Thrive August 2021

Page 1


Lake Area

& culture


INDUSTRY 411 Education Super


first person with

Clerc Bertrand

Executive Director, McNeese Athletic Foundation


Rehabilitation Hospital

of Jennings


• Brain Injury

• Hip Fractures

• Strokes

• Osteoarthritis/DJD

• Amputations

• Neurological Disorders

• Burns

• Spinal Cord Injury

• Major Multiple Trauma

• Congenital Deformities

• Rheumatoid Arthritis

• Systemic Vasculidities

• Joint Replacements

Others who can benefit from inpatient rehabilitation are postoperative patients, accident victims and cancer patients. 24 Hour Nursing Care • Physical Therapy • Occupational Therapy Speech Therapy • Nutritional Counseling and Monitoring Case Management Call for a free assessment today. One Hospital Drive, Ste. 101 • Jennings, LA 70546 • Phone: (337) 821-5353 • Fax: (337) 821-5355 or 5366 • 2

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021


Dragons Are Coming!

The wait is almost over Southwest Louisiana – dragon boat excitement is on its way with more fun, food and activities than ever before. Mark your calendars – something for everyone!

Proceeds to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network of SWLA

DRAGON BOAT CHRISTUS Oschner RACES Foundation Change kids’ health and change the future! Our KIDS’ QUEST Kids’ Quest activities will keep mind and body

Dating back over 2,000 years, dragon boat races got their start in China and you can watch them battle right here in Lake Charles. Support your favorite team or just cheer on the fun!

active all day. • Raingutter Regatta – build your own dragon boat!

• Build a Birdhouse • Kiwanis Activity Tent • Healthy Blue • Big Brothers Big Sisters of SWLA – cornhole game • SWLA Master Naturalists


Even dragons need to eat! Sample the fare from area food trucks to keep fueled up for fun.



• Mr. Gatti’s Pizza • Tikiz Shaved Ice & Ice Cream • Cajun Ambrosia • Kona Ice

For information on sponsorship opportunities, call (337) 430-5353 or visit


Contents In This Issue

Regular Features

Wining & Dining

14 36 37 40 59

8 Fresh Pickin's 10 Fat Pat’s Opening this Fall 11 Rouge et Blanc

Style & Beauty

12 Everything you Need to Know about Brow Lamination


Happenings Business Buzz Solutions for Life Recovery Spotlight Who’s News

Mind & Body

16 When a Wound Won't Heal 18 Allergies and Athletics 19 New LA Cancer Screening Initiative

Money & Career

20-34 SPECIAL SECTION: 35 Safety Council of SWLA


Places & Faces


Arts & Culture




first person -Clerc Bertrand


58 Dr. David Drez Chair at LSU School of Medicine

Home & Family

60-65 SPECIAL SECTION: 66 Call Me Mister

Ed u c

Supaetiorn heroes by Angie Kay


@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 • August 2021

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















/LAubergeLC /LAubergeLC /LAubergeLC@LAubergeLC @LAubergeLC @LAubergeLC @LAubergeLC

Tickets available on Tickets Tickets available available on on 6


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021



8PM 8PM • L’AUBERGE • L’AUBERGE EVENT EVENT CENTER CENTER TicketsTickets available available on on


8PM 8PM • L’AUBERGE • L’AUBERGE EVENT EVENT CENTER CENTER TicketsTickets available available on on


8PM 8PM • L’AUBERGE • L’AUBERGE EVENT EVENT CENTER CENTER TicketsTickets available available on on

LC Must beMust 21 years be 21 ofyears age or ofolder. age or ©2021 older.Penn ©2021 National Penn National Gaming,Gaming, Inc. All rights Inc. All reserved. rights reserved.

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Wining & Dining

s n i k c i P h s e r F LOUISIANA’S BOUNTY IN IOWA by Stefanie Powers

Who doesn’t love fresh, farmstand produce? Head out to Iowa and check out Fresh Pickins. “My Dad, Carl Johnson and I started growing vegetables about 10 years ago,” says daughter Courtney Guillory, who runs the store. “We would compete against each other on who could grow the best garden. We had all these extra vegetables, so we’d put them at the road under a tent with a money box and relied on the honor system. Just ask the customers who have been with us since the beginning. They’ll remember ‘Pay the Lady.’” The demand for fresh produce was so great that eventually, the family decided it was time to expand. Carl and Dana Johnson opened Fresh Pickins in the summer of 2017. “May, June, and July are the busiest months,” says Dana Johnson.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

“During that time, we’re harvesting cucumbers, tomatoes, red potatoes, peppers, beans, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, blackberries, blueberries, corn, okra, etc. We start planting our fall crop in September, and harvest October through December. At that time, we grow mustard greens, turnips, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, satsumas, grapefruit, lemons, and more.” Other items sold at Fresh Pickins include homemade jellies, preserves, and pickles, farm-raised chicken eggs and homemade cakes. “Of course, our most popular items are homegrown fruits and veggies,” says Johnson. “Mayhaw jelly and fig preserves are also very popular. We are all about homemade/homegrown, so we also have wooden items, candles, quilts, etc. all made by family and friends.” Guillory’s husband grew up farming rice, soybeans, crawfish and hay. “So, we are very blessed to have land to grow most of the produce at Fresh Pickins,” she explains. “We also buy from other local farmers and are so thankful for them.”

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Johnson credits the growth of the business in the past few years to family and friends. “One of my favorite things about Fresh Pickins is visiting with everyone who walks through our door,” she says. “People tell stories about their childhood and how Fresh Pickins brings them back to the good old days of their grandparents growing fresh produce and canning everything. We truly cannot thank all of our customers enough for their support. It means the world to us.” To the family, farming is more than a business; it's a way of life. “It’s a calling and it’s loving every minute of it!” Johnson adds. “This year was one of our hardest due to the rainy weather and flooding.

Nature, and she is truly the boss. We have three grandchildren and the last thing I want them to see is us giving up due to rain, so we get out there, replant and hope and pray for the best. We cannot wait to see what the fall crop holds for us, and we are already planning on kicking it up a notch next summer.” While summer harvest is coming to an end, make sure to visit their Facebook page for daily updates on their fall produce. Their hours during harvest are Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The honor system is still available 24/7, 365 days a year.

601 S. Pine Street • DeRidder, LA 70634 • (337) 463-7442 •


copiers • scanners • printers • fax • shredders

Fresh Pickins, 23077 Highway 383, Iowa, (337) 488-3195. Find them on Facebook @fresh.pickins16

Our operation depends on Mother

Locally owned and operated for over 30 years

600 W McNeese Street, Lake Charles | (337) 474-9913


Wining & Dining

Never Trust a Skinny Cook FAT PAT’S BAR & GRILL COMING TO LAKE CHARLES THIS FALL by Angie Kay Dilmore

Fat Pat’s Bar and Grill has been an institution in Lafayette since 2007. The original owners have two locations in Lafayette, and one in both Carencro and Alexandria. Franchise owner Jesse Fontenot has a location in Broussard and his second is slated to open this fall in Lake Charles. (Lucky us!)


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

Family-owned and operated with a family-friendly menu, this popular sports bar/restaurant specializes in a distinctive selection of burgers (including some you may not be familiar with, such as peanut butter bacon) and hot dogs (a muffuletta dog?) Named for one of their earlier cooks, they also offer a few appetizers, a handful of salads, a select variety of entrees, sandwiches, wraps, and daily specials. Fontenot says their most popular menu items include the Classic Burger, the Chili Cheese Coney, Shrimp Wrap, and Asian Tuna Salad. Fat Pat’s is also regionally famous for their decadent shakes. Their “tipsy” shakes are made with Coke Vodka.

Fontenot says Fat Pat’s unique variety of burgers, dogs, and wraps, partnered with the coldest draft beer around is what makes them special and different from other burger joints. “Most importantly though, is our loyalty to our customers,” he adds. “We strive to provide the best experience we possibly can. We feel blessed to join the Lake Charles family and look forward to serving the community. We know it’s been a rough year and we’re excited for the opportunity to help Lake Charles heal and get back to normal.” The Lake Charles franchise will be located at Dillard Loop off Hwy. 14. Outdoor seating will be available. Meanwhile, follow them on Facebook for updates. @FatPatsLC.

Banners Announces Return of

Rouge et Blanc The Banners Series is excited to announce the return of Rouge et Blanc on Saturday, October 30. Save the date for Southwest Louisiana’s premier fine wine and gourmet food extravaganza, a sold-out event fourteen years and running. This year’s Grand Tasting gala returns in a new location on the beautiful and historic grounds of Oak Crossing on Nelson Road, where Rouge et Blanc will welcome patrons to masquerade and “Party with a Purpose!” Tickets are currently on sale for $125 per person at Participants must be 21 years old to attend this event. For more information, visit the organization’s website at Rouge et Blanc is presented by Banners at McNeese, an independent arts & humanities organization that operates under the McNeese Foundation. All proceeds benefit Banners’ year-round cultural and educational programming, which features a top-tier array of international artists and lecturers, as well as Banners’ Outreach programs, which bring quality presentations to local schools and community groups. Rouge et Blanc is supported by the following generous sponsors and partners: IBERIA Bank, the Lake Charles/SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau, CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana, Phillips 66, Deep South Productions, Oak Crossing, Southern Glazer’s, Southwest Beverage, Stockwell, Sievert, Viccellio, Clements & Shaddock Law Firm, Stream Wetland Services, AdSource Outdoor, American Press, Digikast, First Federal Bank of Louisiana, Killer Photography, and Knight Media Printing.


Style & Beauty

p a So ws o r B

Follow a More Relaxed Style Trend by Kerry Andersen

In the roaring 20’s, Marlene Dietrich was adored for her signature super-thin drawn-on brows while Audrey Hepburn personified 50’s glamour with expertly groomed eyebrows befitting a Hollywood legend. In recent years, women have turned to microblading, a form of semi-permanent tattooing that yields a big, bold look to frame the face. Now, more relaxed fashion trends are reflected in our beauty routines with brows that are not as stiff and shiny, but looser and brushed up with a natural feathery look. To update your brow look, swipe a trick that makeup artists have been using for decades – soap brows. This old school makeup hack is making a resurgence thanks to Tik Tok videos showcasing the beauty trick. Google searches for the term ‘soap brow’ increased more than 300% in one recent month. So, what exactly are soap brows? Backstage at fashion shows, makeup artists have been known to drag a brow brush across the surface of a bar of soap and then comb brows up and out.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

The glycerin in the soap separates the strands of hair and cements them in place, taming flyaways. The eye-opening trick is simple, affordable and gives brows extra hold. Soap brows make your hair look thicker too, but you can’t use just any soap to achieve the look. It’s the glycerin in some soaps that makes this method work without irritating your skin. Traditional bar soap will leave a white residue behind. The iconic brand Pears is the mainstay for soap brows but any clear glycerin soap will work.

PRO TIPS: Use a makeup wipe to clean excess soap from your skin. Watch an online tutorial to master the skill. The beauty industry caught on to the soap brow obsession quickly, flooding shelves with a whole new category of grooming products. From soaps to gels to wax, these picks deliver the soap brow look in every price range: Makeup Revolution Soap Brow $8 Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Freeze $23 Patrick Ta Major Brow Shaping Wax $22 Iconic London Brow Silk & Brush $25 Candid Beaute Powerbrow $32

Soap Brow How-To Guide Spray glycerin soap with facial mist or setting spray and let sit for a few minutes. Run a brow spoolie across the surface of the soap to create a paste and load bristles with product. Brush spoolie through brow hairs, flicking upwards and out to create a feathered look. Comb through again, pressing the hair firmly in place (you can also use the wand handle). Shape top and edges using the tip of the spoolie and use brow powder to fill in sparse areas.

That’s it! Once it dries the soap will lock brows in place!


Style & Beauty The Philanthropists being honored for giving their time, talent, and treasure for the betterment of Southwest Louisiana are Michael and Kari Hankins, IBERIABANK, and Kiwanis of South Lake Charles. The Light of Hope Advocates being honored for their dedication and service on behalf of children and families are David and Kimberly Griffin, First Baptist Church Women’s Missions and Ministry Division, and DeWanna Tarver.


Registration is $25 per individual or $180 for a table of eight. To reserve seats, visit or contact Elizabeth Davis at or 337-436-9533.

Family Foundation to Honor Philanthropists of the Year and Light of Hope Recipients The Family Foundation of Southwest Louisiana (Family Foundation), the endowment arm of Family & Youth Counseling Agency (Family & Youth), will honor the 2020 Philanthropists of the Year, as well as the recipients of the 2020 Light of Hope Advocate Awards, during the Philanthropy Celebration and Awards Breakfast, presented by Global Asset Management Group, at L’Auberge Casino Resort on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at 7:30 a.m.

The Dragons Invade Lake Charles This Fall CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana Foundation is excited to officially announce the Dragon Boat Race will once again take over the city Lakefront this Fall. The 2020 Dragon Boat Race was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Dragons will now invade Lake Charles on Saturday, October 30th. The Dragon Boat Race is a fan favorite, attracting nearly 7,000 spectators annually. More than 30 local teams are expected to compete for the top spot in their division and the coveted traveling trophy. Beyond the exhilarating spirit of competition,

Welcomes Jonathan Boudreaux Jonathan Boudreaux has been named Senior Vice President – Commercial Lender for Lakeside Bank. Boudreaux brings over 15 years of banking experience to his new position with Lakeside. For the past nine years, he has held senior management positions at a regional bank where his responsibilities included guaranteed lending, as well as commercial lending. Let Jonathan put his experience to work for you at Lakeside. Call 502-4235.

Main Office & Oak Park in Lake Charles 14

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021



the race brings, it is a major driver for fundraising in support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Programming in Southwestern Louisiana through the Foundation. During the Dragon Boat Race 20-member teams paddle a 41-foot vessel to the beat of their team drummer, competing in two races for their best time. After the qualifying races, all the teams are classified into three groups based on their best time and compete in a final race to determine the winners in each of the groups. The CHRISTUS Ochsner Southwestern Louisiana Foundation is excited to bring this fun event back to the Lakefront Seawall and Boardwalk. For more information on team participation, sponsorship opportunities, and volunteering for the race, call (337) 430-5353.

YOUR LOVED ONES CARE. SO DO WE. Now is the time to see your cardiologist.

We all want to enjoy long and healthy lives. We want to see you before you have symptoms or a life-changing cardiac event. That's why getting a heart checkup should be a part of your regular wellness plan even if you are healthy.

Sulphur Sunrise Rotary Hosts Trivia Night Sulphur Sunrise Rotary is holding its fourth annual fundraiser Trivia Night on September 2, 2021 at West Calcasieu Event Center from 6:00–9:00 p.m. A table of 8 is $500.00. Each table will compete for cash prizes. For more information or tickets, visit

Schedule an appointment with one of our 60+ physicians at Scan the QR code to learn more about your heart health.

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN Women’s Fall Conference 2021 Keynote Speaker


8:00am - 4:00pm

NEW Tables of 8 for $400


Mind & Body

When a Wound

Won’t Heal by Christine Fisher

The body is a complex system that is usually capable of healing itself when injured, but there are times when wounds simply won’t heal. Factors such as advanced age, poor circulation, diabetes, and other conditions can interfere with the healing process. This can lead to serious complications, including extensive infection and even amputation. “Wounds usually improve within 30 days on their own in most people; in some cases it can take longer,” says Andrew Davies, MD, family medicine physician with the Wound Healing Center of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital. “When the wound doesn’t show signs of improvement after five to eight weeks while following the doctor’s care plan, then it’s time to seek qualified wound healing treatment.” Non-healing wounds can become a major health risk, especially for older adults and those who have additional health concerns. That’s why a coordinated effort to evaluate and treat wounds is so important. 16

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

The wound could be as simple as a blister, a scrape, a cut or something more severe. Dr. Davies says that many non-healing wounds are located on the feet. “Diabetics often have trouble with wound healing due to circulation problems. Their wound might originate from a problem with a toenail, or from stepping on a sharp object. Once the wound occurs in someone with circulatory problems, it can be difficult to heal on its own.” Nearly seven million Americans have non-healing wounds, according to the National Institutes of Health. While nonhealing wounds can occur at any age, they are typically found in older adults who are dealing with other health issues. As the population continues to age, the number of non-healing wounds will continue to increase. During the initial evaluation for treatment of a non-healing wound, the wound care representative will get to know the patient, their health history, and find out when the wound was discovered and how it might have occurred. Determining the cause of the wound can help provide the best treatment for healing. “An individualized treatment plan is created for each patient, but as a general rule, we remove the dead tissue and use special dressings, medications, as well as education and home care,” says Dr. Davies. “All of this is tailored to the individual patient and their health condition.”

A hyperbaric chamber, located within WCCH’s Wound Healing Center, is another tool in the arsenal for promoting wound healing. In a hyperbaric chamber, the air pressure is increased two to three times higher than normal air pressure, allowing more oxygen to reach damaged tissue and promote healing. “When tissue is injured, it requires even more oxygen to survive,” explains Dr. Davies. “With repeated treatments, the higher oxygen levels encourage wounds to heal.” The Wound Care Center recently moved into the Community Health Center, located on the campus of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital. “Having a complete wound healing center here at WCCH allows people in Southwest Louisiana, particularly in West Calcasieu parish and East Texas, to access state-of-theart wound healing technology,” explains Dr. Davies. “It makes a tremendous difference in one’s quality of life and their level of health to have a wound finally heal.” In most cases, Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans cover treatments, and patients do not need a referral from a physician. For more information, call the Wound Healing Center of WCCH at (337) 528-4708. It is located within the Community Health Center at 703 Cypress Street, Suite A in Sulphur.


LAUNCHED TO SECURE FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTAL DISASTER RELIEF Community leaders from across Southwest Louisiana held a press conference last month announcing the launch of the Help Southwest Louisiana Now campaign. This grassroots effort, launched on the 11-month anniversary of Hurricane Laura, represents a unified, collective regional effort to advocate for much needed federal supplemental disaster relief funding. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, SWLA was impacted by more federally declared natural disasters than any other community in American history: Hurricane Laura (8/27/20), Hurricane Delta (10/9/20), Winter Storm Uri (2/15/21) and a 1,000 Year Flood Event (5/17/21). Supplemental disaster recovery funding is the customary response communities have received from the federal government after being impacted by major natural disasters. This funding has always been awarded in a much shorter time period. By comparison, Washington DC acted 10 days after Hurricane Katrina, 34 days after Hurricane Andrew, and 98 days after Superstorm Sandy. To date, nearly a year after Hurricane Laura, the federal government has provided no supplemental disaster recovery funding for Southwest Louisiana.

“The clock continues to tick,” says Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter. “We are closing in on the one-year mark since Hurricane Laura made landfall, tearing a path of destruction through Southwest Louisiana and the rest of the state. We have yet to receive a federal appropriation of supplemental disaster relief funding. It is simply unfathomable and unconscionable that American citizens are still struggling and suffering due to inaction in Washington D.C.” Help Southwest Louisiana Now is a way for those concerned about this region’s recovery to join together to communicate with Congress and the President about the dire need for supplemental relief. The total unmet housing need for the state exceeds $900M from Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta, and this figure was calculated before the Winter Storm and May 17 flood. Within the City of Lake Charles alone, housing damages are estimated at $235M, less than 13% of residential buildings have pulled permits to begin reconstruction or rehabilitation, 60% of public housing is still offline, average rental costs have risen by 22%, and 21% of businesses have not renewed occupational licenses for 2021.

Thousands of abandoned homes like this one, damaged by Hurricane Laura nearly one year ago, can be found across Southwest Louisiana.

SOWELA & McNeese enrollments are both down by 9% due to weather disasters. Calcasieu Parish School Board enrollment is down by 14%. Thousands in Southwest Louisiana are living in unsustainable and unhealthy housing. Local government, non-profits and faith-based organizations have continuously expressed the need for supplemental disaster aid but to no avail. Campaign information and resources can be found on Those who wish to help are asked to submit pre-written letters to their Congressional representatives and the President. It is a brief simple process and the letters can be customized. Citizens are also asked to share the campaign video found on the RebuildingSWLA Facebook page.


Mind & Body


It Could be Allergies

How Allergies Can Hinder Athletic Performance by Haley Armand Tarasiewicz

If you’ve never been able to figure out why your athletic performance suffers from time to time, you may be relieved to know that it might not be you; it might be your allergies.

Allergies are increasing in prevalence, especially among young people. So much so, that many people are discouraged from participating in sports because they can’t seem to get their breathing to cooperate, so they write it off as being too difficult. The inhalation or contact with any allergens leads the body to produce and release histamine, causing an athlete’s performance to be all over the place. If they happen to be running during a flare up, they will simply be unable to push as hard as they typically could. “Athletes at any age feel the effects of allergy symptoms in every aspect of sports,” says Dr. Bridget Loehn, ear, nose, throat (ENT) and allergy specialist with Imperial Health. “Allergy symptoms such as watery and itchy eyes can interfere with vision, and sneezing, headaches and sinus pressure can interfere with concentration. Peripheral factors, like poor sleep quality, anxiety, and increased fatigue are also possible performanceaffecting results of allergies.” So what are triggers that can sideline even the toughest competitors? Pollen, dust and dander are some of the most common, and they’re all airborne.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

Athletes tend to use more air as they push their physical limits, and all that extra air means extra allergens. The result? Nasal inflammation, rhinitis, and rhinoconjuctivitis—the medical terms for a stuffy and itchy nose. “Nasal congestion is particularly problematic for endurance athletes because the nose functions to remove some allergens and irritants from the air, while warming and humidifying it as well,” Dr. Loehn says. “The cooler, drier, and more irritantrich air can cause the airways in your throat to become inflamed. Additionally, the post-nasal drip of mucus down the back of your throat can also irritate the airways.” If you feel like you’re done with being held back because your body is being attacked by allergies, there are a variety of treatment options. Over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines provide a quick, but temporary, relief of allergy symptoms. Some of these medications must be taken as frequently as every four hours. Another option is allergy shots over a duration of time that aims to reduce the effects of allergies and eliminate triggers. “Overall, prompt treatment of allergies will help to improve every aspect of an athlete’s play and game,” says Dr. Loehn. “From the stamina to participate in full practice sessions and games, to the ability to run at top speed, getting allergies under control can make a big difference in both how you feel and how you play.” You don’t have to be benched by the pollen count. Give them a call today at 337-419-1960 to schedule an appointment.


The Community Health Center of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital is open. The center provides a variety of healthcare services to our community, including adult primary care, walk-ins, and specialty care for general surgery, gynecology and wound care with plans to expand service lines in the future. All patients are welcome—those with Medicare, Medicaid, insurance and those without insurance.

703 Cypress Street, Suite A | Sulphur (337) 310-0395

Monday - Saturday: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Sunday: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.


Money & Career


Retirement… Are We There Yet? Let’s Build a Plan.


Marty DeRouen CFP ®, CHFC ®, LUTCF Wealth Management Advisor Martin DeRouen, David Girola provides investment brokerage services as a Registered Representative of Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS), a subsidiary of NM, brokerdealer, registered investment adviser and member FINRA and SIPC. Martin DeRouen, David Girola is an Insurance Agent(s) of NM. Martin DeRouen, David Girola provides investment advisory services as an Advisor of Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company®, (NMWMC) Milwaukee, WI,


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

David Girola CFP®, CLU® Wealth Management Advisor

a subsidiary of NM and a federal savings bank. There may be instances when this agent represents companies in addition to NM or its subsidiaries. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

The Impacts of Local Industries are Felt Locally and Worldwide Local industry is one of the three largest employment sectors in Southwest Louisiana. The benefits of having industries in our area are numerous: the property and sales tax dollars they contribute to our local economy, the jobs – many of which are high paying with good benefits – the charitable contributions, the volunteer hours of their workforce and the economic ripple effect that occurs throughout the region from the money industry and their employees spend locally. Retail stores, restaurants, housing, healthcare – these sectors benefit. Growth in industry also leads to more options in higher education and skilled worker training programs to provide the needed workforce. “In February of this year, NASA landed the Mars Rover onto the surface of Mars,” says Jim Rock, executive director of Lake Area Industry Alliance. “Hydrazine was a critical component of that mission. Lonza, one of our local industries, produces 100% of the government’s demand for this ingredient, which is a rocket propellant for satellites.” “Industries in Southwest Louisiana produce a wide variety of products that our area and the nation requires, such as fuels of every type, and products that go into fabrics, refrigerants, and other automotive components as well as much needed medical supplies,” Rock adds. The petro-chemical industry is the largest component of manufacturing jobs in Louisiana. It has a multiplier of six, according to the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. This means that for every job at a local industry, six other jobs are created in a variety of business sectors: office supplies, uniform shops, industrial supplies, restaurants, engineering firms, contractors, courier services, etc. Throughout the natural disasters experienced in Southwest Louisiana, local industries have been a steady component in the local workforce. They continue to meet the demand for products around the country while remaining a major economic force in our economy, resulting in a steady paycheck for many households here at home. While we all know these industries are vital to our local economy, unless someone is directly involved with these businesses, they tend to be a bit of a mystery. In this special section, we aim to explain what several different companies make, how the products are made, and how they are used in products that the public uses in their everyday lives.


Money & Career |



CLAIM TO FAME: Westlake Chemical is the largest petrochemical employer in Calcasieu Parish. Over the past 35 years, Westlake has grown to a family of companies with team members now in 11 countries, working together to produce products that are essential to our everyday lives worldwide.


There are approximately 2,000 Westlake Chemical employees working in Calcasieu Parish. Globally, Westlake employs approximately 9,200 people working on three continents.


Westlake Chemical was founded in 1986 by T.T. Chao, with the acquisition of a polyethylene plant in Lake Charles. The company has continued to expand, with much of its growth happening here in Southwest Louisiana. In 2016, Westlake acquired Axiall Corporation, which doubled the company in size. The combined company became the second largest chlor-alkali producer and the second largest PVC producer in the world. The Lake Charles facilities represent Westlake Chemical’s largest concentration of assets and continues as the company’s flagship location.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

Westlake’s Lake Charles complex consists of four production sites, plus a marine terminal, and produces ethylene, polyethylene, caustic soda, chlorine, styrene, and other co-products.


The Westlake Petrochemical and Polymers facilities’ manufacturing process includes the utilization of natural gas to form ethylene, our building block chemical, which is then used to provide our internal downstream needs in the polyethylene, styrene and vinyls businesses and coproducts to the commercial market. The Westlake Petrochemicals Site consists of two ethylene production plants, two polyethylene trains and one styrene monomer production plant. The Westlake Polymers site includes five polyethylene lines.

Westlake Chemical’s Lake Charles North and South sites include two chloralkali plants that make caustic soda, chlorine, and PELS; one derivatives plant with five operating units that produce VCM, ethylene-dichloride (EDC), perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene (PER-TRI); a waste treatment unit and four power generation houses.


Whether it’s plastic wrap that keeps our meats and produce fresh, the tires we ride on, the pipes that are essential to ensuring clean drinking water, or the chlorine that helps purifiy drinking water and keeps our pools safe, Westlake plays a vital role in supplying the building blocks for these products and more. Many of our product uses include food packaging and carton liners to dry cleaning bags, toys, and garden tools and thousands of products used by consumers throughout the world.


Money & Career |

An aerial view of Sasol’s Lake Charles Chemical Complex located near Westlake, LA.





In 2014, Sasol began construction of a new, sevenfacility ethane cracker and derivatives complex adjacent to its existing facility near Westlake. Commissioning was completed in late 2020. The $12.9 billion investment remains one of the largest foreign direct investments in U.S. history



The Lake Charles facility has operated since 2001 when Sasol purchased what is now referred to as the Lake Charles Chemical Complex from Condea Vista.

Sasol is committed to advancing chemical and energy solutions that contribute to a thriving planet, society and enterprise. They will continue to focus on manufacturing products safely and reliably while progressing sustainability goals to ensure their business is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable over the long-term. This includes continuously improving their operations and providing value not only to their customers and shareholders but also to the communities where they live and operate.


Sasol’s EOEG unit produces ethylene oxide and ethylene glycols, which are used to make household cleaners, polyester fibers and automotive coolant.

Globally, Sasol employs more than 30,000 people in more than 30 countries. In North America, Sasol has operations in Arizona, Louisiana, Texas and Pennsylvania. Their Lake Charles Chemical Complex near Westlake, which includes their joint venture with LyondellBasell, supports more than 1,100 employees and contractors.

PRIMARY PRODUCTS MANUFACTURED AT SASOL AND HOW THEY ARE USED: The Sasol Lake Charles Chemical Complex manufactures products used in cleaning and personal care markets to manufacture ingredients for soaps, detergents, shampoos and cosmetics. Their specialty chemicals are also used in mild abrasives, thickeners and pharmaceuticals, as well as in the enhanced oil recovery markets. Sasol’s Linear Aklyl Benzene (LAB) Unit produces specialty alkylates and paraffin products, which are used to make household detergents.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

Sasol’s legacy ethane cracker produces ethylene used for feedstock and sales.

Driftwood LNG

Committed to


“Sasol is proud to be a partner in Port Wonder STEM children’s museum public-private collaboration – one that will be an exciting addition to Southwest Louisiana – a place our employees call home, a place Sasol calls home and hopes to do so for a long time.” Brad Griffith, Executive Vice President of Sasol’s global chemicals business


Money & Career |

INDUSTRY 411 DATE ESTABLISHED: The first iteration of a port authority in Cameron Parish was established in 1968. It was then called the West Cameron Port. Later, the East Cameron Port was created. State legislation in 2016 (Act 331) established the Cameron Parish Port, Harbor & Terminal District, which grants the authority under which they currently operate. The current port authority is a merger of the West and East ports.


Cameron Port staff consists of only two. They function as more of a parish wide economic development organization rather than what most people consider a traditional port, with port owned facilities. They manage project site selection, small business support, traditional chamber of commerce activities, contract procurement support, marketing and promotion of the industries located in Cameron Parish such as Commercial Fisheries, traditional Oil & Gas, LNG export, Alligator Farming, and Oil & Gas Support Services.



By far the largest export from Cameron Port District is liquified natural gas. Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass facility located in Johnson Bayou exports ~5mtpa (that’s 5 million tons per year) and Cameron LNG located in Hackberry exports roughly 625 TBTU (~2mtpa or 2 million tons per year) which is enough to power 10 large power generation stations for a year.



Globally, the Cameron Parish Port, Harbor & Terminal District exports more liquified natural gas than all but two countries in the world: Qatar and Australia! Cameron Parish is third among nations in the export of LNG. Pretty incredible!



Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

EVERY vessel approaching the Port of Lake Charles MUST pass through the Cameron Parish Port District, whether from the Gulf of Mexico through the Calcasieu Ship Channel or the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (there are 44 miles of the GIWW in Cameron Port District).



Comprised of an



The Cameron Parish Port, Harbor & Terminal District has representation from every ward in Cameron Parish, a land area larger than the state of Rhode Island.


Our port district is home to more than $35 billion in already constructed investment in recent years, more than $5 billion currently under construction and ahead of schedule, with an additional $30 billion proposed projects on the horizon.

The US is now the largest exporter of liquified natural gas in the world and with 2 export facilities located in Cameron Parish, we are the leader globally.

The Cameron Parish Port creates opportunities for our local workforce to interface with engineering, procurement and construction contractors active in the parish. for more information visit


IT DEPARTMENT With a dedicated IT team, your company will have specialists ready to assist with any and all tech-related issues, giving you peace of mind knowing that productivity won’t be interrupted with IT concerns. Ready to expand your team? Call us today or visit our website to schedule a FREE IT consultation to help your business grow and be prepared for whatever storms come your way.






REAL ESTATE | (337) 513-4272 | 1638 Ryan St., Lake Charles


Money & Career | Industry 411 Money & Career | INDUSTRY 411



CLAIM TO FAME: The Phillips 66 Lake Charles Refinery was considered Lake

Charles’ oldest war plant and immediately began shipping blending agents to England when the refinery came on stream in 1941. With a new war and the attack on Pearl Harbor, production was brought up to full capacity for the war effort. For 24 hours a day, the refinery produced blending agents for the different grades of aviation gasolines that our armed forces required. When the United States entered the war following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the need for wartime supplies focused new attention on petrochemicals – launching a new industry.

Phillips 66 today,


Phillips 66 circa 1961.

YEARS IN BUSINESS: This year, Phillips 66 Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex celebrates its 80th anniversary of the refinery. Phillips 66 is proud to be the first petroleum products manufacturer in Calcasieu Parish. (1941-2021)


750 full time employees; approximately 330 onsite permanent contractors


Gasoline, jet fuel, propane, butane, specialty coke, fuels coke, solvents, heating oil, and base oils for use as lubricants. 28

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

Phillips 66 is an energy manufacturing company. Essentially, we process crude oil into useful products you use every day, like propane and gasoline. First, we receive crude oil that is either waterborne through the Calcasieu Ship Channel or via pipeline. Crude oil is a material comprised of different components. These different components have different boiling ranges and the refining process starts by separating crude oil into components based on their boiling ranges. This separation process is called fractionation. During fractionation, crude oil is heated and a portion of it vaporizes. The vaporized components are the lighter components, including propane (lightest), butane, gasoline range material, jet range material, and diesel (heavier) range material. The remaining components of the crude oil remain in liquid form and include gas oil and residual oil, which are the heaviest components of crude oil. The partially vaporized crude oil is separated in several distillation towers into the different components, so that these components may be further treated to make useable products.

After initial fractionation, we use treatment and conversion processes to remove contaminants and upgrade the quality of the components to make the highest-valued products, depending on the market. We treat the products to remove impurities and pollutants. The products are blended to maximize quality, performance, and meet specifications.

AND HOW ARE THEY UTILIZED IN PRODUCTS CONSUMERS USE ROUTINELY? Phillips 66 provides energy that improves lives in a safe, environmentally sound, and reliable manner. What we produce enables health, safety, and security for us to live our lives. Refining is the only industry that can produce low-cost, reliable energy for eight billion people in the next several decades.

WE ARE PHILLIPS 66. Phillips 66 is proud to partner with the communities we operate in. We have developed long-lasting relationships with many worthy causes in this community, focused on literacy & education, safety & preparedness, and environment & sustainability. $1,145,000 in grants and sponsorships in 2020 Since 2012, $4,125,000+ in contributions to the United Way of Southwest Louisiana Partner in Education with 4 Calcasieu Parish Schools Celebrating 80 years in Westlake, Louisiana

From elementary school programming though continuing education,


McNeese 1ST GRADE — 8TH GRADE State MONDAYS & WEDNESDAYS SEPT. 77,, 2021 - NOV. 16 16,, 2021

The S.E.E.D Center | 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Made possible through the generous support of these fine partners:

-Problem Solving Projects-WeDo Lego® Robotics-

Experience the human-made world through technologies we use everyday.

The McNeese Institute for Industry Education Collaboration (IIEC)

McNeese offers non-degree continuing education and State professional development courses, including industry and business skills courses. Upcoming courses include:

PROJECT MANAGEMENT 11/2/21 8:00 AM 11/3/21 4:30 PM


To learn more, contact:

To learn more, contact:

Amanda Hext



(Coming this fall)

The McNeese IIEC offers online training programs and customized training based on your company’s needs!

LaDonna McKnight

12/6/21 7:00 AM 12/9/21 4:30 PM

NOTARY EXAM PREPARATION For course schedule and online training:


Money & Career | Industry 411 Money & Career | INDUSTRY 411


CLAIM TO FAME: The Maplewood Community in Sulphur was created to support


Maplewood in the early days

Vintage Citgo

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: • Approximately 1,000 full-time at CITGO Lake Charles

• Approximately 1,000 contractors • Corporate wide employees total 3,400 30

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

the construction of the Cities Service plant, which is now known as the CITGO Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex. Plans to build a new refinery in the 1940s presented a demand for suitable housing to accommodate a large influx of employees and families to the region. Cities Service entered into an agreement with the Maplewood Housing Corporation to build a one-milewide community with 789 homes and apartments. Over time, Maplewood transformed from simply a place to house the workforce into a thriving community complete with a school and infrastructure. Today, Maplewood remains a staple in Southwest Louisiana and spurred generations of families who planted roots here because of Cities Service.



CITGO roots stretch back more than 110 years, beginning with the founding of Cities Service in 1910. During WWII, there was a dire need for a facility to manufacture and supply the U.S. Armed forces with fuel. Cities Service answered the call, constructing a plant (now the CITGO Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex) in 1944 to refine crude oil into 100-octane fuel for U.S. bombers.

The CITGO Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex produces a wide range of products, primarily gasoline, diesel and jet fuels.

HOW ARE THE PRODUCTS MADE? The refining process is about distillation. It begins with crude oil which, when heated, is split into various components. From there, we further refine these components through different process units and finally blend the refined streams into finished products such as gasoline.

HOW ARE THEY UTILIZED IN PRODUCTS CONSUMERS USE ROUTINELY? Consumers use products made at CITGO every day, such as gasoline for your car, jet fuel for the plane that takes you on vacations, and diesel fuel that delivery trucks use on their daily routes. Our petrochemical products are also the building blocks for many household items, especially plastics.

HOW MANY PEOPLE WORK THERE? On-site tenant partners such as Northrop Grumman, Citadel Completions, Landlocked Aviation, Million Air and Louisiana Millwork employ some 1,500 people.



Chennault International Airport is an emerging national hub for aerospace and other business such as manufacturing. Its two-mile-long runway and sizeable aircraft parking and operations areas is one of the largest in Louisiana and can handle every aircraft flying in the world today. It’s the landing spot for Air Force One when there’s a presidential visit, the goto location for government and civilian relief agencies, and home to the Chennault International Airshow.

YEARS IN OPERATION: Chennault has been an essential economic component for 35 years. It was formed in 1986 — first as an industrial airpark, now an international airport — from land parcels and the infrastructure of an Air Force base that closed in 1963.

Chennault is a complex for aircraft maintenance, renovation and overhaul (MRO) by its major tenant partners. The work is done on military, corporate and private aircraft. Chennault and its tenant partners also facilitate other aviation services and non-aviation business. Chennault is also a working airport — whether the person landing is the president of the United States, a military jet pilot or a general-aviation enthusiast.

ECONOMIC FOOTPRINT: Chennault contributes $300 million to the Southwest Louisiana economy each year.

PLANNED FUTURE PROJECTS: Work has just begun a $4 million facility to build an air cargo warehouse — the first step is entering the air cargo sector. Construction of the 10,000-square-foot warehouse will take approximately 12-months. The project is propelled by $3 million in capital outlay funding from the Louisiana Legislature with the balance of the funding paid by the Chennault International Airport Authority. Also in the works is the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries complex expected to open in summer 2022. The Louisiana National Guard is finalizing its design of the $24 million readiness center. Groundbreaking should take place by year’s end. Additionally, another company intends to build out its office spaces and potentially build additional general aviation hangars on the former Mallard Cove Golf course, once turned over by the City of Lake Charles.


Money & Career |



CHENIERE ENERGY CLAIM TO FAME: Cheniere Energy provides clean, secure and affordable energy

to the world — energy that can reduce carbon emissions, help lead to cleaner air, and light homes and power factories — all manufactured and transported by modern energy infrastructure run by a world-class workforce in Southwest Louisiana. Their Sabine Pass Liquefaction facility, located in Cameron Parish, was the first ever LNG export facility to open in the lower-48 and is the largest privately financed industrial project in the history of the state of Louisiana, representing a $20 billion investment in energy infrastructure. Within only five years of operations, they are already the largest producer of LNG in the United States and the second largest LNG operator in the world.

Checking things out at Sabine Pass

The Sabine Pass terminal originally opened in 2008 as an LNG import facility. With the changing energy market and access to an immense supply of natural gas in the United States, the facility was converted to an LNG export terminal in 2016.

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: In Louisiana, they employ around 450 direct Cheniere employees with an additional 400 contractors on site. During peak construction of their export facility, they had over 5,000 people on site every day.

PRIMARY PRODUCTS MANUFACTURED AT THE FACILITY: The Sabine Pass facility produces Liquefied Natural Gas or LNG with the help of five fully operational liquefaction units, or “trains.” A sixth train is under construction and expected to be completed in 2022.

HOW ARE THE PRODUCTS MADE? To liquefy natural gas, they cool it to -260°F, causing it to become a liquid and reducing its volume by 600 times. The process basically involves technology similar to your home’s refrigerator or air conditioner, only on a much larger and complex scale. Once the gas is liquefied, they load it onto vessels at their terminal and it is then shipped to customers around the world.


Their LNG is primarily used to power homes and businesses around the world. Once their ships reach their final destination, it is estimated that each Cheniere cargo that is used to generate natural gas-fired electricity could potentially result in a reduction of 140,000-200,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions, if displacing electricity from a coal-fired power plant.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

99.4% of our employees working at our LNG facilities are local

Cheniere Energy, the largest producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the U.S., is proud to call Cameron Parish home. Our flagship facility, Sabine Pass LNG, began exporting LNG in 2016 and has exported more than 1,250 cargoes. We provide energy to the world that can reduce carbon emissions and help lead to cleaner air. None of this would be possible without our dedicated, local workforce. #WeAreUSLNG


Money & Career | Industry 411 Money & Career | INDUSTRY 411


The port district — its full name is the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District — fuels, feeds, and builds the world as it drives the Southwest Louisiana economy. It trades with more than 70 countries around the world, moving more than 58 million tons of cargo.

YEARS IN BUSINESS? Since 1926. The Port will celebrate its 95th anniversary this fall. Primary goods and services handled at the Port: The wide variety of cargoes include:


Materials that support petrochemical industries locally and wind-power installations nationally — which, coupled with leased properties for world-class liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, are why the Port and the Calcasieu Ship Channel are called “America’s Energy Corridor.” Rice, lumber and other local “legacy cargoes” that have been handled by the Port for decades. Today, these cargoes flow in both directions. In just the past few months, local rice has been shipped to Africa to help people in need, and the Port recently welcomed the largest international lumber ship ever to visit. Blades and tower components that are sent to midAmerica for assembly at power-generating wind farms.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021


It’s America’s 11th-busiest port district in tonnage, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ latest statistics. It’s the anchor of the Southwest Louisiana economy. It has been a key facilitator for area industries and local agricultural products for nearly a century.



The fuel for your vehicle, the raw materials needed by the plant where you work, and even the casinos you visit all have direct ties to the port. The Port doesn’t produce goods and services. It facilitates the needs of companies who make those goods and provide those services. It provides warehouses, docks and railroad services for cargo, as well as land for companies that locate in Southwest Louisiana — all of which boost the local economy. The Port also makes local casino gaming possible by leasing part of its prime waterside acreage to both L’Auberge and Golden Nugget.

• Driftwood LNG, a subsidiary of

The Port and the Calcasieu Ship Channel are prepared for future growth. Here are some examples: Tellurian Inc., has just signed an agreement to lease port property in West Calcasieu to build a multibillion-dollar LNG terminal.

• The Port is exploring opportunities

to increase traffic in windmill blades.

• An environmentally conscious effort is being launched to better serve vessels needing dockside electrical power while in port.

The Safety Council of Southwest Louisiana Announces 2020 Contractor Safety Performance Award Winners The Safety Council of Southwest Louisiana held their annual Contractor Safety Performance Awards Banquet last month. This celebration of significant achievements recognizes the industry’s dedication to cultivating a strong safety culture among all contractors. Contractors of all sizes vie for the prestigious safety recognitions. “We were excited to have so many entries for 2020, a year that brought so many additional stressful challenges to the workplace,” says Sarita Scheufens, CEO of the Safety Council. “Our members delivered stellar safety performances that reveal their strong commitment to safety, regardless of the circumstances.” A grading system outlined by OSHA standards along with enforcement of safety regulations make up a point system in which the nominees are graded. Joe Cormier, Safety Manager with Austin Industrial, which was recognized for one of the Best-in-Class Awards says the award is a big accomplishment for their company. “Most of our employees have been with us for many years and they have truly adopted a family concept, which, from a safety perspective, means looking after one another. This awards program gives important recognition to workers who have made a commitment to be the best they can be and to help others do the same.”

Awards are categorized by man hours worked and the type of work done. Categories and awards are as follows:

GENERAL CONTRACTORS WITH 5,000 - 75,000 MAN HOURS: • Gold Safety Award - R&H Quality Refractory Services

CONTRACTORS GREATER THAN 500,000 MAN HOURS: • Bronze Safety Award - Alliance Industrial Group/SMW Projects and Greenberry Industrial • Silver Safety Award -Burrow Global Services • Gold Safety Award - Universal Plant Services

SPECIALTY CONTRACTORS WITH 5,000 - 75,000 MAN HOURS: • Bronze Safety Award - Custom Metal Fabricators. • Gold Safety Award - Aqua Drill International.

SPECIALTY CONTRACTORS WITH 75,001- 500,000 MAN HOURS: • Bronze Safety Award for Excellence - Energy Rental Solutions. • Silver Safety Award for Excellence -Howell Industries.

SPECIALTY CONTRACTORS WITH GREATER THAN 500,000 MAN HOURS: Austin Industrial received a Best-in-Class Award.

• Silver Safety Award - Deep South Crane & Rigging and Specialty Welding & Turnarounds (SWAT). • Gold Safety Award - Total Safety and Triad Electric & Controls.

The Excellence Award recipient is Specialty Welding and Turnarounds (SWAT).

The Best-in-Class Awards are reserved for those companies that obtained the highest scores in each category.

Award recipients are as follows:

GENERAL CONTRACTOR WITH 75,001-500,000 MAN HOURS: -Austin Industrial.


SPECIALTY CONTRACTOR WITH 75,001-500,000 MAN HOURS: -S&S Sprinkler Company.

SPECIALTY CONTRACTOR WITH GREATER THAN 500,000 MAN HOURS: -Excel Modular Scaffolding & Leasing Corp. A new award was added this year to recognize continuous improvement with the largest point increase year over year. The first winner of this award was Specialty Welding and Turnarounds (SWAT), who also received a Silver Safety Award. “We value these awards for multiple reasons,” says Clint Case with SWAT. “First and foremost, this award is for the hard working SWAT employees who spend countless hours away from their families every day. Our employees are committed to proving that safety goals are achievable! An awards banquet like this also allows us to network with clients and collaborate with fellow contactors on best practices being used in our industry so that we can achieve our highest potential. We look forward to it every year.” The Safety Performance Awards are hosted in collaboration with Southwest Louisiana Construction User’s Council (SLCUC), Lake Area Industry Alliance (LAIA), and the Safety Council of Southwest Louisiana (SCSWLA). For more information or details about the Safety Performance Awards, email


West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital Opens Community Health Center of WCCH West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital (WCCH) is pleased to announce the opening of the Community Health Center of WCCH. The center, which is located behind the hospital, provides a variety of healthcare services to the community, including adult primary care, walk-ins, and specialty care for general surgery, gynecology and wound care with plans to expand service lines in the future. The Community Health Center of WCCH is open to all patients – including those with Medicaid, Medicare, insurance and those without insurance. The over 10,000 square foot center is equipped with 19 patient exam rooms, laboratory draw capabilities, and medical and surgical procedural rooms. The Community Health Center of WCCH is one more way WCCH remains committed to caring for our community, every moment, every day. The Community Health Center of WCCH is located on the hospital’s main campus at 703 Cypress Street, Suite A in Sulphur. The center is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call 337-310-0395 or visit Johnson Funeral Continues its Legacy of Giving Back Johnson Funeral Home donates a freezer to support Water’s Edge Food Pantry and Homeless Ministry. The Ministry’s need for a freezer arises from damages sustained during Hurricane Laura, nearly one year ago. Water’s Edge Pantry and Homeless Ministry distributes donated groceries, toiletries, toys and more at least once a


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

month. Past distributions have served up to 400 families in Southwest Louisiana. Connect with Water’s Edge Gathering on Facebook @watersedgelc for more information about its Food Pantry and Homeless Ministry. Johnson Funeral Home is the largest family-owned Funeral Home in Southwest Louisiana. It has served its community for three generations. If you would like more information, call 337-478-8687. CSE Federal Credit Union Partners With Cell Phones For Soldiers To Provide Troops With Free Calls Home CSE Federal Credit Union and nonprofit Cell Phones For Soldiers are asking Southwest Louisiana residents to help troops call home by donating gently-used cellular phones. Although the military landscape is ever changing, as many as 200,000 troops are serving in the United States military overseas around the world. By donating to Cell Phones For Soldiers, SWLA residents can provide a lifeline for America’s bravest. Residents can donate their phones and/ or tablets at CSE Federal Credit Union branches, including Lake Charles, Sulphur, Moss Bluff and Jennings. For every donated phone valued at $5, Cell Phones For Soldiers is able to provide two and a half hours of free talk time to deployed troops. Since 2004, more than 20 million phones have been recycled or repurposed. Approximately half of the phones processed are reconditioned and reused. Phones and components that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and responsibly recycled to reclaim materials, including:

• Gold, silver and platinum from circuit boards

• Copper wiring from phone chargers • Nickel, iron, cadmium and lead from battery packs For more information, please visit or www.

Oak Crossing Partners to Rebuild SWLA Oak Crossing recently donated $35,000 to SWLA Responds. This organization is comprised of over 40 churches and religious organizations from across the region committed to seeking and serving the most affected communities through organized volunteerism. Braylon Harris, coalition coordinator for SWLA Responds explains that by uniting, empowering, and mobilizing churches while partnering with organizations and businesses such as United Way, Stine Home & Yard, Community Foundation of SWLA, Carey Baptist Association, Catholic Charities, and many more, they will eclipse 2000 volunteers, 20,000 community service hours, and 200 families served before the end of this summer. The Oak Crossing donation will be used along with others to purchase the materials necessary to ensure that hundreds of families are returned to safe and sanitary homes throughout SWLA.


for life


from Solutions Counseling & EAP by Keri Forbess-McCorquodale, MS, LPC, LMFT, CEAP

Increasing Your Success at Work A large part of my practice is helping people with their work life. I work with supervisors on how to be a better supervisor. I work with employees to increase their satisfaction at work and help them find better balance between work and home. And sometimes I help people decide if it is time to move on from a work position. Regardless, I want my clients to be successful and be able to stay in a job, move up or move on because it was their choice, not a decision that was made for them. So, what we are actually talking about this month is job security. What increases the likelihood that you will be viewed as a great employee and will get to stay or go on your own terms? Soft skills. Believe it or not, technical skills will get you only so far. No matter how great you are at your job duties, if you lack soft skills you will not be viewed as valuable as those employees who do have those skills. 89% of recruiters say when a hire doesn’t work out, it usually is because of a lack of soft skills. Soft skills are behaviors and personality traits that help people prosper at work. You may “wow” people with your work product, but if you regularly miss deadlines or don’t listen to feedback (which leads to costly delays and upset customers), then you are not as valuable to the organization. At some point, your technical skill will be overshadowed by your lack of soft skills.

While there are many soft skills, here are the top skills polled employers look for: Dependability: How dependable are you at work? When you

are at work, are you on time and fully present? Do you meet deadlines? When someone gives you a task, can they forget about it because they know it is in your capable hands? Being dependable means being trustworthy and reliable. Aren’t those qualities you look for in others? Imagine how appealing they are to a supervisor.

Teamwork/Collaboration: Being a good team player is key to being viewed as valuable in an organization. Your ability to get along with your co-workers and being likable will determine if

your co-workers want to work with you. Listening to others’ ideas, and valuing opinions other than your own is extremely important. Understanding that the team’s success is your success and rolling up your sleeves to solve problems with your colleagues when challenges arise will help others see you as a great team member.

Problem-solving: Good managers look for people who can think for themselves. Good managers also value their employees’ ideas. Bad managers micro-manage and have everyone doubting their own abilities. If you are in a supervisory role, take a look at yourself. Many supervisors are insecure, which makes them tend to feel threatened by outside ideas. This teaches employees not to make a move without getting prior approval. Not being allowed any autonomy will ensure their exit. As an employee, anytime you have a problem, you need to also have a solution. Maybe your solutions will not be used, but at least your manager knows you put some thought into the situation. Once you feel your supervisor trusts you, you should be able to move into a “Keep me posted” instead of “Ask my permission” space. Flexibility: How are you with the concept of change? Most people don’t love it, and many people hate it. If you hate it, you will avoid it and be angered when it is forced upon you. The ability to see change on the horizon and shift accordingly is extremely important. Dealing with change without griping or shutting down is imperative. Understanding that changing, developing and evolving is the only way any organization is going to maintain its existence is key. If any of these have “hit home” with you, congratulations! Awareness is the first step to making anything better. There are many books on this topic, or you might find counseling/ coaching helpful. Technical skills will get you the job, but it’s the soft skills that will help you keep the job. Think of soft skills as “career insurance.” Now, who doesn’t want that?


Places & Faces

Lake Area

& culture


If industry is the life blood that sustains our communities, arts and culture are surely the heartbeat that nourishes and heals our souls. Organizations that sponsor music festivals, art events, dance and theatre productions provide entertainment that draw in locals and tourists and add colorful, eclectic vibes to our hometowns. Artists and art organizations took a hard hit last year – first from the pandemic and later from the storms. But recently, signs of cultural life are springing up all around the Lake Area. Record-breaking crowds for recent arts and entertainment events have felt like community-wide reunions. Historic City Hall has been repaired from Hurricane Laura’s devastation and is once again hosting national traveling art exhibits and opening receptions. Banners is back with their annual Rouge et Blanc fundraiser. Theaters have a full slate of shows planned, and music fills the air. It’s an exciting time in our region’s recovery efforts. In this special section, we welcome and celebrate this return of arts and culture to our communities.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

Season LCLT 5


lake charles little theatre

Just as a piece of fine art can never be duplicated exactly the same, can also be said for live theatre—no two performances are ever the same. Those in attendance have a unique experience that can never be replicated.



Lake Charles Season 5 Little Theatre

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You! Dates and Times to be Announced. Fall 2021

50 YEARS OF LAUGHS: Details Soon! Winter 2021

The Importance of Being Earnest Spring 2021

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown Supported by a SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau Tourism Marketing Grant from the Lake Charles/SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau as administered by the Arts Council of SWLA.


Places & Faces |

Lake Area Art & Culture

Recovery Spotlight

HISTORIC CITY HALL Arts & Cultural Center by Angie Kay Dilmore

Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center – a Lake Charles landmark – suffered substantial damage from Hurricane Laura. Matt Young, the city’s Director of Cultural Affairs, says the destruction was primarily limited to the second and third floors due to rainwater pouring in after the roof blew off. Six weeks later, Hurricane Delta caused flooding on the first floor. The Center has been repaired and is now re-opened, but there is lingering work to be done. “The bell tower at Historic City Hall is particularly of concern,” says Young. “Initial structural assessments revealed two compromised brick columns on the western-facing side.”

During reconstruction


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

The City of Lake Charles administration has wisely used this reconstruction opportunity to rebuild with efficiency and purpose in mind. “Historic City Hall, a crown jewel in our downtown district, is being reconfigured to utilize the building’s front entrance, so that visitors enter and exit through the front doors on the front plaza,” Young says. “That way, we’ll also be able to better program the front plaza with outdoor concerts, performances, and midweek lunch events.” Young says the pandemic and hurricanes were a double-whammy for all local businesses, but especially arts organizations. “But there’s been some bright spots. Last year, we implemented 'Art 6-Feet Apart' to promote our talented organizations and provide entertainment in some of our underutilized public venues like the Transit Center Pavilion and Central

During reconstruction

School’s front plaza. The series featured ten events that spotlighted music, dance, theater, poetry, and live art demonstrations. We also curated several virtual exhibits and hosted online music events to help uplift and inspire our community." Currently, all three floors’ gallery spaces have reopened with some incredible exhibits on view including a Smithsonian travelling exhibit called “A New Moon Rises.” Two local art shows are also on display: Gallery by the Lake’s group show features nearly a dozen artists, and McNeese professor Larry Schuh’s “Retrospective” is a collection of his life’s work. Young says the Center will kick off a new event in September. “For more than 15 years, the Charlestown Farmers Market has operated on Saturdays at Historic City Hall. Next month, we’ll launch “Meet Me at the Market” each first Saturday of the month.

Gallery space today

SAVE THE DATES - FALL ARTS EVENTS The expanded market will include an art market on our front plaza in addition to the farmers market in the back. We’ll also have live music and children’s programming inside the Center each first Saturday.” “Public gallery spaces like Historic City Hall are vitally important to the City of Lake Charles,” says Mayor Nic Hunter. “The recovery and restoration of these spaces is critical to our community’s long-term recovery. Significant both historically and culturally, Historic City Hall offers diversity, richness, and educational value to our community and greatly enhances the quality of life in the City.”

Gallery Promenade: 9/24

Art in the Park 8/21

Farm to Tableaux 10/14

Living History Cemetery Tour: 11/5

ArtsFest: 10/16

Holiday A rt Walk 11/27

Mayor’s Arts Awards 11/10 • 909 Kirby St. Suite 202 • (337) 439-2787

Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Admission is free. After-hours events and group field trips available. For more info, call 337491-9147 or find them on Facebook.


SWLA’s Premier Wine & Food Event will return

October 30, 2021 @ Oak Crossing! Rouge et Blanc ticket sales open on August 6

Matt Young


a burlesque cabaret dream play” Saturday, September 4, 7pm (Adult content: 18+ only)

“JOSIE & GRACE” Sunday, September 5, 2pm

Tritico Theatre @ McNeese


Free performance for Veteran’s Day thanks to the support of

Reed Mendelson

at Ameriprise Financial Services

F.G. Bulber Auditorium / • 337- 475-5123 •


Places & Faces |

Lake Area Art & Culture


& Humanities Council Southwest Louisiana wouldn’t be the place it is today without its rich culture and colorful art. Thanks to recent events like Spring Art Walk, Downtown at Sundown, and Live @ the Lakefront, we have seen that our arts and culture is still thriving. Live music at bars and restaurants have returned, and we can now see exhibits at Historic City Hall, Imperial Calcasieu Museum, and The Brimstone Museum. Those are all signs that our creative community is coming back in a strong way. All of that success is ushering in a fall schedule full of amazing events! The Arts & Humanities Council alone will host five of their regular events and co-host a brand-new event with Big Brothers Big Sisters this season. Gallery Promenade, ArtsFest, Living History Cemetery Tour, Mayor’s Arts Awards, and Holiday Art Walk are all returning in person, ready to add to the quality of life of SWLA! Farm to Tableaux, a partnership with BBBS, will take place on October 14. This will be a new and unique event to the Lake Area that will feature local artists, local organizations, and raise money for two great causes. They are also in the middle of administering two grants for arts non-profits: the second round of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Grant, and the Louisiana Projects Grant (formally known as the DAF Grant). Both of these grants will allow for more cultural events and projects across Southwest Louisiana. As our community rebuilds, the arts we know and love will be ever more important in the healing process. The response from the community so far has been encouraging and helping prove that the series of unfortunate events of the past 18 months have done little to keep us down. Know that every time you and your friends go and listen to a local band, buy a piece of local art, or attend an exhibit opening, you are helping our creative community recover and thrive.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

On the Geaux with the

Lake Charles


by Stefanie Powers

The Lake Charles Symphony Orchestra celebrates their 64th season this year. The organization has put aside the difficulties of the past year and is moving forward with enthusiasm, fresh ideas, and a full season planned. “Various board members have been meeting diligently the past several months, amid the pandemic and recent hurricane season, to plan events,” says Director Michelle Miller. “Our goal has been to bring back the Lake Charles Symphony as soon as it was safely possible and as venues became available.” Miller says the upcoming season promises to be exciting, as they are taking the symphony in a bit of a different direction. “Not to worry, our orchestra members will be performing and participating throughout the season, and we are showcasing local talent in each of our events,” she explains. The symphony hosted their first concert/fundraiser post-COVID-19 restrictions in the Civic Center Contraband Room on July 10. “It was a casual, laid-back event featuring the Lake Charles Symphony Brass Quintet,” Miller says. “Musical selections included patriotic marches by Sousa and Meacham, seminal jazz music from New Orleans, songs by George Gershwin, and Broadway music. The closing song was a fun arrangement of ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ combined with Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus – a perfect mix of jazz, New Orleans, and classical music!” This season, the symphony will launch the “Sundays with the Symphony” concert series. “Three concerts are planned for this series, all on Sunday afternoons, at St. Luke Simpson United Methodist Church in Lake Charles,” Miller says. “Each will be a chamber concert featuring the talents of orchestra members, including Sarah Perkins and Lina Morita, and will be held in November 2021 and the following January and March.” The theme for the classical concert season is a “Renaissance of Music” and will showcase some of the finest classical music performed by the orchestra. Three concerts are planned for October 2021, and February and May of 2022. The final concert in May will feature the A.M. Barbe High School Buccaneer Orchestra. Miller says season ticket information will be posted to their website and Facebook page soon. “The Lake Charles Symphony is also planning to bring back our popular Gators on the Geaux fundraiser. The gators were first featured 20 years ago, and with all the new growth our area has experienced, we thought this would be a great way to spotlight the symphony, our local artists and businesses, as well as boost tourism.” For more information go to, or call (337) 433-1611.


Places & Faces |

Lake Area Art & Culture



COVID-19 and back-to-back sucker punches from mother nature took a terrible toll on Banners in 2020, but Brook Hanemann, Director of Banners at McNeese State University, says they are more energized and focused than ever to uplift our community through art and heritage programming. “I think we all learned in the isolation of all that has depleted our region that we are a strong community bound by grit, generosity, and a dedication to offering a helping hand even when we are limping ourselves. This community is fierce and lovely and it is time to brush off the drywall dust, hang our shoes out to dry, and celebrate.” Banners Cultural Season last year was cut short due to COVID-19 after their second Saturday performance. They will revive that season in March and April 2022 and have been able to retain most of the wonderful line-up they had originally scheduled. Meanwhile, in typical Banners fashion, this cultural organization that has brought Southwest Louisiana the best in arts and entertainment since 1992 will continue that tradition with several events scheduled this fall. “To make up for lost art, we are reimplementing 'Banners Presents' which consists of standalone arts and humanities presentations that Banners produces outside of the Cultural Season,” Hanemann says.

Josephine- Burlesque Cabaret Dream Play


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

Labor Day weekend will kick things off with a Saturday (Sept. 4, 2021) evening 7:00 p.m. remount of Dynamite Lunchbox’s Josephine Baker Burlesque Cabaret Dream Play, which was a sell-out show in 2019. The next day (Sept. 5), Lake Charles will enjoy the touring premier of the company’s new show Josie and Grace which is described as a mostly historical cabaret-style play about the legendary friendship between two of the most iconic women of the 20th Century, Josephine Baker and Grace Kelly. From the creators of the award-winning international hit show Josephine comes the world premiere play about two American women who became immortal in Europe after meteoric rises to success that challenged the limits placed on them by a racist and sexist world. The second 'Banners Presents' offering is a Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11) production of Letters Home, based on letters from soldiers who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. This production will be free of charge due in large part to the support of Reed Mendelson of Ameriprise Financial Services in Lake Charles. “We hope to host a large audience of active and retired military so that we may honor them for their selflessness and their service to our nation,” Hanemann says. “We are also working with Mayor Nic Hunter’s Armed Forces Committee to create pre-show festivities on the lawn in front of Bulber auditorium for this Veterans Day show.”

Scene from Letter Home


Saturday at the Gallery Art Classes Aug 14

th “Watercolor Fun for Beginners” with Sue Zimmerman

Sept 11th

“Portrait Drawing” with Barb Crum and more! Now in our temporary classroom hosted by the LSU Ag Center, 7101 Gulf Highway as the Central School Arts & Humanities Center is undergoing renovations

“Hit Me with your Best Shot” Bird Photo Show

Tymesha Harris performs Josephine Baker, photo by Roberto Gonzalez

So, Banners is back! “Judging by the fact that presales for Rouge et Blanc (tickets now on sale) nearly doubled on day one of our sale in comparison to last year, I think it is definitely safe to say that our locals are ready to celebrate, too,” Hanemann adds. “We’ve all been through the wringer; now it is time for us to bask in face-to-face community and shared art. Time to let the good times roll!” For more information or to purchase Rouge et Blanc tickets, go to

Aug 20th 2 PM Awards & Opening Reception -Historic City Hall Second Floor On display through Oct 20th Become a member & enjoy benefits! -Display your work at the Historic City Hall -Receive discounts on Saturday classes

Supported by a SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau Tourism Marketing Grant from the Lake Charles/SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau as well as a grant from the City of Lake Charles, both as administered by the Arts Council

Visit to register for classes and see all our programs

809 Kirby Street, Suite 321 • 337-387-1218


Places & Faces |

Lake Area Art & Culture

LUTCHER THEATER Re-Opens & Announces 2021-2022 Season!

The Lutcher Theater is your home for Broadway! With the curtains rising after the longest intermission ever, the Lutcher Theater for the Performing Arts welcomes performers and patrons back with an exciting and star-studded 2021-2022 Season line-up.

Located just across the Sabine River in historic downtown Orange, Texas, the Lutcher Theater is the prominent presenter of Broadway, national and international tours, award-winning artists, renowned dance and acclaimed children’s performances for Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. “Performing arts bring people together and enrich our communities. Whether you are a regular theater goer, or you have never seen a live performance on stage, Lutcher Theater has something for everyone and is


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

a fun and unique way to spend time with family, friends and clients,” says Lutcher’s Managing Director, Lynae Sanford. This season Lutcher Theater will present 10 incredible events, including seven national touring Broadway shows, a family holiday spectacular, live country music and a multi-Grammy® award winning gospel artist. Legendary country artist, Asleep at the Wheel will kick off the season with a stop on the Celebrating 50 Years of Asleep at the Wheel Anniversary Tour. “We are honored to have Gospel great, CeCe Winans as part of our season. Patrons can expect to see big Broadway classics like Beautiful-the Carole King Musical, South Pacific and Fiddler on the Roof. Plan a date night or girls’ night out to catch Waitress or an Officer and a Gentleman. Families will enjoy bright, colorful productions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Hairspray and Cirque Dreams Holidaze,” Sanford adds.

Along with the performing arts series, Lutcher Theater also presents Lutcher Incredible Kids Events, a daytime children’s series for students and educators from Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. Meeting Texas and Louisiana state learning criteria, the shows are often based on story books, creating a ‘Page to Stage’ learning experience for young patrons. The Lutcher offers a world class experience to every audience member along with unforgettable memories. Season Ticket Premiere Packages (8 to10 shows) and Spotlight Packages (4 or more shows) are on sale now at Lutcher. org. Season ticket holders get the benefits of best pricing, prime seating and ticket exchange. Single tickets for all shows will go on sale August 16, 2021. Visit for more information or call the Lutcher Theater Box Office at 409.886.5535.

Lake Charles Little Theatre

Plans Big Changes

The Lake Charles Little Theatre (LCLT) has been entertaining theatre enthusiasts since 1926. Prior to 2020, they had been performing in a retrofitted horse stable on Enterprise Boulevard. But the blows of a global pandemic and Hurricanes Laura and Delta were more than the small, antiquated building could endure, both physically and financially. “Since March 2020, all LCLT scheduled productions were cancelled or postponed,” says LCLT President Randy Partin. “Memberships were not sold due to the stage “going dark” due to COVID-19 and subsequently, the hurricanes. Many expenses have remained constant but revenues have suffered badly.” Historically plagued by budget deficits, LCLT had produced a surplus of revenue over the past eight years and has strived to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to them by their corporate sponsors and loyal patrons. But storm damage proved costly.

“Two costume buildings were destroyed resulting in the loss of over 1000 costumes ravaged by water and wind,” Partin says. “More than $4000 dollars have been spent on dry-cleaning garments salvaged from the debris and the project is not yet completed.” Rather than attempt to salvage their property on Enterprise Blvd., LCLT Board of Directors has suggested a grand plan that could change the scene of performing arts in Southwest Louisiana altogether. “In the past, community groups have been relegated to repurposed spaces because of limited resources,” Partin says. “There is a significant need for a central, public, purpose-built, performance art venue in Lake Charles. As we approach our 100th year celebration (in five years), we desire to help facilitate a Central Performing Arts venue for our community, one that could facilitate all area theatre/performing arts groups and create a cooperative organization that would utilize the space more effectively and without scheduling conflicts.” Their dream facility would boast 22,000 square feet (whereas their previous building occupied a limiting 4,500 sq. ft.) and would seat 180-230 patrons. It would be built with

by Angie Kay Dilmore

acoustics in mind so that it may be utilized for performances featuring live instruments, vocals, or spoken word with or without sound reinforcement. The venue would feature not just a main performance area, but multiple workflow spaces, ideally three spaces including the main stage, a rehearsal stage, and a scene workshop, as well as adequate dressing rooms and green room, and all other amenities associated with a modern, fully functional theatre space. “Ideally, the venue should be located in or near the Nellie Lutcher District to synergize with other similar facilities and the bigpicture vision of the city leadership as it relates to the arts,” Partin says. Now entering their 95th season this month, LCLT is seeking 100 corporate sponsors for their upcoming 100-year celebration. “We want to continue the tradition of live theatre in Lake Charles for future generations,” adds Partin. For more information, go to, call (337) 433-7988, or find them on Facebook, @ thelclt.


Places & Faces |

Lake Area Art & Culture

DANCE Conservatory of



There’s a new ballet school in town! Dance Conservatory of Louisiana is opening this fall in Lake Charles. Owner/instructor Katelyn Chargois is a Southwest Louisiana native. She studied with Lady Leah Lafargue and was promoted to principal at the age of 14 after joining the Lake Charles Civic Ballet. Chargois earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet Performance from the University of Oklahoma, and after graduation, accepted a position dancing with the Tulsa Ballet. After two seasons in Tulsa, Chargois returned home to Sulphur to pursue her Master of Science in Kinesiology at Lamar University. “During my master’s program, SWLA experienced COVID-19 shutdowns, two hurricanes, a freeze, a flood, etc.,” she recalls. “I saw the devastation of the arts community, studios closing, zoom ballet classes and dancers trying to take class around their living room furniture.” Chargois remembers telling her family her ideas for boosting the arts community in the area. “My brother finally said, ‘Why don't you just do it?’ At that point, we started having real conversations about me opening a dance studio in Lake Charles.”


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

The studio is located at 1301 E. McNeese St. and is currently undergoing construction. “I’m dedicated to helping dancers grow in a safe and healthy manner,” she explains. “I’m installing a professional level sprung floor to help protect dancers' bodies. This floor is built by Ground Control Floors, a company of former professional ballet dancers.” Chargois says classes include ballet, pointe, modern, tap, and strength and conditioning. “With my background in kinesiology and Pilates, teaching dancers how to properly use their bodies is extremely important to me. Not only do I want to push dancers to be their best; I also want them to learn how to take care of their bodies and stay active for a long time.” The first day of classes for 2021-2022 will be September 7. This season, Chargois will teach all of the regularly scheduled classes. “But I’m dedicated to bringing in professionals to offer extra classes to the community on a regular basis,” she says. “I want the Dance Conservatory of Louisiana to be an open space for all dancers in SWLA. In August, I will be holding some open classes with professionals in disciplines such as hip hop, contemporary, and jazz. Look for announcements about those classes on Facebook.”

Katelyn Chargois

Chargois also has a Pilates Reformer studio and offers private Pilates lessons. Dance Conservatory of Louisiana registration is now open to dancers ages 4-18. Located at 1301 E. McNeese St., Unit 205, Lake Charles. For more information or to register, go to and find them on Facebook.


Places & Faces |

Lake Area Art & Culture

“The Best Ever”

Local Artist Celebrates Louisiana Football & Pays Homage to Childhood Teacher During the COVID-19 lockdown, Lake Charles native Jamar Simien wanted to use the quarantine time productively. He asked himself, “What’s the best way for an artist to honor the legacy of their favorite teacher and celebrate their home?” His answer? “Create a masterpiece.” “After over a year of working on this project, I’m thrilled to share “The Best Ever” oil painting of Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow,” Simien says. “Born and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana, art has always been a cornerstone in my life. Art is my gift, my safe place, and my most effective means of communication. From being ranked as the top high school art student in Louisiana in 2001, to traveling the world for the past 20 years studying art from different cultures . . . I can never forget my home. As an LSU alum from the class of 2007 and a diehard Tiger football fan, it was essential for me to paint our most iconic player doing the most iconic move in sports – the Heisman pose.” Simien began work on this painting in April 2020. Over 200 hours of studio time and 15 months later, he revealed his painting to the public via social media. “I wanted it to be unforgettable, just like our undefeated season,” he says.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

So, how does his favorite teacher come into the picture? Simien wanted to honor the legacy of Mrs. Bobbie Moon, his 3nd and 5th grade teacher. Moon, who passed away in 2015, was an artist and life-long LSU fan. “Mrs. Moon was creative, compassionate, and extremely giving. She also loved to paint with watercolors in her spare time. Through countless creative school and community service projects, she taught me how to think BIG. She changed the trajectory of my life.” In collaboration with the Moon family, Simien created a scholarship fund called “The Bobbie Moon Art Scholarship.” This annual scholarship will give young artists from Lake Charles a chance to pursue their dreams of a college education. Portions of proceeds from “The Best Ever” original oil painting and Limited Edition prints through auctions, raffles and online print sales will fund the scholarship. “My goal is to use this painting to create a full circle impact,” Simien says. “The painting celebrates the greatest season in college football history, but more importantly, it gives back to my home.” Simien has also partnered with United Way of SWLA. Portions of the proceeds will aid in hurricane relief.

Jamar Simien, 1st row center, in Mrs. Moon's third grade class, 1993.

According to Mrs. Moon’s daughter, Anna Naquin, Bobbie Moon began teaching in 1986 at Henry Heights Elementary School. Her classroom was never the neatest, but she did create an exciting learning environment, complete with a reading loft, live animals, and plenty of craft and art materials. This was the environment that left a lasting impact on Simien. Naquin says the Moon family is incredibly happy about Jamar’s goal to start helping high school seniors start their career in art. “Mom loved children and was creative in opening their eyes to many wonderful experiences.” The Bobbie Moon Art Scholarship is open to all Southwest Louisiana high school seniors who were born in Louisiana and are pursuing an artrelated degree within the state of Louisiana. Jamar Simien’s 30”x40” original oil painting on canvas will be auctioned in Baton Rouge in 2022. Limited Edition signed and numbered prints are available. Find him on Facebook or email him,

Simien and Anna Naquin

Jamar's last vist with Mrs. Moon in 2014 at her home.


Places & Faces



After the uncertainties and disappointments of last year’s football season due to a virus and myriad weather-related events, sports fans are optimistic for a more normal experience this year; but if we’ve learned anything over the last 18 months, it is that life is unpredictable and little is for certain. Nonetheless, football fans have much to look forward to this year. In our annual Football Gold section, Thrive contributor Matt Dye fills readers in with all the thrilling details on your favorite Louisiana teams. You’ll also find an in-depth interview with Clerc Bertrand, Executive Director of the McNeese Athletic Foundation – she has some exciting news, too!









We are now available on Eats 2 Go, Gubers & Waitr!

Ross Byrley Agent 4566 LakeByrley St. • 478-8349 Ross Agent

4566 Lake St. • 478-8349 52

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

119 West College Street, Lake Charles | (337) 474-3651 | Monday – Thursday: 11am–10pm | Friday & Saturday: 11am-11pm Closed Sunday | Happy Hour 4–7pm

SAINTS Begin New Season without Brees by Matt Dye

When an era finally ends, it’s interesting to go back to the beginning, and in the case of the Saints, there’s a whole generation now that’s known nothing but success these past 15 seasons. They don’t know the dark times; ‘bags over heads’ is just something their uncles mutter after a rare bad beat. Some deny the Saints were that bad before Brees, but some of us still have Aaron Brooks’s backward pass etched in our brains as evidence of how it was darkest before the dawn.

Some say that now it’s the start of the Jameis Winston era, but in reality, the Saints don’t know who their starting quarterback will be this season, with a believed battle to be had at training camp between Taysom “I Play Football” Hill and Winston. Speculation abounds with Coach Payton even rumored to be favoring Hill, but realistically, this should be Winston’s team, if not at the start, then by the end of the season. The question is, who are these Saints without Drew Brees, and the answer is, still a very good football team. The argument has been made that in the playoffs, Brees hindered them more than he helped, and is evidenced by bringing Winston in to throw the deep ball, which he completed, in the playoff loss against the eventual Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers. The leadership of the team now falls to Cam Jordan and the defense, and they are hungrier than ever after being on the precipice the last few seasons. But Jordan and the D will have to do it without fellow defensive end David Onyemata, who tested positive for PEDs and will miss the first six games. That could hurt a defense that already traded Malcolm Brown in the off-season and let Sheldon Rankins and Janoris Jenkins go. On the offensive side of the ball, Drew may be gone, but Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas are still around, and they may be the best RB/WR combo in the league. Thomas is coming off an injury-plagued season last year, but if he can get into rhythm with whomever is behind center, he should get back to his old self in no time. The question will be how good the receivers will be - those not named Michael Thomas – and if second year tight-end Adam Trautman has a breakout season,

as he should with competent quarterback play. Also keep in mind that the NFL has decided to muck with their business model again this season, so now instead of four pre-season games and 16 regular season, we’re going 3 and 17, which means that’s one more week of fantasy football for some of you. It’ll also be interesting to watch how teams manage the extra game along with injuries. We may see both Winston and Hill at quarterback just because of some new load management theory. The good news is that the Saints are playing a team with just as questionable a quarterback situation in Week One when they take on the Green Bay Packers. Everyone assumes Aaron Rodgers will be out there, chucking the pigskin in the Superdome, but it’s possible he’s happy with Shailene and just hangs up the cleats. Otherwise, you can look at the Saints quarterback transition schedule as being as easy as it possible could be. Besides seeing division rivals twice each, with Atlanta and Tampa Bay on their last legs with their own respective quarterbacks (one day it’ll be true, Brady!) and Carolina welcoming Sam Darnold on a second chance, New Orleans gets the woeful NFC East and the nearly as woeful AFC East. Time will tell how dangerous this team will be, and by the time they travel to Nashville and play the Titans in Week 10, you’ll be able to tell what this team’s potential could be in the playoffs; and with the NFL keeping with seven teams, they should make the playoffs. So we can stow the paper bags for another year.

SAINTS SCHEDULE Pre-season Week 1 Week 2 Week 3

Aug. 14 Aug. 23 Aug. 28

Regular Season Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18

Sept. 12 Sept. 19 Sept. 26 Oct. 3 Oct. 10 BYE Oct. 25 Oct. 31 Nov. 7 Nov. 14 Nov. 21 Nov. 25 Dec. 2 Dec. 12 Dec. 19 Dec. 27 Jan. 2 Jan. 9

@ Baltimore vs. Jacksonville vs. Arizona

vs. Green Bay @ Carolina @ New England vs. New York Giants @ Washington BYE @ Seattle vs. Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta @ Tennessee @ Philadelphia vs. Buffalo vs. Dallas @ New York Jets @ Tampa Bay vs. Miami vs. Carolina @ Atlanta


Places & Faces | FOOTBALL GOLD

Big Changes in Store for


Football and Coach Wilson’s Second Season by Matt Dye


Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12

Sept. 4 Sept. 11 Sept. 18 Sept. 25 Oct. 2 Oct. 9 Oct. 16 Oct. 23 Oct. 30 Nov. 6 Nov. 13 Nov. 20

vs. West Florida @ LSU @ Southern @ Incarnate Word vs. Southeastern BYE @ Northwestern State vs. Incarnate Word @ Southeastern vs. Nicholls @ Houston Baptist vs. Northwestern State

“We want to bring a conference championship back to Lake Charles,” McNeese quarterback Cody Orgeron says. “How resilient this community is. We’re really just playing for the people in Lake Charles.” College football last season was a different beast for everyone with COVID-19 radically warping schedules, but here in Lake Charles . . . you know the rest. Many of you might have missed Frank Wilson’s first year as head coach of the Cowboys as you were putting roofs back on your houses, but he led out a gritty team of players, many of whom were also still putting roofs back on their own houses. “It was big for us to play in the spring,” Coach Wilson said. “To give us some normality and to play in front of our fans and our community.” That team went 3-4, finishing the season with a 54

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

tough loss to eventual National Champion Sam Houston State. But now, Sam Houston State has left the conference, having joined the WAC (Western Athletic Conference). Leaving to join with them were Lamar, Stephen F. Austin, and Abilene Christian. Central Arkansas got the wrong memo and joined the Atlantic Sun Conference instead. That means that in many ways, the SLC is wide-open, down to six football playing schools. But this also brings in the complexity of this year’s schedule as McNeese will play three of its five conference opponents twice in a home/away sequence, similar to divisional play in the NFL. It’d be easy to pick McNeese to finish atop the standings, but how this format affects teams’ overall records in some ways makes the SLC a crapshoot. Hopefully this is a one-time deal, as the Southland should add a few new schools by next year. Frank Wilson’s second year Cowboy team returns 10 starters on offense as well as eight starters on defense, and as Coach Wilson pointed out at SLC Media Day, every place the team had a weakness, he worked to seal that hole with talent. “Every guy that entered the transfer portal, we replaced with an allconference player.” Speaking of all-conference talent, reigning SLC Defensive Player of the Year (and scooterenthusiast) Isaiah Chambers is one of six Cowboys to be named to the SLC Pre-Season All-Conference Team. He’s joined by fellow defense end Mason Kinsey and defensive back Andre Sam on the first team. Wideout Josh Matthews, defensive back Chris Joyce, and punt returner Mason Pierce made second team. Cody Orgeron is back at quarterback, and his final season at the helm will be exciting. During his two years full-time under center,

he’s been effective, completing 321 of 542 passes for 4,188 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. It’s a sign of how competitive the SLC is that he’s been left off that pre-season list. It’ll be interesting to see if a lead runner comes out of the backfield or if Coach Wilson continues to employ a committee as he did last season. Keep an eye on Deonta McMahon, Carlos Williams, and Josh Parker – maybe in that order – to get the rock when Orgeron isn’t throwing it or running it himself. Catching the ball, look for aforementioned Matthews and Pierce to be two of Orgeron’s favorite targets, as well as Severyn Foster and a bevy of young talent at receiver. The defense should be complete fire, with three players on the All-Conference first team. As Chambers points out, the secret to his success is, “I don’t talk much. I just do the work.” And his effect on the team since joining them last year is easily apparent and ready for year two. Two other interesting wrinkles to be aware of going into this season. First is the Sept. 11 match-up with LSU, where we’ll have the Battle of the O’s as father takes on son. McNeese has already been known to play Power 5 schools tough and even upset a few. This will technically be the third matchup between the schools, with McNeese taking an early lead in the first game before falling to Goliath, and the second game going 11 plays in 2015 before being cancelled by lightning. Stranger things . . . The second is that all of McNeese’s home games this season will be played at NOON this year due to the absence of stadium lighting. This gives every opportunity to come to Cowboy Stadium and enjoy the game while getting home in time to catch LSU at night. Tickets are on sale now!


Tigers can’t get on the Football Field Fast Enough by Matt Dye

After a 2019 title run that had Louisianians puffing out their chests and talking about variations of ways to name their kids Burrow or Orgeron, the perils of success began to befall Baton Rouge. First was the inevitable vultureing of assistant coaches to full-time jobs and the NFL. Next, COVID-19 caused an uneven 5-5 season. And then the reports emerged of sexual misconduct by several players, past and present, and suddenly it felt like decades since Joey B. was smoking a cigar in the locker room, victorious. But if there’s one thing that Coach O has proven throughout his coaching career, it’s his ability to handle a problem head-on when he sees there’s something amiss. When he first arrived at LSU, he hired Matt Canada as his offensive coordinator and surprised everyone when he fired him a year later. The fit wasn’t right, he said, and instead he brought in Joe Brady and just like that, LSU had a passing offense fans had dreamed about their entire lives. After 5-5, Coach O took the sledgehammer to his coaching staff, getting rid of defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, who took over for Dave Aranda, and passing coordinator Scott Linehan, who took over for Brady. Both these coaches have extensive NFL experience, but they weren’t the fit Coach O was looking for with his players. Since the end of last season, Orgeron has brought in Jake Peetz with DJ Mangas to try to reinvigorate the offense, and Daronte Jones to get the defensive back on track. Both these hires not only point to innovative coaching schemes, but also youth in the respective positions rather than the constant retreads that seem to define most staffs.

Leading the Tigers’ offense is still largely up in the air. Myles Brennan took over for Joe Burrow last season and was on an upward trend before getting injured for the season in Week 3. His primary competition, Max Johnson, played well in his final two starts of the season and gives the offense a little more variety, but it’s hard to imagine he takes the job away from Brennan. Austin Deculus and the entire offensive line return for the Tigers, which is a nice security blanket for whomever starts under center. It also means we can look forward to a powerful running game from the Tigers this season as they work to right the ship. Heading up that running game will be a 1-2 punch of Tyrion Davis-Price with homerun hitter John Emery, Jr. This could change as training camp goes along, but these two guys are the best contenders. Catching the ball, all eyes should be on Kayshon Boutte, who is set to be the next in a long list of great LSU wide receivers. Cornerback Derek Stingley, Jr. is the next in line to don the #7 jersey, and he will lead a defense that needs to improve mightily from last season. Luckily, the defensive line with B.J. Ojulari, Ali Gaye, and Andre Anthony is ready to get back to that 2019 form and should wreak havoc in the opponent’s backfield. LSU opens the season all the way on the West Coast when they face off against UCLA on September 4. Then it’s home to face McNeese in The Battle of the O’s followed by another home game against Western Michigan before the Tigers start conference play on the road at Mississippi State.


Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13

Sept. 4 Sept. 11 Sept. 18 Sept. 25 Oct. 2 Oct. 9 Oct. 16 Oct. 23 Oct. 30 Nov. 6 Nov. 13 Nov. 20 Nov. 27

@ UCLA vs. McNeese vs. Central Michigan @ Mississippi State vs. Auburn @ Kentucky vs. Florida @ Ole Miss BYE @ Alabama vs. Arkansas vs. UL Monroe vs. Texas A&M

This should be a revenge game as Mississippi State took down the Tigers last year, 44-34 in Death Valley, but with second year coach Mike Leach, the Bulldogs are a much more dangerous opponent, as are their in-state rival Ole Miss with second year coach Lane Kiffin. Even once-milquetoast Kentucky is looking fearsome with second year coach Mark Stoops. Combined with LSU’s yearly battles with Florida and Alabama, this should shape up to be another difficult year in the SEC West that’ll more than likely come down to a November 6 match-up at Bryant-Denny Stadium to determine who’s playing for the SEC Championship.


Places & Faces | Football Gold

donor relations, and elevating the MAF experience through events like Cowboys’ Country Fest. “My dream job has always been to be a part of a team that makes my community and the place we call home better,” says 35-year-old Bertrand. “I want to leave this world better than I found it. Being a part of MAF is that opportunity to leave a positive impact for years to come.” Thrive magazine recently caught up with this on-the-go wife, mother, and champion for McNeese athletics, and she shared her plans for MAF, what she loves most about her job, and how the Southwest Louisiana community has awed and inspired her.

What is your vision for MAF?

Our vision at MAF is to create a McNeese Experience Second to None. We believe that experiences create connections, and we thrive on connections in Louisiana. MAF provides financial platforms to build and sustain nationally relevant athletic programs. These goals go hand in hand with President Dr. Daryl Burckel’s First Choice Campaign. We want our fans, sponsors, and community to “Experience the Team.” We want the community to be in the huddle with us. This will be the first full year where we have corporate sponsorships under the MAF umbrella. Our goal is to raise one million dollars this fiscal year through corporate sponsorships, donations, and MAF experiences. MAF memberships are available for $150 a year and include access to MAF-only experiences.

What do you love about your role at MAF?

first person

with Clerc Bertrand

by Angie Kay Dilmore

Clerc Bertrand has loved sports

for as long as she can remember. Born and raised in Pickering, La., she and her three younger brothers played kickball, baseball, and basketball in their front yard. At Anacoco High School, she participated in basketball, softball, track, and cross country. Bertrand ran track and cross country for Lamar University on a full athletic scholarship. She majored in Exercise Science and intended to continue her education and become a physical therapist, but life took her running down a different road.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

Executive Director, McNeese Athletic Foundation

After college graduation in 2008, she worked and raced for Brooks (running shoes and apparel) in Colorado, and later worked as a tech rep and sales rep in several Northwest states while continuing to race. She even took a stab at the 2012 Summer Olympics! In 2014, she returned to Louisiana and worked for a non-profit called Athletes for Hope, where she connected LSU teams with philanthropic causes. After short stints with Rowdy Sports Properties and Specialized Bicycles, she accepted the position of Executive Director of McNeese Athletic Foundation (MAF) in 2020. Her role includes procuring corporate sponsorships, fostering

Goodness, where to start. Our community is incredible. The McNeese team is incredible. We are all marching toward one beat with the same goal of rebuilding not to the status quo but to something long lasting that will positively impact generations. We believe in the Southwest Louisiana community and in McNeese State University. I love being part of something bigger than myself. The greatest challenge is prioritizing opportunities that will have the largest impacts at the time each is needed most.

What can you tell us about McNeese’s upcoming football season?

We are excited to bring a host of new experiences to this football season. From our Friday night block parties to new seating and gameday opportunities, we believe this season will be the beginning of the rebirth of cowboy football.

What has surprised you the most since you moved to Lake Charles and started work at MAF?

I’ve always known that Louisiana and our community is kind and resilient, but what I have witnessed post-Hurricanes Laura and Delta is mind blowing. People’s generosity and true commitment to bringing McNeese and this community back stronger is like nothing I have ever seen. The way people give not just money, but time – you would never know that they don’t have a home or that they lost their businesses. People don’t show their plight here; they just want to know how they can help your family.

Tell us a bit about your personal life.

My husband, Andre, and I married on October 8, 2016. He is from Elton, Louisiana and graduated from McNeese. He pole vaulted at McNeese and we competed on the same summer track team when we were younger. Our son, William Malcolm, aka Liam, was born August 30, 2017. He is named after both his paternal great-grandfathers. These two men were who we hope Liam embodies as an adult.

Join us for Friday Wine-Day! Complimentary wine tasting Locally Owned & Operated Since 1940 Gift Cards Available

Your name -- is there a story there?

Yes, Clerc (pronounced Claire) is a family name that has been passed down for generations as a middle name. It was a great, great, great grandmother’s maiden name – LeClerc.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

We have rebranded MAF and want everyone to know that academics and athletics work together. On our logo, the horse and rider aggressively run forward. We have changed directions and are running towards our vison for McNeese Athletics – To Create a McNeese Experience Second to None.

Download our App! (337) 474-0447 1915 Country Club Road, Lake Charles


Places & Faces

The Dr. David Drez Chair

in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Established at LSU School of Medicine

The Chair will Carry on the Legacy of one of the Center for Orthopaedics’ Founding Physicians The Center for Orthopaedics and the LSU Health Foundation in New Orleans are pleased to announce the endowment of the David Drez, Jr., MD, Chair in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. The Louisiana Board of Regents announced a matching a gift of $400,000 to complete the funding for an endowed Chair, an effort started by residents and fellows mentored by Dr. Drez, Dr. Drez’s colleague Dr. Clark Gunderson, several orthopaedic surgery device manufacturers and the Committee of 100 Champions of Excellence. The Chair is a permanent testament to Dr. Drez’s innovation and dedication to academic excellence. He inspired and continues to inspire generations of young sports medicine doctors in his career that spans over 50 years. Dr. Drez is originally from DeQuincy, Louisiana, and earned his medical degree from Tulane University in New Orleans before completing a general surgical and orthopedic residency at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. He returned to Southwest Louisiana in 1971 to begin private practice and soon established a reputation as one of the country’s leading knee, shoulder and sports medicine specialists. Throughout his career, Dr. Drez was involved in medical research leading to many “firsts” in treatment advance. He has published a large body of research that focuses primarily on athletic injuries and their prevention and treatment 58

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

options. He is co-author of Orthopedic Sports Medicine, the highly acclaimed guidebook for sports medicine physicians, physical therapists and athletic trainers; and co-edited Operative Techniques in Sports Medicine, as well as a multitude of journal articles. In addition to his clinical contributions, Dr. Drez is well-recognized as an educator, playing a key role in training hundreds of orthopaedic specialists across the country. Dr. Drez served as head team physician at McNeese State University for 37 years and was inducted into the McNeese State University Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Honors. In further appreciation of the countless hours he donated to the university, the rehabilitation area of the university’s Sports Medicine Center was also named the “David Drez, Jr., MD Rehabilitation Facility.” In 2017, he received the Jack Weakley Award of Distinction from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), which is given to honor one individual each year for a lifetime of outstanding contributions that directly impact health care in the area of athletics, athletic training, or sports medicine and are of major and lasting importance. Dr. Drez was one of the five founding members of Center for Orthopaedics in 1994, setting a standard for hard work, ethics, and a dedication to his patients that has guided the group for 27 years. He continues to serve as a senior advisor to the group’s medical staff. A search committee for this position will initiate the search for a chair holder who will exemplify the characteristics of Dr. Drez and his work. It will be housed in the Department of Orthopaedics at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans.

About LSU Health Foundation, New Orleans The LSU Health Foundation, New Orleans exists to support LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans and its fourfold mission of patient care, education, research, and community outreach through fundraising, asset oversight and management, and the unification of donor passions with institutional priorities. Working together, all three contribute to the success of LSU Health New Orleans as it strives to Discover, Teach, Heal, and Serve. More information about this and other philanthropic opportunities at LSU Health New Orleans may be found at:

About the Center for Orthopaedics The Center for Orthopaedics is the region’s largest musculoskeletal group, offering a comprehensive range of specialized care for patients of all ages in Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas. The group’s team of experienced doctors provides the latest treatment options for the full spectrum of orthopaedic and musculoskeletal specialties, including osteoarthritis, joint surgery, joint replacement, podiatric surgery, neurosurgery, pain management, rheumatoid arthritis, neurosurgery, sports medicine, and more.

Places & Faces

Movers and Shakers in Southwest Louisiana... Who’s News? You tell us! Send press releases to Dr. Frederick LeMieux Named Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management Dr. Frederick “Chip” LeMieux has been named interim provost and vice president for academic affairs and enrollment management at Dr. Frederick “Chip” LeMieux McNeese State University, according to Dr. Daryl Burckel, McNeese president. He succeeds Dr. Mitchell Adrian who has been named senior advisor to the president and will continue as a professor of management in the College of Business. LeMieux received his doctorate, Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in agriculture from Louisiana State University. His area of expertise is nonruminant nutrition, swine production and livestock behavior. He has published numerous articles in refereed journals, made presentations at conferences, is a member of several professional organizations and was named a Louisiana Pork All-American. LeMieux has also obtained over $1.3 million in national, state and local grants for McNeese, that included funds for the acquisition of the 7,350-squarefoot Center for Advancement of Meat Production and Processing in Lacassine. He holds two university patents with McNeese colleague Dr. Mark Merchant for a blood product from the Crocodylian species that could be used as a feed supplement for weanling pigs and poultry hatchlings. He is also the recipient of the Honorary American FFA Degree by the Future Farmers of America for his support for the next generation of FFA leaders. Under LeMieux’s direction, the College of Agricultural Sciences regularly hosts FFA career and leadership development events and competitions. LeMieux was one of 18 participants selected for the inaugural class of the University of Louisiana System Management and Leadership Institute, a program created to develop potential executive level professionals from within the nine universities of the UL System. First Federal Investments Announces Promotion

Nataliya Espey

First Federal Investments is proud to announce the promotion of Nataliya Espey to Program Manager. Espey operates out of the First Federal Investments office in Lake Charles.

As Program Manager, Espey will oversee the Investments Program and is the primary liaison between the bank and the broker-dealer, Cetera Investment Services. Espey serves as Chairman of the First Federal Investments Committee for quarterly reporting to the Board of Directors of the bank. She leads a team of advisors and sales associates who develop personalized investment strategies to fit each client’s situation. The team strives to exceed expectations and help clients meet their financial goals. Espey joined First Federal Investments in 2018 and brought a wealth of knowledge in banking, financial services and investments to First Federal Bank. With over 20 years of experience working for foreign, national, regional and local organizations, Espey has developed unmatched skills and knowledge that she uses every day. She has successfully passed Series 7 and Series 66 exams. She is registered as an Investment Advisor Representative (IAR) with Cetera Investment Services and holds life, health and annuities insurance licenses. For more information, visit Securities and insurance products are offered through Cetera Investment Services LLC, member FINRA/ SIPC. Advisory services are offered through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. Neither Cetera Investment Services nor Cetera Investment Advisers are affiliated with the financial institution where investment services are offered. Investments are: *Not FDIC Insured *May lose value *Not financial institution Rodriguez Named Clinical Athletic Trainer of the Year Jason Rodriguez, MS, LAT, ATC, the High School Athletic Training Program Coordinator for the Center for Orthopaedics, was named the Clinical Athletic Trainer of the Jason Rodriguez Year by the Louisiana Athletic Trainers’ Association (LATA). The award was presented earlier this month at the group’s annual summer meeting. Rodriguez has been with the Center for Orthopaedics since 2012, supervising the group’s staff of athletic trainers who provide coverage for 16 area high schools. Originally from Houma, Louisiana, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in athletic training from Southeastern Louisiana University and a Master of Science degree in health and human performance with a concentration in exercise physiology from McNeese State University.

Rodriguez is nationally certified and state licensed as an athletic trainer. He has over 14 years of experience providing athletic training coverage to the student athletes of Southwest Louisiana, both at the collegiate and high school level. The LATA is a not-for-profit organization of healthcare professionals dedicated to the safety in sports completion and the profession of athletic training in Louisiana. Senator Ronnie Johns Announces Resignation to Accept Appointment to Chairman of Louisiana Gaming Control Board Senator Ronnie Johns has resigned his seat in the Louisiana Senate, where he has represented Ronnie Johns District 27 since 2012, in order to accept an appointment from Governor John Bel Edwards as the Chairman of the Louisiana State Gaming Control Board. Johns says the State Gaming Control Board serves as the regulatory body for the state’s riverboat licenses, the land-based casino in New Orleans, four racetracks, video poker and now, sports betting. “Sports betting was just approved by the state legislature in the session that ended in June. One of my first responsibilities as Chairman will be to promulgate all the regulations for this new gaming program in the state.” Johns previously served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1996 – 2008. He was elected to the State Senate in 2012 and has served continuously since then. He has devoted his legislative career to issues involving business and industry, healthcare, education and opioid abuse. He is known as a strong advocate for domestic violence victims, for adoption and foster care of children, and for victims of human trafficking. He is a member of the Board of CHRISTUS Health Southwestern Louisiana and also the Board of the Metanoia Foundation, which is dedicated to helping adolescent victims of human trafficking. Johns will assume his new position as Chairman of the State Gaming Board immediately.


Home & Family Ed u c a t i

Education Superheroes Super on

School will soon be back in session, and whether a student will learn virtually from home or participate in a classroom while wearing a mask, the one constant will be the dedication of the student’s teacher. This year, due to the COVID-19 crisis, educators have likely seen more changes in a short period of time to the way we “do” school than ever before. But as you will discover in the following pages, local education

heroes by Angie K a

y Dilmore

Most educators would agree, the 2020-2021 school year was the most challenging they have ever experienced. The double whammy of a global pandemic and several devastating, destructive storms made the task of educating students a logistical nightmare. Yet, teachers and other ancillary staff persevered through remote learning, mask-wearing, and social distancing by modifying their teaching methods and adapting to the difficult circumstances. This year, while nature may still hold some cards, SWLA educators are nonetheless optimistic for a positive, productive 2021-2022 school year. In our annual Education Superheroes section, we introduce a sample of all the excellent educators in our region. Thrive magazine gives a special congratulations shout out to Mr. Ronnie Harvey, Principal at Washington-Marion Magnet High School on being named Louisiana High School Principal of the Year!


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

sup of p to t cor ann loc wid of d also acr are ove of e

Ronnie XXXXXXX Harvey, Jr.

perheroes are up to the task providing a quality education their students, despite the ronavirus pandemic. In this nual feature, we spotlight eight cal educators who represent a de variety of roles in an array different school settings. They o represent fellow teachers all ross Southwest Louisiana who e committed and determined to ercome the current challenges educating our area youth.

Principal, Washington Marion Magnet High School, 2022 Louisiana Principal of the Year

Ronnie Wayne Harvey, Jr. was born and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2005. He was a member of the Zeta Xi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and a three-year letterman on the football team, starting 33 consecutive games for the Ragin’ Cajuns at Center. Last month during the annual Cecil Picard Excellence Educators Gala, Harvey learned he was chosen as Louisiana’s 2022 High School Principal of the Year. “I am still stunned, humbled, and I can’t believe I’ve been awarded this platform,” he says. “I hope to bring awareness to the education field and show young people the importance of pursuing careers in the education field. I plan to create a pathway where we start grooming teachers while they’re still in high school. I want to show the country the amazing programs and initiatives we have in Louisiana. And I will be a part of the vehicle that drives Louisiana education priorities. I’m especially passionate about developing and retaining a diverse, highly-effective educator workforce.” This self-professed “Education Change Agent” begins his 17th year in education this month. He first served as a Special Education teacher and coach, then a short stint as assistant principal, and as principal for the past four and a half years. “The need to always help others played a major role in deciding to pursue a career in education. I realized early that being a teacher allows you to aid in the birth process of all professions.” Harvey also credits his career choice to his former high school principal, Mrs. Madelyn Miller, and his football coach, Mr. Wayne Reese Sr.

Harvey says the greatest perk about serving as Washington-Marion High School principal is having the opportunity to serve in the community he grew up in and at the high school from which he graduated. “I have spent my entire teaching and most of my administrative career there. I love being able to work in the community and school that was responsible for the person I am becoming.” Keeping his staff and students on the same page and doing what’s best for the children are the greatest challenges Harvey fields every day. “We try not to shift the climate and culture of our school, and work to empower our community at the same time. Spending a lot of time in the community and tying the school to it along with the stakeholders has been instrumental in the success we have experienced.” After the events of 2020, Harvey looks forward to seeing everyone back in a normal setting together under one roof. “I cannot wait to begin reconnecting with the students. This year’s senior class has endured so much. These are the students who began their freshman year the same year I began my first year as principal here, so there is definitely a special bond with them.” AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS:

• 2022 Calcasieu Parish HS Principal of the Year • 2022 Louisiana High School Principal of the Year


Home Family | Education Superheroes Home&& Family | Education Superheroes

h on ev D t e B XXXXXXX e ll vi el M t i o n e B Sulphur High Catholic School, counselor. St. Margaret School 18 years in education. Pre-K3 – 8th grade Spanish teacher Devon Melville was born and raised in Cameron Parish and now resides in Lacassine. She graduated from McNeese State University with a bachelor’s degree in English Education and Foreign Languages (Spanish concentration) in 2014. At St. Margaret, she teaches Spanish to all grades and 8th grade Louisiana History. She also sponsors the Jr. Beta and Spanish Clubs. After high school, Melville says she had no definite career path in mind. “I knew I liked reading, writing, and Spanish; so, I enrolled in those classes. Eleven years later, I’m still doing what I love. Let’s just say, along the way, the field of education found me.” Melville says when working with children, every day is different. “The spontaneity of the job lends itself to happiness. It is especially rewarding in those moments you cannot predict, plan, or replicate, like a thank-you note from an introverted student during Teacher Appreciation Week or a struggling student volunteering to read. I’d like to think it’s because of my time spent lesson planning, researching videos, or attending conferences, but I know that is not the case. I simply provide opportunities for my students who take them and make them their own. I’m just thrilled I get to be there and watch as it unfolds.” 62

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

Of course, being a teacher also has its challenges, such as the never-ending to-do list, the research, the paperwork. “The biggest challenge is acknowledging what you need to do, what you want to do, and what to keep on the shelf for a rainy day. Finding this balance is the secret to success.” After the trials of the past 18 months, Melville is eager to get back into the classroom. She most anticipates the addition of 1:1 laptops for all Jr. High students. “We have been planning this transition for quite sometime – set back, of course, by COVID-19 and hurricanes – but it is finally coming to fruition. I can’t wait to see how our collaboration flourishes between our students, teachers, and community with this addition.” Melville is also excited that weekly mass returns to St. Margaret this fall. “We are a family, and celebrating mass together brings our faith together. Seeing students of all grades, all of whom I teach, at mass each Friday is the ‘holy moment’ I look forward to each week.”

m o l Lynne a a h S y r a M . t S Treme Guidance Counselor DeQuincy Middle School Lynne Treme is a native of DeQuincy and still calls this small town home. She attended McNeese State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and later earned her Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling. She taught in the classroom 23 years and has been a counselor at DeQuincy Middle School for the past 14 years. “I entered the field of education because I love working with children, and I want to make a difference in their lives and the world. Growing up I knew I had a connection with children and could relate to them, so education was the perfect field of study for me.” As a teacher, Treme says she loves to “see the light bulb come on in a student’s head. You know they get the concept they’re struggling with, and they want to share that newfound knowledge with you. As a guidance counselor, my most rewarding times are when a student comes back to me and tells me I made a difference in their life and helped them change the way they thought or felt about themselves.” “I want to make a difference in every child’s life,” says Treme. “I want them to flourish, grow and overcome all obstacles they may face, and I want to make their

lives better. Sometimes a child leaves school and goes home to an unsafe environment or an unloving family. My challenge is to make them feel safe and loved while they’re here at school and to be an advocate for them both at school and at home.” Treme looks forward to a calmer start to school this year, with no interruptions, facemasks, or social distancing. “My hopes are that students and parents will fully understand that having an excellent education takes everyone. I want all my students to be ready for the future and all the wonderful possibilities it holds for them. Most importantly, I want them to be the change they want to see in the world.” Treme was selected as 2021 Calcasieu Parish Middle School Counselor of the Year, named Calcasieu Parish Counselor of the Year, and nominated for Louisiana Counselor of the Year. She has been selected as Teacher of the Year for her school two times during her career and is on the Calcasieu Counselor’s Crisis Team. She and her husband, Tim Treme, received the DeQuincy Civic Service Award in 2019.


Home & Family | Education Superheroes

As h b r Gotreooke au Early Childhood Special Education Teacher College Oaks Elementary Ashbrooke Gotreau, a Southwest Louisiana native, earned her undergraduate degree at McNeese State University and her master’s at Northwestern State University. She has been teaching in a Pre-K autism classroom at College Oaks Elementary for eight years. “I became a teacher because I love helping children discover their inner voice. Whether it is communicated through spoken words, sign language, picture exchange, written words or a technology device, it is uniquely theirs and is something they will own and need beyond the academic setting.” Gotreau loves to see change happen in kids’ lives and for them to become excited to learn. “There is nothing harder than finding out what will make curriculum meaningful and inspire a student to work even when he or she doesn’t want to, and nothing better than the celebration when you can say together ‘You did it!’” She admits, learning how to maintain a work/life balance has been one of her greatest challenges. “My students mean the world to me, and with their exceptional learning gifts comes a lot of behind-thescenes prep work, creating visuals, hands-on activities, and individualizing lessons for each student’s strengths/needs. It’s so easy to work at school all day and then bring everything home and continue when it’s something you are so passionate about, but


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021

it also leads to an overload without time for yourself or your family. It has taken me awhile to find the balance, and it will always be a challenge because I absolutely love what I do.” Gotreau is eager for a more normal school environment this fall. “I am looking forward to a school year with less chaos and missed days so I can have the most time possible with my students to have an impact. I am also looking forward to students having more opportunities to learn and practice social skills and interactions with their peers. It’s so important in early childhood, especially for my students who have autism." GOTREAU HAS EARNED THE FOLLOWING AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS:

• 2014 College Oaks Elementary Teacher of the Year

• 2015 LACUE Early Childhood Educator of the Year for Region 5

• 2016 Presenter and Grant Recipient at Council for Exceptional Children Conference

• 2021 College Oaks Elementary Teacher of the Year

• 2021 Calcasieu Parish District Elementary Teacher of the Year

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St. Margaret Catholic School welcomes all children regardless of race, creed, or nationality.


Home & Family



The Burton College of Education at McNeese State University is one of only three programs in the state approved as a partner with the national Call Me MISTER program – Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models. The program begins this fall. Call Me MISTER is a highly acclaimed initiative created by Clemson University and is designed to recruit more men of color to become elementary or childhood education teachers. “Only 2% percent of the nation’s teachers are men of color,” says Dr. Terri Simpson, director for the Ann Rosteet Hurley Center for the Advancement of Quality Education. “Research proves that students of color do better in school when they are taught by someone who looks like them. This program has the potential to change lives.”

According to Simpson, students selected for the program will receive a scholarship as well as support and assistance from mentors to support their efforts to become effective teachers and community leaders. Dr. Ked Nicholas, dean of students at McNeese, will serve as the program’s lead mentor. “Each student will be paired with both a university and a community mentor to encourage leadership skills,” she says. “To enter the program, students must be accepted to McNeese, meet the criteria to enter the Burton College of Education and complete an application process to become a MISTER.” The college expects to welcome up to three students into the program this fall. In addition to developing leadership skills, students will also participate in both university and community service projects as well as work within local schools. “Part of being a leader is giving back to others,” says Simpson. “We want our students to excel in their careers and be change agents

in their communities. The MISTER program teaches life and leadership skills and promotes the impact of our candidates on PK-12 students and the community.” The Burton College of Education’s mission is to change lives through education by empowering students, investing in communities and changing the world and Simpson says that the Call Me MISTER program supports all three aspects of that mission. “This program promotes the diversification of effective teacher candidates graduating from our program, assists in growing the number of certified teachers and impacts student learning by offering a strong male role model of color,” says Simpson. For more information on the Call Me MISTER program, contact Dr. Angel Ogea, college dean, at more information on the Burton College of Education, visit www.mcneese. edu/education.

Meet the Newest Member of our medical Team

Dr. Marissa De La Paz, Family Medicine Specialist Imperial Health is proud to welcome Marissa De La Paz, MD, family medicine specialist to our medical staff. Originally from Cabot, Arkansas, Dr. De La Paz earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology, a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. She earned a Medical Degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, also in Little Rock, and then completed a residency in family medicine at the LSU Health Science Center Family Medicine Residency Program at Memorial Hospital in Lake Charles, LA. Dr. De La Paz is board certified by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Dr. De La Paz will provide primary care for adults and children over three years of age, as well as women’s health services. Dr. De La Paz will be joining Dr. Keane O’Neal and Dr. Melissa Rasberry starting September 1. She is taking appointments now. Call (337) 474-2856 to schedule.

2000 Southwood Drive | Lake Charles | (337) 474-2856 66

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021


CITGO roots stretch back more than 110 years, beginning with the founding of Cities Service in 1910. During WWII, there was a dire need for a facility to manufacture and supply the U.S. Armed forces with fuel. Cities Service answered the call, constructing a plant (now the CITGO Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex) in 1944 to refine crude oil into 100-octane fuel for U.S. bombers. Today, the CITGO Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex produces a wide range of products, primarily gasoline, diesel and jet fuels right here in Southwest Louisiana.

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.erutluC tneCITGO ilis2020eR Annual .deeccuS ot tliuB

Resilie W W W.CI TG O.C O M


Unique UniqueWOMEN. WOMEN. Unique Unique HEALTHCARE. HEALTHCARE. Every woman is different. Every phase of life is special. Cookie-cutter healthcare is not an Every woman is different. Every phase of life is special. Cookie-cutter healthcare is not an option. Ask women what kind of healthcare they want and here’s what they say.

option. Ask women what kind of healthcare they want and here’s what they say. “a hospital that’s all about women and babies”

“a hospital that’s all about women and babies” “a birth experience that centers on me and my baby”

“a birth experience thathealth centers on me my baby” “answers about my baby’s before theyand become questions” hospital newborn care” questions” “answers about“amy baby’swith health beforecritical they become “helps me understand if I am genetically at-risk for breast cancer”

“a hospital with newborn critical care”

“doctors and nurses who put my baby’s safety, not convenience, first”

“helps me understand if I am genetically at-risk for breast cancer” “a center of excellence specifically for women’s surgical needs”

“doctors “diagnostics and nurses for whobreast put my safety,all notinconvenience, andbaby’s bone health one place” first” “a breast surgeon understands the impact of breastsurgical cancer needs” for a woman” “a center of who excellence specifically for women’s “a hospital that doesn’t feel like a hospital”

“diagnostics for breast and bone health all in one place” “healthcare that keeps me wellthy (well + healthy)”

“a breast surgeon who understands the impact of breast cancer for a woman” You’ll find this and more at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women.

“a hospital that doesn’t feel like a hospital”


“healthcare that keeps me wellthy (well + healthy)”

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • August 2021