 2020 Restauranteur of the Year by the Louisiana Travel Association. photo courtesy of Chris Brennan

Jen Kober was recognized as a Thriving 30-Something in 2012. That year, she had already built a successful stand-up comedy career in clubs across the country and appeared in several television shows and movies. Since then, Jen has continued to tour nationally and has headlined new markets and larger venues. Her TV and film career has continued with roles on The Middle, The Purge, The Real Husbands of Hollywood, and on the hit Netflix series Dead to Me. She can be seen on the first season of RuPaul’s Netflix sitcom AJ & The Queen, and she has a recurring role on the hit HBO show, The Righteous Gemstones and the Disney+ Diary of a Future President. Jen accepted an award in 2017 and 2018 for best comedic performance on NPR's hit storytelling show Snap Judgment. She’s created a style born out of her humble Lake Charles upbringing where she has always brought folks together by sharing a laugh. “My focus is to make an audience laugh so hard it hurts,” Jen says.

In 2015, 30-Something Mickey Smith, Jr. was a successful saxophonist, an award-winning band director at Maplewood Middle School, and was named a Top 10 Nationwide Finalist for the 2015 GRAMMY Music Educator Award. Since then, Smith remains in his role at Maplewood Middle, but this year, he WON the 2020 GRAMMY for Music Educator! He continues his work with Musicmakers2U, his SOUND180 EDUCATORS program, and is author/ illustrator of his own children's book, The Adventures of Little Mickey: Keep on Going.

46 Thrive Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

A 2013 Thriving 30-Something, Craig Morton, MD, FAAPMR, is a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Center for Orthopaedics and a Fellow of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He has now been with the group for 13 years, providing non-surgical pain management for injuries and pain of the spine and musculoskeletal system. He has taken his mission of helping his patients live pain-free lives way beyond his medical office. Dr. Morton founded Innovations in Wellness in 2013 to work toward improving quality of life through innovative wellness products and media solutions. Under this parent company, he has successfully launched RehabZone, a home exercise video program for back, hip, and knee pain, and AcuPlus, an FDA-registered all-natural pain relief cream that promotes healing and recovery. Both products are very successful and are likely just the beginning for this physician entrepreneur. Just recently, Dr. Morton launched a podcast with two friends called “Who’s Driving My Car?”

Lyle Broussard was a 30-Something in 2014. At that time, he was room chef at Jack Daniel’s Bar & Grill, L’Auberge Casino Resort, a role he fills to this day. But since that time, Broussard’s talent in the kitchen has brought gumbo pots full of culinary kudos to Southwest Louisiana. In the past six years, he’s participated in and placed or won dozens of seafood and gumbo cook offs. He represents SWLA by cooking in culinary tours around the country. He has won tourism and “Best Chef” awards. He’s been the subject of countless magazine articles. In 2016, Broussard was part of a documentary made at Dillard University called The Black Hand in the Pot­—the Story of Creole Cooking.

Leading the Nation’s Energy Independence (337) 775-5206

Clair Hebert Marceaux, Director 2011 Class of Thriving 30-Somethings


Home & Family A Car Traveler's Handbook

Road Ready

If social distancing and self-isolation have given you a case of cabin fever, a therapeutic road trip might be the cure you’re looking for. The reality is, we are under state-mandated orders to stay at home as much as possible until (at the time of this writing) at least April 12. We have no idea what social distancing will look like moving forward into the coming months. But hey, we can dream and make tentative plans, right! So, from pre-trip car maintenance and destination suggestions to car seat safety, when we are once again free to move about the country, we’ll have you on the road in no time!

WE ARE HERE FOR YOU. At Access of Louisiana Federal Credit Union, we are prepared to continue offering you, our members, unparalleled financial services. As we monitor the local outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to assure our members – we have a comprehensive business continuity plan in place, allowing us to provide uninterrupted access to your funds during such events. Access of Louisiana FCU remains as focused as ever on the financial wellness of the community we serve. We have implemented several solutions to address your financial needs during this situation.

Please contact us for help. Sulphur • Westlake • Lake Charles 337-533-1808 •

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Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

Ready, Set, Roadtrip

But is your car ready? If you have a road trip lined up anywhere in your future, we want you to be ready. There are several things on your car you should double-check before descending down the highway, lest you find yourself broken down in Roswell, New Mexico, avoiding alien abductions while waiting for a mechanic to come to your rescue. Inspect your tires. In preparation for travel, check the tire pressure of all your tires, especially your spare tire. The spare is often overlooked and most don’t have sensors on them, and it’s too late to worry about it when you’re on the road. When inspecting your tires, besides pressure, you’re mostly looking at the condition of the tires’ tread, for anything that looks like damage to the outer wall, or even something as simple as a missing valve cap.

by Matt Dye

While any of these should be a reason to replace a tire in the first place, the need becomes more dire when you embark upon a 1,000-mile car trip. Check and top off all the fluid levels. Most of these can be taken care of with a pre-car trip oil change, but if you’re only a month out of your previous oil change, you may elect to wait until after your road trip to change it again. Still, fluids such as brake, transmission, radiator, and even wiper fluid should all be set to maximum levels. Depending on the age of your car, you may also want to carry extra fluids in your trunk if your car is known to have slow leaks; and a bottle of water can save an overheating radiator in a pinch. Check all your lights . . . headlights, taillights, blinkers, and brake lights. Full visibility is important when you’re heading into new adventures; and the last thing you want to see is flashing lights in your rearview 30 minutes into your trip because you’ve got a blinker out. That said, depending on your type of car, you should also plan out rough ideas of where you’ll stop for gas. Whether you’re filling up with pure petrol or taking it on the Tesla rechargeable level, you don’t want to find yourself down to 20 miles left in the tank and no sign of civilization on the horizon.

Pack all your phone chargers, external batteries, and/or wireless hotspots. While most of the nation can boast 4/5G coverage across the board, you don’t want your car to die in the middle of the Texas panhandle with no signal and a dead phone. To save money, eat healthier, and simply for the fun of it, pack a cooler with sandwiches, fruit, drinks, and healthy snacks. Most Americans eat too much fast food during road trips for convenience. But you never know when you’ll spy the perfect spot for a picnic! Up to date inspection sticker. One more thing. Remember to check your inspection sticker to be sure it won’t expire before the end of your trip.


Places & Faces | Road Ready – A Car Traveler’s Handbook

Road Trippin’ Where are you Headed? by Madelaine Brauner Landry

Some wise sage once noted that we travel not to escape life, but so that life does not escape us. Admittedly, we do not know how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect us all in the months to come. We do not know at what point in time road trips will be advisable. But once they are, pack your bags! Read on for some suggestions. Road trips can be equal parts exhilarating and overwhelming. Savvy travelers know that planning and spontaneity are not a contradiction-interms. Want your next highway getaway to be your best road trip ever? Start with research! Ask for recommendations, read online travel blogs, contact local Chambers of Commerce and Visitors Bureaus, and watch travel shows. Diverse destinations abound, so prioritize. What do you like, what haven’t you tried, and what is available within reasonable driving distances? If festivals are not your thing, there are road trips to entice every personality. Pack a picnic lunch, throw in some automobile-friendly entertainment for the kids, and map out an off-the-beaten-path scenic route. Getting there really can be half the fun. Opt for creative accommodations with themed hotels; mom-and-pop B&Bs; state park RV, cabins, and campgrounds; as well as haunted mansions and hunting lodges—all available from Lake Charles to the Gulf Coast, Cameron to Shreveport, and every point in-between.Curious travelers can review options at www.louisianatravel. com/places-to-stay. Neighboring states beckon to be explored as well. Drive-friendly Texas destinations range from regions like the Gulf Coast, Piney Woods, Prairies and Lakes, and Hill Country. Our neighbor to the west can claim some of the best beaches in our region. There’s 350 miles of sand, sea and surf 50

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

waiting for beach lovers from South Padre Island to Louisiana’s border, as well as botanical gardens, birding, and fishing. Review the possibilities at Consider the Guadalupe River, just a short drive from San Antonio and Austin. Fishing, swimming, tubing, and canoeing are available, as well as campsites, hiking, and birdwatching. The Frio River is another nearby option, winding through the Texas hill country. Its devotees rave about its crystal-clear, spring-fed waters. Road tripping for a few miles with your family, complete with a homepacked picnic, is a gateway to a great adventure. In a few hours, you can arrive at rivers with limestone bluffs and family fun in the water. Sounds like a great cure for spring fever and ward off the summertime blues. Arkansas is nicknamed the Natural State for its Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, rivers, lakes and picturesque waterfalls. A few hours’ drive will get you to the Buffalo River – the first designated national river in the U.S. Float trips, clear water, and towering bluffs are must-sees. Located in the Ozarks, the Arkansas Grand Canyon offers incredible views close to home. Lake Chicot sits just west of the Mississippi River in the southeast corner of the state. Publicized as the largest natural lake in Arkansas, it is also famed as the largest oxbow lake in North America. Louisiana fishermen, birders and wildlife lovers will feel at home among the cypress stumps that give the lake its name.


From Clarksdale to Vicksburg, Mississippi is known for the blues, camping, nightlife, literature and great places to stay, play and eat. And don’t overlook Mississippi’s beaches! Explore the barrier islands just miles off the mainland of Coastal Mississippi. Ship Island is one of the most accessible thanks to the ferry service leaving out of Gulfport and Biloxi. Dolphin-watch on gorgeous white-sand beaches; catch the sunset on a magic evening cruise. Snorkel, shell-search, swim, and glimpse local island wildlife with a view unspoiled by high-rise condos or traffic. Suggested itineraries can be found at With over 1,630 miles of coastline, the Gulf of Mexico in our southern backyard is a road-tripper’s paradise. Coastal boat ramps, fishing piers, and marinas, as well as beaches and wildlife preserves await your discovery. The point of a road trip is to have the freedom to go anywhere and stop on a whim. Done right, you don’t take a trip, it takes you. Along your route, make time to listen to stories, savor the food, tap your toes to the music, and embrace the history at each destination. Pack those you love alongside you, then step on the gas!





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Places & Faces | Road Ready – A Car Traveler’s Handbook

Buckle Up

Car Seat Safety for Your Kids

by Keaghan P. Wier

Car seats -- they’re the source of much discussion and research. They’re listed alongside diapers and wipes as a an absolute necessity before bringing baby home. While we can’t tell you what color or brand to choose, we can share some tips on car seat safety and how to make sure your little ones are protected when you hit the road. Numbers to Know Almost everything you need to know about car seat safety comes down to numbers. Weights and ages are crucial benchmarks for knowing when your child is ready for the next car seat stage and what will keep them safest. In 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated their recommendations on rear-facing versus front-facing. Now, they advise that children remain rear-facing as long as possible, meaning until they hit the maximum weight or height for their seat. Just like with rear-facing, current recommendations say that children should stay in their front-facing car seat until they hit the maximum height or weight. When that happens, they should move to a booster seat until the car’s seatbelt fits appropriately — usually when they are about 4 FEET 9 INCHES in height and 8 TO 12 YEARS OLD.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020


• Rear-facing until 2 YEARS OLD • Front-facing with a five-point harness from 2 TO 4 YEARS OLD

• Booster seat from 4 TO 9 YEARS OLD • In the backseat until 13 YEARS OLD Keep in mind that the laws are the minimum requirements. If your child is small for their age, they may need to stay in a certain type of seat longer than their peers. Installation First of all, parents should know that if they have any questions about the installation of their car seat, they should contact a licensed car seat installation expert. Alternatively, visit and check your zip code to find an inspection location near you. Many police departments will conduct car seat inspections, as well.

Before starting your installation, read through your car seat’s manual. If your car has a LATCH system, you may choose to use that instead of a seatbelt to secure the seat. Your vehicle owner’s manual should have instructions on how to use it. If you choose a seatbelt, then you must make sure that the seatbelt locks. A good rule of thumb is that if you can move the car seat at the belt path more than an inch from side to side, it’s too loose. For straps, you should not be able to pinch any slack between your fingers when your child is fastened in. In addition, never use a car seat that is expired, was in a car crash, or has been recalled. Following these guidelines will keep your kids safe on the road and free your mind from worrying. More energy for road trip games and singalongs this summer!


Home & Family

e m o H t e e w S : e m o H

A Real Estate Guide

According to, 40% of Americans say buying a home is the most stressful life event. Selling a home can be equally stressful. But there are ways to ease the anxiety. For example, hiring a real estate agent to help you through the process can provide peace of mind that you’re making the best decisions for you. Thrive magazine is here to help, too. In this year’s Real Estate Guide, you’ll find articles on the perks of hiring an agent, the importance of high-quality real estate photography, and the allure of downsizing and tiny homes.

Finding the Keys You Need for 30 Years CENTURY 21 Bessette Realty is celebrating 30 years of realty success. From first homes to new homes and the excitement of businesses opening, we’re proud to have been a key part of the growth in Southwest Louisiana. Your trust and confidence is what motivates our team every day. As we move into the next decade, we renew our commitment to service and sales excellence, and welcome the opportunity to be your Realtor® for life! | 474-2185 3025 Lake Street, Lake Charles Each office independently owned and operated. Licensed by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

Tiny Houses can Mean

Major Happiness For as long as most of us can remember, living the typical American Dream has meant owning a house big enough for an entire family plus a spare bedroom. But many – from empty-nesters whose children have moved away to young people just starting out – are beginning to embrace the idea of “tiny houses,” or miniscule domiciles that save money and conserve energy. If you’ve heard of the trend and wonder what it’s like to drastically downsize, here are a few facts about tiny houses. THEY’RE CHEAPER According to LendingTree’s analysis of the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the average monthly mortgage payment in America is around $1029, and the average homeowner spends about 14.84 percent of their income on a mortgage. However, a leading source of information on the tiny house movement,, reports that a tiny house costs just $23,000 to build on average, compared to the $272,000 national average for full-sized homes. That leaves a lot of money left over for travel, retirement savings, or sending kids to college. Bills for utilities, like electricity and water, are obviously much less expensive in a tiny home as well.

by Emily Alford

BUT THEY ARE, WELL, TINY If you’re accustomed to having a lot of space, tiny living might take some getting used to. According to The Tiny Life, these smaller living spaces are typically only around 100 to 400 square feet, as opposed to the average American home, which is about 2,600. Tiny living requires thoughtful planning and clever storage ideas, such as using a staircase as a dresser or experimenting with murphy beds. A tiny home also requires a penchant for neatness and organization, as it will look messy a lot faster than a normal-sized living space with a few sweaters thrown around or a couple of dishes left in the sink. HAVING LESS STUFF MIGHT MEAN MORE HAPPINESS The recent Marie Kondo-led Konmari movement is all about minimizing clutter to maximize contentment. The theory is that many of us hang on to a bunch of junk that doesn’t “spark joy,” in Kondo’s words. Letting go of the possessions that ultimately possess us has led many to report feeling much happier and less stressed. CHECK OUT ZONING LAWS BEFORE JUMPING IN Unfortunately, many towns haven’t caught up to the tiny home craze. In fact, in many American towns and cities, domiciles must be a certain size, and that size is often much bigger than 200 square feet. If you’re considering making the switch to tiny living, make sure to check with your town zoning board.


Home & Family | Home Sweet Home: A Real Estate Guide

DON’T D I Y Real Estate by Madelaine Br auner Landry

Would you consider a DIY appendectomy or triple bypass? Or trust placing a DIY crown or filling in your mouth? Some things are simply better left to the professionals. First-time home buyers and sellers, as well as experienced property owners know that working with real estate professionals is beneficial. You can DIY online research, talk to friends, and prioritize your personal desires and needs. But don’t let a false sense of confidence rob you of essential expertise and potential profit when it comes to real estate transactions. For many, home purchasing represents one of the biggest financial decisions a person makes. Practical information is vital. What are the neighborhood’s comparable sales, its history, its nearby conveniences, and facilities? REALTORS® can effectively assess your expectations and offer insight into properties that buyers and sellers may not consider. They have access to essential legal services. Without this, you could enter a binding contract that costs more than a commission. REALTORS® also screen clients to be sure they are pre-approved and able to purchase your home before bringing them to your property. A REALTOR® is your representative when buying or selling homes and property. They set up viewing appointments, find valuable information on your interests, and are seasoned price negotiators. Sure, you possess the capability to do these things yourself, but consider that REALTORS® have ready access to reputable lenders, appraisers, and inspectors. They can recommend other valuable service providers. Furthermore, they are licensed professionals. Melissa Hamilton, Sales Manager and Associate Broker with Flavin Realty, notes that REALTORS® must not only attend classes, but pass both state and federal tests to become licensed. “To be a licensed REALTOR® in the state of Louisiana, you must complete 90 hours of real estate education in courses approved by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission before taking the national and state licensing exam. In addition to the pre-licensing course requirements, you must also complete 45 hours 56

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

of post-licensing courses within 180 days of passing both national and state licensing exams. All candidates for licensing must pass a background check. And all REALTORS® are required by the National Association of REALTORS® to adhere to a Code of Ethics by taking a Code of Ethics class every two years. What does this mean to consumers? It means that any REALTOR® whom you work with has voluntarily agreed to abide by a Code of Ethics, based on professionalism and protection of the public.” Having a REALTOR® by your side means hiring someone for convenience and expertise. As price negotiators, they barter for you as a neutral party. Have concerns or questions about the property you are buying or selling? Your REALTOR® is there to represent YOUR best interests. A REALTOR® is trained to convey these appropriately to the purchaser or seller—the standards for professionalism are high in this competitive career. When hiring a REALTOR®, do your due diligence before signing a contract—what are your expectations, requirements, and real estate goals? State these clearly as you interview for their services. You can review listings and marketing materials for information you want on any property, but the real estate process requires human communication skills on all sides. The DIY skills of asking, listening, and learning still apply. For more information or to make an appointment, call Flavin Realty at 337-478-8530.

REALTOR® Recap Why you need a professional

AN EXPERT GUIDE Selling or buying a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other technical documents. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes. OBJECTIVE INFORMATION AND OPINIONS REALTORS® can provide local information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They also have objective information about each property.

PROPERTY MARKETING POWER Property doesn’t sell due to advertising alone. A large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner’s contacts with previous clients, friends, and family. When a property is marketed by a REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property. NEGOTIATION KNOWLEDGE There are many factors up for discussion in a deal. A REALTOR® will look at every angle from your perspective, including crafting a purchase agreement that allows you the flexibility you need to take that next step. ETHICAL TREATMENT Every REALTOR® must adhere to a strict code of ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. As a REALTOR®’s client, you can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters.

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Focus on

Home & Family | Home Sweet Home: A Real Estate Guide

Professional Real Estate PHOTOGRAPHY to Get the Most Out of Your Home Sale by Angie Kay Dilmore According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), homebuyers who searched for a home on the internet found photos to be among the most useful features. Digital images can quickly and professionally showcase a listing, and today’s tech-savvy clients appreciate the convenience of a virtual tour for both long distance and local moves. But who will photograph your home for the quickest sale and the highest offer? The Center for REALTOR® Development reports that homes with high quality photography sell faster and bring in higher offers. Dustin and Derek Gaspard, co-owners of Parish Pix, a local professional real estate photography business, say that almost 99% of home buyers search online for a home before even contacting a REALTOR®. “So high quality real estate photography is crucial in today’s market,” says Dustin. In other words, cell phone photos just don’t cut it anymore. REALTORS® are experiencing the value of hiring professional real estate photographers. Carly Brouillette, a REALTOR® with Keller Williams in Lake Charles, says it is important to


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

showcase a property to its fullest potential. “Professional photographers have the equipment and skill set to enhance the beauty of a home and make it possible to see more of the home in one shot by using a wide-angle lens,” she says. “I quickly learned that owning a fancy camera does not make a person a professional photographer. Great pictures of a home get buyers in the door, which is half the battle. After a buyer arrives, the home will speak for itself.” There are several benefits of professional real estate photography to both REALTORS® and home sellers. REALTORS® who hire professional photographers can assure their sellers they are doing everything the can to sell the home; up to 50% faster and 39% closer to the list price, according to Gaspard. Redfin, a real estate brokerage based in Seattle, reports that homes listed with professional photography sell for an average of $11,000 over market value. Professional photographers save REALTORS® time and effort that can instead be used to concentrate on growing their business. Start to finish, it requires from two to ten hours to create high quality listing photos.

Professional photography gives a listing that WOW factor that will make a home stand out in the crowd and draw in more buyers. Photographers can offer packages with a large number of photos. The Center for REALTOR® Development reports that a home with one photo spends an average 70 days on the market, but a home with 20 photos spends approximately 32 days on the market. Professional photographers offer several unique services often not offered by the REALTORS® themselves. Professional photos can be edited to give a home a polished image. Some real estate photography businesses, including Parish Pix, also offer drone shots, giving the buyer a sense of what the yard and neighborhood look like. They can create twilight shots, turn gray skies to blue, change brown grass to an inviting green, edit out clutter from a room, even put a virtual fire in a fireplace! They can digitally add furniture and home décor to “stage” a vacant or sparsely furnished home. Brouillette says she has used this service with noticeably better results. “It is also highly affordable when compared to actual staging.”

Homes in the $200,000-$300,000 range can benefit from professional photography and are the easiest to attract more sellers when professional photography is used. It is expected that homes greater than $300,000 have highend photography taken with other add-ons such as drone photography and video content. But even less expensive homes can benefit from great photography if they bring in more buyers and offers and sell more quickly. When considering hiring a professional real estate photographer, you’re not only purchasing amazing photos; you’re buying photos that will grab people’s attention and attract eager buyers to your home. Brouillette says, “Professional real estate photography is truly an artform and I think it’s best to leave it to the professionals.”


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Home & Family

SELFSTORAGE: YOUR SPRING Cleaning Solution by Lauren Morris

Spring is a lot different this year thanks to the COVID-19 public health threat, but there’s something about the beginning of this season that still triggers the urge to do some spring cleaning. Whether you’re a parent trying to juggle homeschooling and work or you’re a single adult who has run through every show you can possibly stream on Netflix, we could all use a little shake-up in our daily activities. Take advantage of this extra time at home to reorganize and set your spring cleaning into motion. One of the best ways to do this is with a self-storage unit.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

At a time when we want to set our sights on anything that means sun and warmth, Christmas decorations, sweaters, boots, and other winter-related items are simply the cause of sore eyes these days. Luckily, a lot of those space-stealers that come with winter are easy to let go of and put away until next fall. “The best place to start is by packing up anything you know you won’t touch until next fall or winter. Seasonal items that are lying around or in your closets that you won’t need for six to nine months at a time are the perfect items to store away,” Jennifer Watts, manager of Neighborhood Mini Storage, points out. Spring – especially this year – is great for projects, and sometimes that means shuffling things around your house a bit. “Projects like painting, putting together new furniture, and especially doing a full remodel, can be taxing in and of themselves, so to clear out the extra items that might get in the way while trying to accomplish those goals, is a really good idea,” says Watts. Similarly, with many of us working from home or helping our kids with their schoolwork, setting up designated places for those activities also causes need for extra space. Relocating those temporarily unused items to a self-storage unit will keep them out of the way and avoid causing extra frustration when tensions are already a bit high. The chaos that is the items that you use infrequently but that can’t be thrown away is what causes a lot of the clutter in your house. Those cabinets you convince yourself you don’t need to use, the ever-so-common “junk drawer” that

everyone has but doesn’t admit to, that little corner of the spare bedroom that has become a catch-all, and those organizing shelves in the garage that are definitely not organized are often the spaces in our homes that could be used for better things, if we would take action on those untouched dust-collectors. Book collections, baby items, heirlooms, antiques, a college student’s belongings – these can all be put away in a self-storage unit, freeing up so much room in your home. “If you will be storing sensitive items that you would not store well in a garage or attic, choose an indoor climate-controlled unit that will protect your cherished possessions,” advises Watts. All this decluttering will allow you to use the space in better ways and make you feel less “cluttered” yourself. It’s proven that an organized home makes for less anxiety and less stress – something we could all use right now. It’s the perfect time to make things easier on yourself by renting a self-storage unit. You won’t regret the ease that it adds to readying your home for the upcoming summer days – the summer days that will hopefully bring us much to celebrate. Visit for information on locations in Lake Charles, Sulphur or Moss Bluff. They also have boxes, packing supplies and moving equipment to help you organize and transport the items you are putting in storage.


Home & Family


Make a

this Summer


S a l e s @ S a b i n e Po o l s . c o m 62

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

3213 COMMON ST. LAKE CHARLES LA 70601 337-433-1193

! n i e v i D

Considering Becoming a Swimmer? by Emily Alford

For most kids, summertime means one thing: entire days spent splashing in the pool. However, as many of us grow older, swimming seems to get lost in the shuffle as we replace the good old-fashioned back stroke with more structured exercise routines involving endless classes, crunches, and kettle bells. However, there’s plenty of evidence supporting the idea that many of us had it right as children, when exercise meant spending time playing Marco Polo. Here are some of the benefits of adding swimming to your exercise routine.

PLUS, IT’S A TOTAL MOOD BOOSTER According to a 2004 study published in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health, people who swam regularly for four months found themselves to be more “energetic, active and brisk” than the control group. Additionally, those suffering from complaints like fibromyalgia, rheumatism, and asthma had the added bonus of pain reduction, which is surely a mood elevator. If you’re considering adding swimming to your exercise routine, experts recommend staring slow, with 30-minute sessions three times a week.

SWIMMING IMPROVES POSTURE Unfortunately, most of us spend our days indoors hunched over desks and clacking away at computers. Not only is sitting all day not great for the body, but the imperfect posture most of us use when typing is bad for the back and can lead to all sorts of aches and pains. When we swim, our bodies naturally stretch, and this stretching can lead to better posture in the long term along with fewer back woes. AND PROVIDES A FULL-BODY WORKOUT Unlike many gym activities, which only focus on one area of the body at a time, it takes pretty much every muscle we have to propel ourselves through water, from arms and legs to the abdominal muscles. Plus, swimming gives the heart a great workout at the same time. Instead of spinning on an exercise bike before hitting the free weights and the leg press, why not get a total workout all at once with a nice 30-minute swim? THAT YOU WON’T NECESSARILY FEEL THE NEXT DAY In many gyms the motto is “no pain, no gain,” but that’s not necessarily true of swimming. While diving right in to an Olympic training session might make one plenty sore the next day, those who ease into it will most likely feel great after a swimming session. The body’s buoyancy in the water means there’s no acute pressure on any singular area at one time, making swimming ideal for people with joint pain or osteoarthritis who might find other means of exercise too painful.

Butch Ferdinandsen

CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, CRPS, CRPC Investment Advisor Representative Securities and investment advisory services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. (WFS), member FINRA/SIPC. WFS is separately owned and other entities and/or marketing names, products or services referenced here are independent of WFS.

2356 E McNeese St #100, Lake Charles, LA 70607 • 337-491-9236


Home & Family | Make a Splash this Summer: A POOL GUIDE

e n i r o Chl vs. Saltwater WHICH POOL IS R I G HT FO R YO U by Rachel W. Jones

As the days get longer and warmer, many SWLA residents are eager for their first dip into a pool after the long winter hiatus. But the type of water in your pool is an important decision to make, whether you currently have a pool or are considering spring home improvements. Is traditional chlorine or a saltwater pool the right choice for you? It’s important to consider the experience you’re seeking with your backyard pool, says Beth Frey, Inground Pool Sales Specialist at Sabine Pools, Spas & Furniture, and a misconception often arises when comparing the two types of pools. “Even though we all refer to pools as salt or chlorine, that ‘OR’ is inaccurate,” Frey says. “They are both chlorine pools, but in salt pools, an extra component called a salt generator extracts the chlorine from the salt – which if you recall from Chemistry class is NaCl, or sodium chloride. “In a saltwater pool, salt and other water care products are added to the pool. In a chlorine pool, chemicals are added to the pool with nothing but a pump required. Besides the additional equipment required in a salt pool, the other thing to keep in mind is that salt is corrosive.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

You would not want wrought iron patio furniture or fixtures if you have a salt pool, and you would also need to closely monitor pH to avoid metal stains in the pool.” For perspective, the ocean is more than 10 times “saltier” than a saltwater pool. Saltwater pools have approximately 3,000 parts per million (ppm) of salt, while ocean water is approximately 35,000 ppm salt, according to Frey. “When salt pools first became popular, we had more customers asking for the ‘latest and greatest,’ but that trend didn’t stick,” Frey says. "Because of the additional upfront cost, and the recurring costs to replace the salt cell every three years - plus the corrosion factor, most families here don’t choose salt.” Joey Tassin, owner of Sabine Pools, has had both traditional chlorine and saltwater pools for his own family. Now he has an ultraviolet system designed to provide an even cleaner, clearer swimming environment with no harmful byproducts. “We have a chlorine-based pool, and we use something called a UV (ultraviolet) system that enhances what chlorine can do in the pool,” Tassin said. “The saltwater was a little too harsh on the products I was putting around the pool. Even deck equipment, like the softer stones, the saltwater gets in there when it dries and it wants to create problems for those stones sometimes. So the UV system is great to help reduce weekly maintenance.”

While saltwater can corrode pool or deck equipment, chlorine can be rougher on the body. Frey says saltwater pools are viewed as safer for that reason. “Salt is touted as a safer alternative because you don’t have to keep chlorine on hand, and some folks think you just add salt,” Frey says. “But, you still have to use additional pool chemicals. Besides adding the salt, you still have to treat the water to keep correct pH and alkalinity levels. Salt is also easier on the eyes, hair, skin and clothes, as long as it is used properly. That is not really a safety issue, but is more about the quality of the experience.” So, what’s the bottom line? For Frey, whether you prefer chlorine, saltwater or even an ultraviolet pool system, exercise basic safety rules to ensure fun swimming and family time for years to come. “No matter which type you choose, the first layer of protection for children is that they are ALWAYS supervised near and in the pool,” Frey says. “And, no matter which type you choose, all cleaners, chemicals and maintenance supplies should be kept in a locked storage area, away from children and pets.” Sabine Pools is located at 3213 Common St, Lake Charles. For more information, call 337-433-1193.

Trust Your Policy


to the experts.

PROS More affordable, small routine expenses Easier on pool equipment CONS Weekly, sometimes daily, addition of chlorine needed Chlorine tablets will contain chemical by-products; harsher on the skin, eyes and hair

Saltwater PROS Gentler on the skin, eyes, hair and clothes Natural chlorine already present, so fewer chemical additions required CONS Large initial investment; should change salt cell regularly (every 3 years) Corrosion factor makes it not ideal for certain metal pool equipment/accessories

Dana Sorrells

Pam Thompson

Producer (337) 421-1255

Agency Manager/Producer (337) 421-1252

Free Policy Review at

(337) 421-1291

Insurance products are not insured by any federal government agency. Not FDIC insured; not guaranteed by the bank. Insurance is offered through First Federal Insurance Services, LLC, a registered agency in the state of Louisiana. First Federal Insurance Services, LLC, is a service corporation of First Federal Bank of Louisiana.



Spring is here, and it’s time to make your yard beautiful! We can help. We’ll create a plan, help you choose the plants from our huge retail nursery, lay out your beds and guide you as you create the yard of your dreams. If you need custom design and installation, we can handle that too.

5005 Cobra Road, Lake Charles (337) 478-3836 M-F: 7am – 4pm Sat: 8am – 2pm (Seasonal Hours)


Home & Family | Make a Splash this Summer: A POOL GUIDE

s y o T Pool s e m a &G by Kristian Bland

Swimming pool fun has come a long way since the days of diving for pennies or yelling, “Fish out of water!” during a game of Marco Polo. Today’s kids (and adults) have access to a wide variety of unique and interesting pool toys.

One of the coolest and most Southern toys has to be InflatA-Bull from Intex. Picture an inflatable bull mounted in the center of an inner tube by a series of bouncy connective straps. Yep, it’s a bull-riding toy for the pool. It’s also a very social toy, since the more people jostle about in the water, the more waves will hit and bounce the bull around with the goal of knocking the rider off. Floats are great for lazy days of lounging around and enjoying the breeze gently rock you around the pool, but they don’t have to be solo anymore. There are many multi-person floats on the market these days, but the one that beats them all is Swimline’s Inflatable Pizza Slice, which is exactly what it sounds like: a float in the shape of a giant slice of pizza. However, the best part is that you can combine eight of them into a circle to create one large pizza with your friends.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

Kids can act out their inner hamster fantasies with the Inflatable Water Wheel from Greenco. It’s basically a hamster wheel for the pool that kids can either use as a float or, if they’re coordinated enough, as an endless treadmill they can crawl, walk, or run inside. Bigger kids (of the over 21 variety) can get in on the pool toy fun as well since there are multiple beer pong sets available. There are also rock climbing walls that mount over the edge of the pool so you’ll land safely in the water when you either lose your grip and fall or make it to the top and just want a quick way down. Then there are the classics like diving sticks to pick up from the bottom of the pool or diving rings that hover under the surface to create a fun obstacle course for kids and adults alike. One toy adults and kids can have fun with together is a crazy little Log Flume Jousting Set from Swimline. Shaped like two logs upon which each person tries to stay upright, both come equipped with a double-ended inflatable jousting stick to be used in epic poolside combat as each person tries to knock the other from their log. These are but a few of the coolest pool toys out there just waiting for you to have fun with during the lazy days of summer. Still, there’s nothing wrong with a good, old-fashioned game of Marco. . . . . . Polo!

Boombox Pops Opens New Stores in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles BOOMBOX Frozen Pops and Ice Cream, formerly Pops and Rockets, has signed a deal with Lake Charles-based Bringing the BOOM, LLC to open two new stores. The first store, opening this month, is located at 4410 Highland Road in Baton Rouge, just south of Louisiana State University next to Fat Cow Burger and the Drunken Fish restaurants. The second location, opening May 2020, will be located at 2825 Country Club Road in Lake Charles in the new CC’s Corner shopping center, anchored by the new CC’s Coffee House and (coming soon) Wildwood Pizza of Alexandria. Nick Villaume, BOOMBOX’s Founder and CEO, announced that BOOMBOX now offers franchises in markets in Louisiana and is looking to begin opening stores in Texas as well. BOOMBOX was founded in 2014 as Pops and Rockets and has had their original scoop shop in Downtown Lake Charles since the spring of 2017. They currently offer 16 different flavors of frozen pops and ice cream as well as floats, shakes, malts, and (coming soon) gourmet ice cream sundaes. For more information and digital assets, email Gubers of SEXT Brings Food Delivery Service to SWLA Gubers of SETX, a successful locally-owned food delivery service based in the Southeast Texas area for the past four years with over 200 participating restaurants, has expanded into

the Lake Area as Gubers of SWLA. Gubers offers exemplary serve to both their participating restaurants and their delivery service clients. Unlike most delivery services, Gubers accepts cash in addition to credit cards, they do not markup menu prices, and they charge zero fees or percentages to the restaurants, allowing them to keep all profits. The company has recently changed several pricing policies. They dropped their service fee to 13% from 15% (Thrive reported this figure in error in the March issue), discontinued the credit card fee, and ended the minimum order requirement, though orders of less than $15 will incur a surcharge. Gubers provides service up to 20 miles from each restaurant; and delivery is mileage-based, starting at $1.99! Their app is available for both iPhone and Android. If you are interested in trying Gubers, they are offering a one-time $5 discount on any order with this promo code: THRIVE5. For more information, call 409-209-9009. Investar Bank Introduces Mobile Wallet Offering Investar Bank, National Association (“Investar”) is now offering mobile wallet options using your Investar Visa® debit or credit card with Apple PayTM, Google PayTM or Samsung Pay. This new category of service has transformed mobile payments with its easy, secure and private way to pay. Whether you have an Apple® or Android phone, using your phone or smart watch to pay instead of reaching for a wallet is more convenient. Simply add your Investar

Visa® debit or credit card to your mobile wallet. It is easy to set up and easy to use. Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay are fast, simple ways to pay and protect card information. The actual credit and debit card numbers are not stored on the mobile device. Even when you forget your wallet, you probably didn’t forget your phone so making purchases can still happen. Customers can pay confidently while on the go. If you are interested in this new offering, simply download the app for your phone then add your card to your mobile wallet today. If you experience any issues or have any questions, please contact us toll-free at 855.306.8574. APEX Development Specialists Complete Training Ray Wright, Technical Director of APEX Disaster Specialist of Louisiana is pleased to announce that Development Specialists Lauren Aquillard and Barrett Labrie recently completed an intensive eight-day sales development training program. The training involved the study of Key Performance Indicators (KPI), route development, time management, defining needs analysis, goal setting and in-depth relationship building strategies. APEX Disaster Specialists is the premier mold remediation and water damage repair service in Louisiana. We have rebuilt homes, businesses and lives for thousands of residents along the gulf coast.


Meeting the Demand

During these unprecedented times, local industries are producing essential products and supplies needed every day, but especially in the fight against COVID-19. Fuel and energy, vinyl used in the healthcare field, ingredients for hand sanitizers, liquid soap and products for disinfecting and cleaning are in desperate need right now and we’re meeting the demand. We continue to work in a safe, efficient manner, with the health and safety of our employees, contractors and their families top of mind. We’re committed to our community and we take seriously our obligation to continue delivering these essential products for businesses and families even in the most difficult of times.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • April 2020

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