Thrive February 2021

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What are you in the mood for?

Heart Health Keeping the Beat

Plan your 2021 Vacation Healthy Teeth for Life


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

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• 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 • February 2021


Contents In This Issue

Regular Features

Wining & Dining 6-13 SPECIAL SECTION:

18 Recovery Spotlight 44 Business Buzz 56 Who’s News 77 Solutions for Life

eat local

14 Drink Trends for 2021 16 first person

- Rebekah Hoffpauir

Mind & Body


26 28 30 32

Heart Health- Keeping the Beat

Allergic Reactions How to Safely Return to Golf after a Winter Hiatus Avoid Diabetes Complications Pamper your Nose this Winter

Money & Career

34-41 SPECIAL SECTION: Tax Season 2021 42 6 Reasons to Refinance your Home

Places & Faces




Plan your 2021 Vacation

Style & Beauty

58 Renaitre - A Williamson Cosmetic Center

Home & Family


Healthy Teeth for Life 72-76 SPECIAL SECTION: Valentine’s Day

@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 • February 2020 2021

46 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







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Wining & Dining

Most every business in Southwest Louisiana, especially those in the food service industry, suffered loss to some degree last year, be it financial due to the economic downturn caused by a global pandemic, physical as a result of two major back-to-back hurricanes, or both. Yet these business owners continue to demonstrate great resiliency and determination. They are rebuilding, reopening, welcoming patrons back to their establishments, and feeding our community. This issue’s cover section encourages our readers to “Eat Local” and support the restaurants working hard to make a comeback.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

Our feature story highlights the wide diversity of cuisines available in our region and applauds the wonderful eateries of SWLA. You will also find a story on Adult Beverage Trends, a profile piece on Rebekah Hoffpauir, owner of the fabulous Bekery in Lake Charles, and our monthly Recovery Spotlight, which features businessman Ben Herrera, owner of 121 Artisan Bistro, who has recently acquired Restaurant Calla and will soon open The James 710 on Michael DeBakey Dr.

Bon appetit!



324 Pujo Street, Downtown Lake Charles | (337) 436-6251






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

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


Wining & Dining | eat local


Southwest Louisiana is known for its excellent food, and not only the Bayou State-inspired Cajun and Creole cuisine. Our region offers a wide variety of culturally diverse ethnic options. This story gives a glimpse of how some of these foods found their way to our little corner of the country, and where you can find them here today.

* (These lists of restaurants are only examples and by no means complete listings.)

What are you in the mood for?

by Angie Kay Dilmore

Villa Harlequin, 324 Pujo St, Lake Charles, La.

Filet with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes & Zucchini, Wild Mushroom Chianti Jus at Villa Harlequin

Mike Sperandeo says his family has the same story as many Italians and Sicilians that migrated to America. “My ancestors settled in New Orleans in the late 1800’s from Palermo, Sicily. A wealthy uncle was the benefactor for most of the family to make the voyage. My father’s father was in the restaurant business in New Orleans, and although he died when my father was only four, my dad, Marco Sperandeo, always wanted to own a restaurant. In the mid 1950’s, Marco was transferred to Lake Charles from NOLA to take the managerial position of the local branch of Bausch & Lomb Optical. We both remained in the optical business for many years. After several ventures in the restaurant business in the mid 1970’s to mid 80’s, Marco opened The Italian Villa in 1986 where Rikenjaks is now located. Many of the original recipes were from my grandmother and Marco’s sister, Josephine – both amazing Italian cooks. We were there on Ryan Street for 18 years. I decided, after working for Nic Hunter at The Harlequin for 10 years, to open my own restaurant again. In 2017, my lovely wife Brenda and I opened what we named The Villa and subsequently The Villa Harlequin when we merged with The Harlequin in 2019. The Villa Harlequin is a bit of a hybrid restaurant doing some classic Italian, some steaks and Harlequin dishes and many chef-driven dishes from Chef Amanda Cusey.” MORE ITALIAN OPTIONS: 121 Artisan Bistro, 121 Dr Michael Debakey Dr, Lake Charles, La. Tony’s Pizza, 335 E Prien Lake Rd, Lake Charles,La. Crust Pizza, 3479 Nelson Rd, Lake Charles, La. Joe’s Pizza and Pasta, 1601 Ruth St, Sulphur, La. Luigi’s Italian Grill, 3105 Edgar Brown Dr, W. Orange, Tx. Bruno’s Italian Kitchen, 3199 Dowlen Rd, Beaumont, Tx. Tuscany’s Italian Restaurant, 203 E Nezpique St #105, Jennings, La.

Shrimp Gamberetti at Villa Harlequin


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

Cousin’s Lebanese Cuisine, 2612 Kirkman St B, Lake Charles, La.

Brothers Sam and Georges Homsi left Lebanon in 1982 and came to America via Africa in 1986, supported and encouraged by their cousin George Abraham. Sam was first known for his Homsi’s Tobacco and Beer (originally on Broad St. and now on Kirkman St.) – a go-to for a wide variety of liquors. The brothers opened Cousin’s Lebanese Cuisine in 2012 and it’s been a dining destination in Lake Charles ever since. They’re best known for steaks, crawfish and shrimp dishes, and their loaded potatoes.

Ribeye at Cousin's Lebanese Cuisine

MORE MID-EASTERN/GREEK OPTIONS: Shwarmas, 2401 Ryan St, Lake Charles, La. Toga Grill, 4439 Nelson Rd, Lake Charles, La. Zeus, 409 W Prien Lake Rd #A, Lake Charles, La., 512 N Parkerson Ave, Crowley, La., and several locations in Lafayette. Elsa’s Greek Grill, 2604 Dowlen Rd Beaumont, Tx.

Shrimp over rice entree at Cousin's Lebanese Cuisine


Wining & Dining | eat local

Peking Gardens, 2433 Broad St, Lake Charles, La.

Flaming Volcano at Peking Garden

Mr. and Mrs. Tong Thy “Jay” Huang immigrated to the United States from Taiwan in 1976. They worked in the restaurant business in New Orleans, Houston, and here in Lake Charles. In 1984, they bought the China Garden Restaurant and re-opened it as the Peking Gardens. It’s been one of the area’s most popular Chinese restaurants for 35 years. Yueh Shing Chen Huang, aka “Mrs. Jay” developed the Hunanstyle Chinese menu and recipes. Several dishes, such as Dr. Bono’s Soup, Robert McHale’s Shrimp Noodles, and Dr. Cormier’s Eggrolls are named after long-time regular customers. Peking Gardens is also well known for their large, colorful tiki drinks, such as the Mai Tai and the Flaming Volcano (big enough for two!) In addition to great food, visiting Peking Gardens is like entering a Chinese art museum. It is furnished with fine furniture and antiques, dark wood paneling, large traditional Chinese paintings, lamps, bronze lions, a wooden Buddha, and other works of art. MORE ASIAN OPTIONS:

Robert McHale’s Shrimp Long Life Noodles at Peking Garden

Dr. Bono’s Soup Hot and Sour Soup at Peking Garden


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

UMAMI Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar, 915 E Prien Lake Rd, Lake Charles, La. Wok D’Lite, 339 E Prien Lake Rd, Lake Charles, La. Lillie’s Asian Cuisine, 2550 Golden Nugget Blvd, Lake Charles, La. Asia, 777 Ave L’Auberge, Lake Charles, La. Jo Jo’s China Bistro, 732 W Prien Lake Rd, Lake Charles, La. Yank Sing, 4626 Nelson Road, Lake Charles, La. West Lake Wings and Chinese Food, 831 McKinley St, Westlake, La.

Rosita’s Mexican Restaurant, 2401 E Napoleon St, Sulphur, La.,

Rosita’s has been serving satisfied customers since 2007. They have a reputation for being one of the most authentic Mexican establishments in the region – even down to the menu, which is written in Spanish with English translations. Along with the expected Mexican fare on their expansive menu, you’ll also find unique items such as Shrimp Ceviche and “Caldo de Camaron”, a rich shrimp soup. Or try their classic Carne Asada – grilled whole flank steak served with sliced, grilled cactus and onion, pico de gallo, roasted jalapeno, slice of lime, Spanish rice, refried beans and your choice of corn or flour tortillas.

Rosita's Shrimp Ceviche

OTHER MEXICAN OPTIONS: Casa Manana, 2510 Ryan St, Lake Charles, La. Que Pasa Taqueria, 4080 Nelson Rd, Lake Charles, La. Taco Mel, 2740 Country Club Rd, Lake Charles, La., 2237 Maplewood Dr, Sulphur, La. El Flamingo Mexican Restaurant, 2028 Highway 190 W, DeRidder, La. Rosita's Carne Asada


Wining & Dining | eat local

Leonard’s Food Quarters, 1708 Gerstner Memorial Dr, Lake Charles, La., Red Beans, Sausage and Rice at Leonard's Food Quarters

Leonard Fuselier opened his popular diner in 1986 after working in the restaurant business for nearly 30 years, starting as a dishwasher in the kitchen of a local bowling alley at age 16. Leonard’s fuses Cajun and Creole with a touch of soul. They specialize in Louisiana favorites such as boudin, cracklins, chicken and sausage gumbo, crawfish and shrimp etouffees, red beans and rice, and their own brand of Creole seasonings.


Regatta Seafood and Steakhouse, 508 Hawkeye Ave, Lake Arthur, La. Cecil’s Cajun Kitchen, 120 W 1st St, DeRidder, La. Cajun Tales Seafood, 501 N Adams St, Welsh, La.

Seafood at Leonard's Food Quarters


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

Royal Tandoor

4315 Common St, Lake Charles, La. On their menu, Royal Tandoor is touted as a “Palace of Authentic Curries, Naan, and More.” While this Indo/Pakistani establishment may appear humble, one look at their menu will make diners feel special indeed. Each item is so tempting, you may have a hard time deciding what to order; but butter chicken is a favorite.

Royal Tandoor Hummus

MORE INDIAN OPTIONS: Raja’s Curry Kitchen and Grill, 3821 Ryan St, Lake Charles, La. Masala Indian Kitchen, 2208 Kaliste Saloom Rd, Lafayette, La.

Royal Tandoor Butter Chicken


Wining & Dining

The Spirits Industry 2021 Adult Beverage Trends

Last year, the beverage industry faced a global storm of epic proportion. 2020 brought massive disruption and many unforeseen operational challenges. As a result, the beverage industry will be forever changed by the lessons learned in 2020. Consumers today have a profound, new appreciation for the importance of health, safety and personal responsibility. Many of the beverage trends that were evident in late 2019 began to accelerate in early 2020, as consumer behavior adapted to making essential choices, often under restrictive conditions. Initially, buying big, trusted brands became the norm. But more recently, beverage shoppers appear to be reverting to some of their pre-COVID habits – interest in health and wellness attributes and willingness to try new products and indulge themselves. Looking ahead, many of these new behaviors are likely to continue well into this year, as consumers remain mindful of their vulnerability while awaiting vaccination.

Four Key Trends for 2021:

Ultra-Premium now within reach

The long-term trend in the premiumization of spirits has strengthened under COVID-19. In the US, a recent trade survey by Drizly noted that tequila surpassed ‘longtime growth champ’ bourbon as the top spirit retailers expect to stock more of in the next one to three years. This response marked a ‘significant change’ compared to last year when retailers were asked a similar question, and tequila placed 30 points behind bourbon. In third place was vodka, followed by scotch and mezcal. On Drizly’s platform, tequila has grown its share by 22% over the past year, while mezcal’s share has risen by 57%.

Ready to Drink (RTD) Alcohol - not your Dad’s “alco-pop”

RTD alcohol, led by hard seltzers, saw explosive growth in 2020 and experts agree this trend will continue in 2021. As craft spirits reach maturity in 2021, consumers can expect to see more collaboration between traditional craft distillers and RTD alcohol brands in an effort to spur further innovation in this fast-growing category.

by Ross Colbert

Low & No-Alcohol goes to Main Street

What started as Dry January and Sober October has evolved into a growing trend towards more mindful drinking year-round. Last year’s boom in hard seltzers has led to a new wave of innovation in low/no-alc elixirs, botanicals, and zero-proof spirits. Increasingly, spirit research confirms that consumers are actively shifting their drinking choices to include low/non-alc options. The category’s growth has not gone unnoticed by retailers – in New York’s Lower East Side, a new storefront called Spirited Away offers 80 different alcohol-free spirits, beer, apertifs, and “leisure sodas”. Most brands are less than two years old, which suggests we’re likely to see more developments in 2021.

Craft spirits grow up

The past year has been a roller-coaster ride for most craft spirits companies – from trying to minimize out-of-stocks in the offpremise channel to fighting for survival in the languishing on-premise channel. For many in Spring 2020, producing hand sanitizer was the only option. A key lesson from 2020 has been the consumer’s willingness to “trade-up” to ultra-premium, especially in “hot” categories such as Tequila and Mezcal, Bourbon, and Cognac. Each of these categories are expected to witness significant growth in 2021. Ross Colbert is a Managing Director in the Corporate Finance group of KPMG, focused on the beverage industry.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

1 2 0 2


by Local Bartenders

Kari Manuel with her Coconut Basil Gimlet at Villa Harlequin

Moscow Mule at Restaurant Calla

Crying Eagle Brewing Co.

Villa Harlequin

Restaurant Calla

“The Blood and Honey cocktail beautifully balances refreshing and boozy. We pair a generous pour of Bulleit Bourbon with blood orange puree, lemon juice, and a house made rosemary honey syrup. Served in a coup glass with a rosemary sugar rim, this is a perfect after work cocktail.”

It’s the age of the craft cocktail. Bartenders are creative chefs these days using fresh ingredients, fruits, berries, herbs and a variety of bitters to mention a few. Kari Manuel, one of the Villa Harlequin bartenders, says it’s good to change the drink list up from time to time. “Makes the job fun and customers seem to like it.”

“ As we move into 2021, the Moscow Mule will creep its way back to the top as spring and summer roll around. I would like to see how other restaurants put their own spin on the classic, yet timeless cocktail. Such a simple concoction (vodka, ginger beer, and mint) can create such a refreshing drink to enjoy with any meal.”

- Bartender Kari Manuel

- Lead Bartender Brandon Ashford

The The Blood and Honey cocktail at Crying Eagle Brewing

- Bar Manager Amber Jay


4503 Nelson Rd. Lake Charles, LA 70605


3546 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy A Lafayette, LA 70503



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Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

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Wining & Dining Rebekah Hoffpauir was born into a family of successful entrepreneurs – her father owns a construction company, her mother owns Hoffpauir Properties, and her older brother has a design business with his partner. In 2015, Rebekah graduated with a degree in Business Management from McNeese State University. Though baking was always a passion for Rebekah, she never considered it a career option until high school, when she realized she could do anything she put her mind to. Rebekah’s love of baking grew out of a series of experiences – her parents gave her an Easy-Bake Oven when she was five years old. She baked cookies using pre-made dough as soon as she was old enough to use an oven. As a teen, she’d stay up late at night watching The Food Network. When her family vacationed in Europe, she fell in love with little coffee shops, bakeries, breads, and the slower pace of life. Rebekah says her father and grandmother are amazing cooks and she learned from them the importance of gathering around good food in our Southwest Louisiana culture. In 2016, she opened the Bekery, which has become a cherished Lake Area eatery. Thrive magazine recently chatted with Rebekah, where she talked about the challenges and rewards of opening a bakery.

first person with

Rebekah Hoffpauir In the Business of Baking story by Angie Kay Dilmore, photos by Shonda Manuel


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

Describe your childhood growing up in downtown Lake Charles.

My parents, Kathryn & Drew Hoffpauir, taught me the value of hard work and organization but also provided a fun and loving home. They didn’t have a lot of free time but always made sure we took at least one great vacation a year. I have two brothers, Drew and Hayden. Drew was my voice when I was too shy to speak. Hayden came along when I was eight years old and he was a real-life doll to me. We are all very close and do everything together. We make a perfect team – everyone has different skills and talents – and strive to make Lake Charles a better place.

What prompted you to open a bakery?

I don’t remember ever wanting to do anything else. It takes a LOT of time, money, and support to open a business. A lot of time. I just wouldn’t take no for an answer. When my parents still didn’t fully support the idea after college, I spent some time in Verona, Italy as an au pair. After I returned, I was so inspired by the small Italian bakeries, I was more focused than ever.

How has the Bekery evolved over the past five years?

It has certainly evolved from concept to where it is today. My parents had just remodeled their kitchen so I took full advantage of the appliances making and selling King Cakes from home in the spring of 2016. That may have been the catalyst to their agreeing to help me get a real bakery open. My dad carved out a small area in his warehouse for a kitchen. Then we decided I would need a small waiting area. And a customer restroom. And maybe a patio. With a firepit. Within the first year I had outgrown the space. We shut down for a much-needed vacation and when I returned, it was done and we re-opened in the space you see now. Initially, I offered cookies, quiches, cinnamon rolls and a “cake of the day.” I offered coffee from a Keurig machine. It was just me at first. Later, I hired my cousin to help with prep and cleaning. Then I hired front-of-the house help because it was too hard for me to bake and take care of the customers myself. I remember my first $1000 day and not being able to go to an event with

my family that evening because my feet and ankles were so swollen. I now have four full-time and several part-time employees and I could not do it without them. They have become like family to me. When still planning the Bekery, I knew I wanted to offer breads, though I wasn’t certain how to bake them. I had no idea what a quiche was. I didn’t know how to make croissants. But I didn’t let that stop me. Soon after I opened the Bekery, I was on a waiting list for a professional baking course at the King Arthur Flour headquarters in Vermont. They’d had a cancellation and I got a call asking if I’d like the spot. I had to be in Vermont in two days. 20 minutes later, I had a flight booked. That is where I learned to bake quiche and the proper method to make croissants. Now those items are two of my biggest sellers.

What do you love about owning a bakery?

I don’t have a set menu. It changes regularly because I love the creativity and input of other chefs, or if I find something that inspires me. It never gets boring or stagnant – it’s always something new and different, always learning. I love food, the way it brings people together, and watching them enjoy it.

What has surprised and challenged you?

I wasn’t expecting it to grow this big. And I didn’t anticipate the hours I put in. But I was most surprised by how hard it is to manage people – employees, customers, vendors. I would be perfectly happy creating in the kitchen but being an actual business owner requires so much more of my time and energy than I realized.

Describe how the events of 2020 affected your business.

When COVID restrictions were first implemented, we tried to do carry-out only for a while. I was going in the red every day, so we made the tough decision to close completely

for about a month. Business was slow when we re-opened and we were just hitting our stride when Hurricane Laura struck. Our building was hit pretty hard, but we were much more fortunate than others. We re-opened again on October 21 – our four-year anniversary – and we’ve been busier than ever.

What are your goals for the Bekery?

Big things are in store for the Bekery’s future. A new location is coming soon but it will have the same coziness and charm. You may even see mimosas on the menu! I would love to see “the Bekery” items in grocery stores someday but that’s a whole other animal.

How do you spend your spare time?

I honestly don’t have a lot of spare time. This bakery is my work and my hobby. Maintaining relationships with friends and family is challenging with the long, strange hours I keep. If I could do more, I’d travel. I hope someday I can shut down completely for a few weeks a year and travel. Paris is top on my list!

Name some things most people don’t know about you.

I’m a true introvert. I know it’s important but making eye contact and chatting wears me out. I don’t talk a lot, but when I get comfortable, I’m told I have a wicked sense of humor. I’ve even been known to sing karaoke in front of a large crowd! I’ve lived in Louisiana my whole life, but I cannot eat spicy food – my dad says I have a Yankee palette. And I’m obsessed with my cool, crazy Bengal cat named Roman.


Wining & Dining


Herrera at Calla

Ben Herrera EXPANDS DINING OPTIONS IN LAKE CHARLES story by Angie Kay Dilmore, photos by Chris Brennen

This year marks Ben Herrera’s 20th anniversary as a Lake Charles restaurateur. He first opened DeAngelo’s Pizzeria Company in 2001, but that eatery was destroyed in a fire in 2008. Herrera rebuilt his establishment in 2009, changed the concept to upscale casual, expanded the menu, and renamed it 121 Artisan Bistro. “It’s been a local dining staple for over ten years,” he says. Damage to the structure from Hurricanes Laura and Delta was minor and superficial, which allowed Herrera to reopen quickly. “121 Artisan Bistro was one of the first full-service, independent restaurants to reopen after the storm.”


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

Herrera acquired majority ownership of City Market and Deli last May, which he is reopening as a new restaurant called The James 710. Hurricanes Laura and Delta and the COVID-19 pandemic brought progress on that property to a halt, but Herrera intends to open his newest restaurant sometime this month. He’s been renovating the building and plans a Modern American cuisine menu with a social, upscale casual atmosphere, and outdoor patio dining available year around. This building also suffered minimal loss due to the storms.

Last fall, Herrera became the majority owner of Restaurant Calla, another popular eatery. Renovations after the aquisition started in October and Herrera reopened in December. He says Calla has been one of his favorite restaurants and he’s passionate about keeping the brand and name going. “I just didn’t want to see it turned into office space.” Herrera says patio renovations are in the works to offer year around outdoor dining at Calla, as well. Calla sustained minor damage due to the storms. “We were fortunate that all three buildings were well built and incurred minor damage; unlike my home which was destroyed.” As if these projects weren’t ambitious enough, Herrera says he has a food trailer opening in March on Beglis Parkway in Sulphur and two other eateries in the planning stages. During the challenging events of 2020, when most businesses struggled financially, Herrera says he decided to be ‘bullish’ rather than hold back as a businessman. “There are many opportunities for restaurants right now. Unfortunately, several might never come back. But we need great restaurants. I want to give back to the community that supported us over the years by providing jobs and places to go out and socialize. I want to keep the economy going.”

121 Artisan Bistro offers a wide selection of fine wines; photo by Chris Brennen

Herrera preps vegetables at 121 Artisan Bistro; photo by Chris Brennen

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Mind & Body

Heart Health:

Keeping the Beat You might think hearts are front and center in February because of Valentine’s Day, but this month is also American Heart Month. This designation was instituted by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 to encourage and motivate people to adopt heart healthy behaviors. In this special section on Heart Health, you’ll find stories on How Spouses Share a Lot – including heart healthy habits, the Benefits of Cardiac Rehabilitation, and a page full of fascinating statistics on heart disease in our By the Numbers feature.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

heart of the we get to the

matter. FEBRUARY

Heart health is vital to your overall well-being. By exercising regularly, choosing healthy foods, controlling stress as much as possible, and monitoring your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers, you are on the right path for a strong, healthy heart. As we celebrate American Heart Month in February, West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital is committed to healthy hearts now, and all year long. From health and wellness checks to our own Dynamic Dimensions Fitness Centers, we’re your team for good heart health.

701 Cypress Street, Sulphur


Mind & Body |

Keeping the Beat

Work Out your Heart Health

Benefits of Cardiac Rehab Approximately 800,000 people in the United States have a heart attack every year. Around one in four of those people already had at least one heart attack. Cardiac rehabilitation not only can help a person recover from a heart problem but can also prevent future heart problems.

What is cardiac rehabilitation? Cardiac rehabilitation is an important program for anyone recovering from a heart attack, heart failure, or other heart problem that required surgery or medical care. This supervised program includes:

• Physical activity. • Education about healthy living, healthy

eating, medicines, and smoking cessation.

• Counseling to find ways to relieve stress

and improve mental health. • A team of people may be involved in your cardiac rehabilitation, including your health care team, exercise and nutrition specialists, physical therapists, and counselors.

Who needs cardiac rehabilitation? Anyone who has had a heart problem, such as a heart attack, heart failure, or heart surgery, can benefit from cardiac rehabilitation. Studies show that cardiac rehabilitation helps people of all ages, and people with mild, moderate, and severe heart problems. However, some people are less likely to start or finish a cardiac rehabilitation program.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

Studies show that women, especially minority women, are less likely than men to start or complete cardiac rehabilitation. This may be because doctors may be less likely to suggest cardiac rehabilitation to women. Older adults are also less likely to join a cardiac rehabilitation program following a heart problem. They may think they are unable to do the physical activity because of their age, or they may have other conditions that can make exercising harder, such as arthritis. The need to address other physical conditions makes cardiac rehabilitation especially useful for older adults, since it can improve strength and mobility to make daily tasks easier.

How does cardiac rehabilitation help? Cardiac rehabilitation can have many health benefits in both the short and long term, including:

• Heart and body strengthening after a heart attack.

• Relief of heart problem symptoms, such as chest pain.

• Healthier habit formation such as getting

more physical activity, quitting smoking, and eating a heart-healthy diet. A nutritionist or dietitian may work with you to help you limit foods with unhealthy fats and eat more fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. • Stress reduction. • Improved mood. People are more likely to feel depressed after a heart attack. Cardiac rehabilitation can help prevent or lessen depression.

• Increased energy and strength to make

daily activities like carrying groceries and climbing stairs easier. • Making you more likely to take your prescribed medicines that help lower your risk for future heart problems. • Future illness and death from heart disease prevention. Studies have found that cardiac rehabilitation decreases the chance that you will die in the five years following a heart attack or bypass surgery by about 35%.

Where can you get cardiac rehabilitation? Some programs are conducted in a hospital or rehabilitation center, and other programs can be done in your home. Cardiac rehabilitation may start while you are still in the hospital or right after you leave the hospital. Programs usually last about three months but can range anywhere from two to eight months. If you have a heart attack or other heart problem, cardiac rehabilitation is an important part of your recovery. Cardiac rehabilitation can help prevent another, perhaps more serious, heart attack and can help you build heart-healthy habits. Talk to your doctor about cardiac rehabilitation. Many insurance plans, including Medicaid and Medicare, cover the program if you have a doctor’s referral. Source:


Mind & Body |


Keeping the Beat

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

Sinus & Allergies Tonsils | Head & Neck Cancer Thyroid Disorders Sleep Apnea

Beth Corbello, FNP-C

L.M. “Chip” Warshaw, MD

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Mind & Body |


Keeping the Beat

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021


CLAIMS MORE LIVES THAN ALL FORMS OF CANCER COMBINED Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS) is a world-leader in the diagnosis andtreatment of all forms of heart and vascular disease, including peripheral vascular disease and venous disease in the legs, valvular disease and heart arrhythmias.



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Mind & Body

When Allergies Become

Extreme by Christine Fisher

It’s usually innocent items like pecans, shrimp, or egg whites; or it could be a medication or a bee sting. These everyday things have the potential to send someone into a life-threatening emergency very quickly if they are severely allergic to them. Unfortunately, the allergen is usually unknown until an allergic reaction takes place. It could be a mild wake-up call or it could be a full-blown anaphylaxis reaction, which goes beyond a slight allergy. “Anaphylaxis is a serious, potentially life-threatening allergic response that occurs throughout the whole body,” says Lesley “Chip” Warshaw, MD, ear, nose and throat physician with ENT Associates of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital. “Mild allergies to pollen or grass might be noticed with itchy, watery eyes, or congestion, but anaphylaxis involves a severe immune system response that is evident quickly after exposure and requires immediate medical attention.” Dr. Warshaw says that people with a history of mild allergic reactions may be at greater risk for developing a severe reaction in the future. “They may go for years after having a mild reaction and not have a problem and then be exposed to a similar allergen and experience anaphylaxis. Repeated exposures can lead to more serious reactions.”


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

The only fast, effective treatment is epinephrine by injection. Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, rapidly reverses anaphylactic symptoms. After a severe allergic reaction, many people are prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector, commonly known as an EpiPen. This medication acts on the whole body to block the progression of an allergic response. It constricts the blood vessels, leading to increased blood pressure and decreased swelling. This allows the muscles around the airways to relax, causing the lungs to open. Epinephrine also prevents the release of more allergic chemicals, which stops the progression of the allergic response. Once prescribed, the individual should keep the medication with them at all times, in case an allergic reaction occurs. Dr. Warshaw says immediate medical attention is needed. Without it, anaphylaxis can worsen very quickly and lead to anaphylactic shock, which further affects the airway and heartbeat. “It is a frightening experience. The symptoms come on suddenly and are exponentially more severe than what they’ve experienced in the past,” he explains. People with this potential should do everything they can to prevent exposure, but at some point, they’ll likely come in contact with an allergen. Knowing the symptoms of anaphylaxis, having an automatic epinephrine injection system and following up with emergency care is the best remedy.

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Walk-ins Welcome Telehealth Appointments Available Ashley Desormeaux, APRN, FNP-C

Imperial Health is pleased to welcome Family Nurse Practitioner Ashley Desormeaux, APRN, FNP-C, to our primary care clinic Iowa. Ashley and her staff offer experienced healthcare services for residents in the region, backed by the resources of the region’s largest multi-specialty medical group, Imperial Health. Iowa Primary Care Clinic provides convenient access to routine care, treatment for illness and injury, CDL (commercial driver’s license) physicals, lab draw services, and management of chronic conditions for patients. We are committed to providing personalized care and timely appointments. Most insurance plans, including Medicare, are accepted.

The care you need, where you need it – in Iowa! Call today to schedule your appointment, (337) 582-5555. 607 N. Thomson Ave., Iowa |

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Mind & Body


Complications by Kristy Como Armand

Blindness. Amputation. Heart Attack. Stroke. Kidney Failure. These may sound like frightening worst-case diabetic scenarios, but they are the alltoo-real complications that can occur when blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol are out of control. “Most people with diabetes don’t want to think serious problems like these will happen to them,” says Tyler Zachary, MD, endocrinologist with the Endocrinology Center of SWLA. “Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a serious wake-up call like a foot infection or bleeding vessels in the eye before a patient realizes the very real risk of complications they face if they don’t manage their disease.” Diabetes results when the body either doesn’t produce insulin, produces too little of it, or doesn’t respond to the insulin it does produce. Without insulin the body can’t metabolize sugar. Over time, high blood sugar slowly injures the blood vessels, nerves, and organs in your body. More than 34 million Americans—approximately 1 in 10 – have diabetes, according to data from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Those with diabetes have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than they would without the disease, according to the ADA (American Diabetes Association). The annual cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is more than $327 billion. Dr. Zachary explains that the higher your blood sugar is, and the longer it stays high, the worse the damage becomes. “Damage is slow and occurs over a period of years, but it probably begins when blood sugar is at mildly elevated levels. This means the damage has likely begun before a person is even aware they have the disease. Many people have the disease for five to seven years before being diagnosed.”


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

Dr. Tyler Zachary adds that damage to the body from diabetes does not occur in the same way for everyone, and that genetics probably influence which complications you are more susceptible to. “Although the potential complications of diabetes are serious, they are not inevitable.” Dr. Zachary offers the following suggestions for reducing your risk: Be committed. Your healthcare providers will help you learn the basics of diabetes care and offer support and encouragement along the way, but it’s up to you to manage your condition. Learn all you can about diabetes. Make healthy eating and physical activity part of your daily routine in order to maintain a healthy weight. Monitor your blood sugar level and follow your doctor’s instructions for keeping it within your target range. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and guidance when you need it. See your doctor(s) regularly. Your regular diabetes checkups aren’t meant to replace yearly physician visits or routine eye exams. An annual physical gives your doctor the opportunity to look for any diabetes-related complications, including signs of kidney damage, nerve damage and heart disease, as well as screen for other medical problems. Your eye care specialist will check for signs of retinal damage, cataracts and glaucoma. Keep your vaccines up-to-date. High blood sugar can weaken your immune system, which makes routine vaccinations even more important for diabetics. Ask your doctor about flu, pneumonia and other recommended vaccinations. Take care of your oral health. Diabetics are more likely to get gum infections. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss your teeth once a day, and schedule dental exams at least twice a year. Consult your dentist right away if your gums bleed or look red or swollen. Pay attention to your feet. High blood sugar can damage the nerves in your feet and reduce blood flow to your feet. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections. To prevent foot problems, wash your feet daily and dry gently, especially between the toes. Moisturize your feet and ankles with lotion. Check your feet daily for problems such as blisters, cuts, redness or swelling. Consult your doctor if you have a sore that doesn’t start to heal within a few days. Manage blood pressure and cholesterol. Like diabetes, high blood pressure can damage your blood vessels. High cholesterol is a concern, too, since the damage is often worse and more rapid when you have diabetes. When these conditions team up, they can lead to a heart attack, stroke or other life-threatening conditions. Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly are the best ways to control high blood pressure and cholesterol. If you require medication, be sure to take as directed.

Don’t smoke. If you smoke or use other types of tobacco, ask your doctor to help you quit. Smoking increases your risk of various diabetes complications, including heart attack, stroke, nerve damage and kidney disease. In fact, smokers who have diabetes are three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than are nonsmokers who have diabetes, according to the ADA.


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If you drink alcohol, do so responsibly. Alcohol can cause either high or low blood sugar, depending on how much you drink and if you eat at the same time. If you choose to drink, do so only in moderation and always with a meal. Remember to include the calories from any alcohol you drink in your daily calorie count. Control stress. The hormones your body may produce in response to prolonged stress may prevent insulin from working properly, which only makes matters worse. In addition, when you are stressed, you’re more likely to abandon your usual diabetes care routine. To take control, set limits, prioritize your tasks, learn relaxation techniques and get plenty of sleep. “Diabetes care is within your control,” stresses Dr. Zachary. “If you’re willing to do your part, diabetes won’t stand in the way of an active, healthy life.” For more information about diabetes management, call Dr. Zachary at the Endocrinology Center, 310-3670.

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

Enhancing your face requires the skill of a surgeon and the eye of an artist. Enhancing the overall appearance of your face should be a gentle, carefully proportioned process. Considerably more than improving the tone and texture of the skin, or adjusting the width of the nose, it’s an opportunity to reveal a fresher more balanced, more perfected appearance. For that, you need not only a highly skilled surgeon, but also the keen eye of an experienced artist. Uncovering your beauty beneath demands a special touch.

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Mind & Body

Tips to Safely Return to Golf after a Winter Hiatus by Ashley Fontenot Hornsby

As temperatures begin to rise, so might the itch to dust off the golf clubs and meet your friends for a round of golf. Winter tends to put us in hibernation mode. We become less active, stay inside and sit more. Combine that with the fact that many of our jobs are sedentary, and it can create a loss of strength and movement in two key parts of the body: the back and hips – crucial areas to attain that perfect swing.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

Hip mobility is necessary for a full, balanced golf swing. Good hip rotation allows you to obtain a proper stance, back swing, and follow through. If you lack motion in the hips, that motion must come from somewhere else, i.e. the back or knees. Your back might also be stiff. Loss of mobility in that area can wreak havoc on your golf swing and cause neck and shoulder discomfort in your daily life. When we turn, our bodies are designed to rotate about 35 degrees each direction from our mid back, so it can be a critical factor in your swing. Practice these two drills to maximize mobility and strength through these areas of the body and help you prepare to hit the greens.



Your day-to-day activities are generally performed directly in front of you. Consequently, your neck and back tend to move forward into a flexed position. If you don’t actively counteract the constant movement forward, rotation and extension become more and more difficult to achieve. Most people lack variety of movement in their lives, so it is essential that you make a conscious effort to add rotation and extension activities to improve these movements through the spine.

Because of the amount of sitting we do for work and relaxation, our hips often pay the price with increased tightness and loss of mobility. It’s important to incorporate movements to restore and maintain our hip range of motion. At first, the exercise may seem complicated, but after you spend a few minutes to work through it, you’ll find it’s pretty easy to master.

This activity may feel difficult initially but if you’re consistent over time, you’ll move through the range with much more ease. Get on your hands and knees on the floor, ground or even your bed. Place your hands under your shoulders and your knees slightly apart under each hip. Rock backwards, bringing your hips back towards your heels. This rock back position allows your low back to flex. The motion should come primarily from the midback. Place one hand behind your head and rotate as far as you can to that side. Keep your hand in contact with the floor. Focus on opening up your chest to the wall you are rotating towards and moving only at the midback.

Start by sitting on the floor (or bed if you have difficulty sitting on the floor). Have your shins form a 90-degree box - this is where it gets its name. Sit up tall while your legs remain in this position. For some, the tension in the hips may keep you from getting in this position. If so, simply lean back on your hands. This modification should allow most to be able to continue this exercise Next, perform the “switch”. From the starting position, lift your knees up and drop them down to the opposite side to form the same 90-degree box. Rotate back and forth 10 times. As you become more comfortable with the movement you can spend 30 seconds on each side for a total of five minutes.

The game of golf requires strength, power, mobility, and endurance to do well. A well-rounded training program would address all these aspects and more to improve your game. If hitting the links is on your to-do list, be sure you’re ready to play pain-free and beat your buddies off the tee box by incorporating these tips to help you play and feel your best! Ashley Fontenot Hornsby is a physical therapist and co-owner at Thrive Physical Therapy. She is a graduate of McNeese State University and Texas Woman’s University. She specializes in the treatment of headaches, neck pain, and TMJ disorder, as well as orthopedics and sports rehabilitation.


Mind & Body

Know what your Nose Needs this Winter

by Kristy Como Armand

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about your nose – until cold weather hits. Then it may seem like all your attention is centered on the sensitive skin on the center of your face as you battle cold weather combined with the often-miserable symptoms of sniffling, sneezing and stuffiness.

Dr. Bridget Loehn, ENT (ear, nose and throat) & Allergy specialist with Imperial Health says you can better understand how to care for your nose in the winter season if you understand more about how the winter season affects your nose. “Any extremity, whether nose or toes, is affected by temperature changes because these blood vessels are the first to react,” explains Dr. Loehn. “In cold, outdoor air, blood vessels compress and become smaller. This results in less blood flow to the skin, which causes the skin to become more easily irritated.” The widely varying temperatures of winters in Southwest Louisiana don’t help, she adds. “Just as frigid outdoor air causes the blood vessels to clamp down, warm air opens them up. So, the changing weather we typically experience here, with several days of cold weather followed by several days of warm weather, can wreak havoc on the blood vessels in the nose, exacerbating cold symptoms and leading to increased sensitivity.” Dr. Loehn says the lower humidity of the winter season, and dry heated air indoors, further irritates nasal skin inside and out.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

“Your nose tends to dry out, especially the skin right underneath or between your nostrils. And when you’ve got a runny nose, the small blood vessels lining the nose become irritated. Blowing or rubbing your nose aggravates the nose skin, which is sensitive anyway.” Fortunately, Dr. Loehn says there are steps you can take to keep your nasal passages comfortable during the winter months. First, she says it’s important to correct some common misconceptions about caring for your nose. “Although saunas and steamy showers might seem like a good way to counteract dry indoor air, this isn’t really the best solution. Steamed heat will open up nasal passages, but that’s a temporary fix that doesn’t resolve the problem. Once cold air hits your nose again, the passages will close up, which only causes more nose irritation.” Many people also think humidifiers are the solution, but these also don’t provide any real relief. “It’s fine to consider a humidifier if the air is really dry in your home,” says Dr. Loehn. “This may make you feel temporarily more comfortable but won’t cure your symptoms. If you use a humidifier, you may also be increasing your risk of other respiratory conditions if you don’t clean it regularly and carefully. Humidifiers can develop bacteria and mold, which can be released into the air and cause respiratory problems.” A vaporizer is another option. Dr. Loehn says the hot steam from this device is best for relieving congestion when you have a cold, but it won’t restore moisture to your nasal passages.

“The bottom line is that your nose needs a little pampering in winter,” says Dr. Loehn. She offers the following suggestions for nasal care:

• Moisturize nasal skin every morning. Use a water-based

moisturizer that contains sunscreen. Petroleum-based moisturizes like Vaseline are too thick and will close off the skin, preventing glands from secreting oil. Avoid applying on any mucosal surface in the nasal cavity. • Reapply moisturizer during the day. Keep a small tube or container of moisturizer with you during the day and apply frequently. This will help keep your nose comfortable all day long, especially if you sneeze and/or blow your nose frequently. • Use saline nasal spray. This is the best remedy for restoring moisture to mucus membranes which will dry out in the cold and dry air of winter. Nasal saline gel is another option that allows less frequent applications. • Minimize exposure to cold air. In really cold weather, if you must be outdoors, wear a scarf that covers your nose. Not only will the scarf protect your nose from the temperature, but your breath will add humidity to the air inside the scarf, which will help prevent dryness. For more information about nasal care, or any ENT problem, call Dr. Loehn at (337) 419-1960.

Now located at 519 Kirby Street in Lake Charles

Lake Charles • Sulphur 337-533-1808 • Federally Insured by NCUA


Money & Career

Tax Season

2021 Back in 1789, Benjamin Franklin penned an observation to a colleague that has stood the test of time: “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Unfortunately, tax season is here, which can be painful for many of us. But knowledge is power, right! Armed with useful information, doing your taxes may be less of a burden than you might guess. In this special section on tax preparation, you’ll get a refresher on the basics, discover deductions that might surprise you, and find an update on the newest tax laws. Now start crunching those numbers!


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

IndustryInsider Straight Answers to Your Questions on Industry and the Environment

Q: A:

I see the flares burning at local industries and can’t help but wonder what they’re burning, or if something is on fire. Is it dangerous? Flares are a safety mechanism.

Flares process excess gas by burning it off. This safety mechanism minimizes air pollution and helps prevent industrial accidents. The noise that sometimes accompanies a flare is from the steam that’s used as a coolant. When the steam is introduced, it creates a hissing or rumbling noise. The steam cools the system, reduces smoke and minimizes air pollution. We know flares can cause concern and questions, and we try to minimize their use as much as possible because they’re so costly. Understanding why the flares are used can hopefully put any concerns to rest.

Joe Andrepont

senior community affairs director with local industry

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


Money & Career | Tax Season 2021

What’s Your

Tax IQ -Know the Basics It’s tax time again and accountants are getting lots of questions, especially from young people facing tax bills for the first time. Understandably, they want to know how they can reduce their taxes. While it’s easy to rely on tax software or have a professional do your taxes, it’s important to have an understanding of the basics. What to report? What not? Should I take the standard deduction or itemize? If you understand these things, it will help you ask smart questions and make sure you’re taking advantage of legitimate breaks. Whether or not you do your own taxes, it helps to brush up on a few fundamental tax concepts. Ultimately, it’s not how much you earn but what you keep that counts. What’s included in gross income? Your gross, or total, income includes two things: your earned income (wages, salary, self-employment income, tips, commissions, and bonuses) and your unearned income (dividends, interest, capital gains as well as Social Security or pension income). That may seem to cover just about everything. In addition, alimony payments you received on a divorce settlement and rental income are included in your total income. Fortunately, some types of income are not taxed by the government. These are called exclusions—things like a gift or inheritance, child support, life insurance proceeds following the death of the insured, municipal bond interest, disability income if you paid the premium with after-tax dollars, and certain employee fringe benefits. Typically, you don’t need to include income or money that you borrow—like student loans or a mortgage—in your total. That’s the first bit of good news. The second is that once you’ve added up your total income, you can start subtracting.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

How do you determine adjusted gross income (AGI)? The next step is computing your AGI (adjusted gross income), which is done by subtracting “above the line” deductions: Examples include: a deductible contribution to an IRA or 401(k), alimony payments you were required to make, contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA), qualified moving expenses, and certain educator expenses. If you’re self-employed, you can subtract contributions to a small business retirement plan as well as health insurance premiums and half of the self-employment tax. Your AGI is important because it determines your eligibility for certain deductions and credits, as well as for a Roth IRA. What is your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI)? Although you won’t find it on your tax return, another term you might encounter is modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). This is simply a modified (either increased or decreased) version of your AGI to determine if you are eligible for specific deductions such as student loan interest and whether you are eligible to make tax-deductible contributions to individual retirement accounts. How do you choose between standard and itemized deductions? Once you know your AGI, the next step is to subtract either the standard deduction or your itemized deductions from your AGI—whichever is greater. If your financial situation is straightforward, the standard deduction might be the best and simplest choice. If you own property, run a business from home, or have paid extensive medical bills, you might be better off itemizing deductions. For a full list of legitimate itemized deductions, go to

What’s the difference between marginal and average tax rates? Once you’ve done all the subtracting, you’re left with your taxable income—the amount you actually pay taxes on. This also determines your tax bracket. Here’s where more confusion comes in because, in reality, you don’t pay a flat rate on your taxable income. Rather, taxes are graduated. The marginal tax rate is the percentage you pay on the last dollar of your taxable income. Who qualifies for a tax credit? When it comes to reducing taxes, there’s one more thing to be aware of: tax credits. A tax credit reduces the taxes you owe dollar for dollar. A $100 credit means you pay $100 less in taxes. There are several tax credits available depending on your income and personal situation, including credits for dependent children, qualified adoption expenses, child and dependent care credit, residential energy credit and credits like the Savers Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is available to low- to moderate-income workers. Why it matters You don’t have to be a CPA or get bogged down in details, but these basics can go a long way in helping you use tax software or talk to a tax professional more knowledgably. Plus, while none of us enjoys paying taxes, feeling confident that you’re not paying more than you owe may make it a little easier.


Money & Career | Tax Season 2021

TAX Deductions You May Not Be Aware Of by Stefanie Powers

If there is any good news when it comes to doing your taxes, besides hopefully getting a nice refund, it lies in the often-obscure list of tax deductions available. Let’s consider some tax deductions that you might not know about. Who doesn’t need a little relief when it comes to taxes! Most teachers will tell you that they have to occasionally use their own funds to purchase class supplies. The IRS allows qualified K-12 educators to deduct up to $250 for these items. That amount gets subtracted from your income, so you don’t have to itemize.

You can claim a deduction for occupationspecific clothing. Any article of clothing that you only wear on the job that is not suitable for general wear qualifies. For example, if you are a healthcare worker, you can usually write off scrubs, medical shoes, lab coats, etc. And speaking of the health field, in many cases, course books, training and certification fees can also be deducted. We all know that we can deduct donations given to charitable organizations—but it doesn’t stop there. Did you bake a pie for the church fundraiser? Create a piece of art for your favorite charity’s silent auction? You can deduct the costs of the ingredients/supplies. Save the receipts in case of an audit.

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 • February 2021

If you paid a daycare center, babysitter, summer camp, etc. to care for a qualifying child under age 13 or a disabled dependent of any age, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to 35 percent of qualifying expenses of $3,000 for one child or dependent, or up to $6,000 for two or more children or dependents. You must meet several criteria to qualify for the child and dependent care credit. If your dog guards your jobsite, you may be able to deduct pet-care costs. Obviously, the breed and size of the dog is taken into consideration. (Your Chihuahua may be feisty, but sorry, he won’t make the grade.) If your cat keeps your business location rodent-free, her cat food may be deductible.

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.

Accounting • Assurance • Auditing Accounting Assurance • Auditing Tax • ••Business Advisory Accounting Assurance • Auditing Tax • Business Advisory Tax • Business Advisory

Accounting • Assurance • Auditing Tax • Business Advisory

If you foster pets, you could qualify for tax benefits under charitable contributions. And if you have to move for work, your pet’s moving expenses should be covered. Weight-loss expenses could be deductible if a doctor states that your life may be in danger if you don’t lose weight. A program such as Weight Watchers, and FDAapproved medications that help you slim down, improve your heart rate, or reduce your cholesterol might all be deductible. You also may be eligible to submit Lap-Band® or Gastric Sleeve procedures as a medical expense. You can only take the deduction once your expenses exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. Cosmetic surgery is generally not covered. However, if it’s necessary for a personal injury due to an accident or for a disfiguring disease or congenital deformity, it might be. Then again, an exotic dancer had breast augmentation surgery and claimed it as a business expense. The IRS denied it, but she took it to Tax Court— and won! So, you never know…

Providing clients with a wide Providing clients with aawide Providing clients withtax wide range of accounting, and range accounting, tax and range of accounting, tax and business advisory services business advisory services business advisory services tailored to meet today’s tailored to meet today’s tailored to meet today’s challenging times. challenging times. challenging times.

2740 Rue de Jardin, Suite 100 | Lake Charles, LA 70605 2740 Rue de Jardin, Ste. 100 | Lake Charles, LA 70605 5100Rue Westheimer, Suite 200 | Houston, 2740 de Jardin, 337.478.7902 Ste. 100 | Lake Charles,TX LA77056 70605 2740 Rue de Jardin, Ste. 100 | Lake Charles, LA 70605 337.478.7902


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Money & Career | Tax Season 2021

NEW LOUISIANA & FEDERAL TAX LAWS What You Need to Know There are new tax laws on the State and Federal level that you need to be aware of as you begin to prepare your 2020 income taxes. Jonald Walker of J. Walker and Company provided some of the latest laws to consider.

NEW STATE LAWS Personal Income Tax L. 2020, S52 (2nd Extra. Sess.) (Act 56), became effective November 5, 2020 and provides credits for certain property taxes paid for the 2020 tax year. If you make this election on your 2020 taxes, you cannot also claim these taxes as having been paid in 2021 to claim this credit for the 2021 tax year. Credit Authorized for Restaurants and Bars Affected by COVID-19. L. 2020, S72 (2nd Extra. Sess.) (Act 60) covers income taxable periods beginning on January 1 through December 31, 2020 and provides a one-time refundable credit for restaurants and bars affected by COVID-19. The amount of the credit will equal the amount of the annual state license or permit fee, attributable to any calendar month, or fraction thereof, during 2020 that the permit holder was required to temporarily close operations due to the statewide COVID-19 public health emergency. Unemployment Insurance: Taxes and Benefits for Calendar Year 2021. L. 2020, S55 (2nd Extra. Sess.) (Act 40), effective October 28, 2020, provides for an unemployment insurance procedure to be applied for calendar year 2021, for the maximum dollar amount of wages, maximum weekly benefit amount, with any applicable discounts, and the formula for computation of benefits. Deduction for Certain Education Expenses Incurred during COVID L. 2020, H20 (2nd Extra. Sess.) (Act 13) allows a deduction for the sum of amounts paid from March 13- December 31, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic for expenses for educational coaching services for an inperson facilitator of virtual education delivered by a public or approved nonpublic elementary or secondary school. The deduction will be equal to the actual amount of eligible educational coaching services paid by the taxpayer per eligible child, or $5,000 per eligible child, whichever is less. The amount of the deduction must not exceed the total taxable income of the individual. 44

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

by Stefanie Powers

Federal Income Tax Liability Includes Certain Federal Net Disaster Losses. L. 2020, H89 (2nd Extra. Sess.) (Act 26) For taxable periods beginning after December 31, 2018, and before January 1, 2021, federal income tax liability will be increased by the amount by which an individual’s federal income tax due for the taxable period was decreased as a result of claiming the federal itemized deduction for certain net disaster losses attributable to Hurricane Laura or Hurricane Delta. Individuals and households affected by Hurricane Delta that reside or have a business in Louisiana have until February 16, 2021, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. Casualty Losses Affected taxpayers in a federally declared disaster area have the option of claiming disaster-related casualty losses on their federal income tax return for either the year in which the event occurred, or the prior year. Individuals may deduct personal property losses that are not covered by insurance or other reimbursements. Taxpayers in localities added later to the disaster area will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief.

FEDERAL LAWS UPDATE Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 (CAA 2021) The COVID-Related Tax Relief Act of 2020 (COVIDTRA) and the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 (TCDTR), both part of The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA, 2021), contains numerous provisions related to individual income tax. Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act On March 27, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, commonly known as the CARES Act, which provided immediate and substantial relief to employees and employers with specific benefits aimed at small businesses. The CARES Act allows for some significant business benefits including special SBA loans and grants and special payroll tax credits and deposit delays.

Charitable Contributions Deductible by NonItemizers The original CARES Act added the $300 per return; the CAA 2021 extends the rule through 2021 and allows $600 for married filers. Extends the above rule through 2021, allowing individual cash contributions of up to $300, ($600 for married filers) to be deducted above the line for cash contributions to qualified charitable organizations. An increased penalty of 50 percent applies to tax underpayments attributable to any overstated cash contribution by non-itemizers. Individuals who itemize cannot claim the deduction. Families First Coronavirus Act The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was signed on March 18, 2020. The FFCRA requires employers to provide paid leave through: (1) the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA), which entitles workers to up to 80 hours of paid sick time when they are unable to work for certain reasons related to COVID-19, and (2) the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (Expanded FMLA), which entitles workers to certain paid family and medical leave.

The FFCRA provides that employers subject to the EPSLA and the Expanded FMLA paid leave requirements are entitled to fully refundable tax credits to cover the cost of the leave required to be paid for these periods of time during which employees are unable to work. Certain selfemployed persons in similar circumstances are entitled to similar credits. These provisions apply April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019 (The “Disaster Act�) This Act extends over 30 Code provisions, generally through 2025. Also in this section are items from The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 (TCDTR), which is part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA, 2021) and contains numerous extenders of earlier extenders.


Mind & Body





by Kristy Como Armand

If you’re a homeowner, it may seem like everyone you know has refinanced or is talking about refinancing. Should you be considering it also? Record-low mortgage rates have led to a refinancing boom unlike any other in American history over the past year, but according to data from Bankrate, a surprising number of homeowners are missing out on the opportunity to save. More than a quarter of current mortgage holders (27 percent) don’t even know their current rate, putting themselves in a poor position to determine if it’s worth it to refinance. “With the low rates available right now, it’s definitely worth looking into refinancing to see if doing so would benefit your overall financial situation,” says Christa Comeaux, mortgage loan officer with Lakeside Bank. “It’s important to understand that when you refinance your mortgage, you are basically swapping out your old loan for a new one. The rate is important, but you also have to consider other factors when making this decision, including how much equity you have and how long you plan to stay in your home in order to determine if refinancing is right for you.”


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

Comeaux says people choose to refinance for different reasons, but there are some common money saving motivations for doing so, especially when rates are as low as they are right now:

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Lower monthly payments. If today’s rates are lower than the rate you currently pay on your mortgage, you may be able to refinance into a loan with a lower rate. Doing so could lower your monthly payments, meaning you may also pay less over the life of your loan. If you’ve recently passed the 20% mark for equity in your home and you’ve been paying for private mortgage insurance, you can refinance to cancel your mortgage insurance, which will also lower your monthly payments. Your credit score has improved. If your credit score has gotten a significant boost, you may also be able to refinance to get a lower rate. For example, a 20-point increase in your credit score could reduce your rate enough to help you save thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan. To lock in a fixed period on your adjustable-rate mortgage. Some borrowers have an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) which may have a lower rate in the first years of owning a home, but once the fixed period is over, the interest rate can increase. Refinancing to a fixed-rate mortgage will protect the loan from future rate increases.

To consolidate debt. Refinancing provides an option to consolidate other debts into one single, more affordable payment. This can be especially beneficial if you have high-interest credit cards, student loans, a second mortgage or other debt. You essentially use a portion of your home equity to provide cash you’ll use to pay off these other loans and debts. Your previous mortgage is replaced with a new one, ideally at a lower interest rate, that includes the amount you took out to pay those other debts. To convert home equity to cash. A cash-out refinance allows you to use the equity you’ve built in your home to fund something else. This is often used for home repairs and/or improvement to increase the home’s value. Taking cash out can also be useful if you need extra money for expenses such as education or medical costs and don’t have access to other funds. Your income has increased. If you can afford higher monthly payments as the result of an increase in income, you could refinance into a shorter loan (such as from a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage) to pay it off faster, saving thousands of dollars in interest payments over the life of the loan.

While there can be many benefits to refinancing, Comeaux says you’ll still have to complete a loan application and pay closing costs, similar to the ones you paid when you got your original mortgage, along with any other fees the lender charges. If you’re looking to get a better rate or term by refinancing, she says to consider the break-even point: the length of time it will take for you to recoup the costs of refinancing. For example, if you expect to remain in your current home beyond the break-even point, then refinancing offers more benefits. If you don’t plan on being in the home past that point, the upfront costs of refinancing likely won’t outweigh the potential long-term savings. “Your lender can help you weigh the benefits of different options. That’s why it’s important to choose a lender who will work with you. If you’re considering refinancing your mortgage, you can refinance with any mortgage lender you choose – it doesn’t have to be from your current lender,” says Comeaux. “Shop around for not only the best rates, but to find a lender who will take the time to look at your finances with you to help you get the most benefits from refinancing.” For more information about refinancing options, contact Comeaux at Lakeside Bank, (337) 502-4836 or visit

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Money & Career

West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital Breaks Ground on New Carlyss Primary Care Clinic West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital (WCCH) held a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday. The ceremony marked the construction of a new WCCH Primary Care Clinic in Carlyss. The new WCCH Carlyss Primary Care Clinic will be located next to Iberia Bank on the corner of LA 27 and Walker Road. The over 4,700 square-foot clinic will be equipped with eight patient exam rooms, laboratory draw capabilities and a minor procedure area. WCCH plans to house up to two primary care providers along with a full-time support team. Project architect is King Architects and Gunter Construction will serve as general contractor. Construction will begin within the next few weeks and is slated for completion in early 2022. For more information about West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital, visit CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana’s Continued Commitment to Growth Lake Charles has come through a lot over the past year: two hurricanes, a global pandemic and the challenges of rebuilding. But our city, our people, and even our health system are resilient. At CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana, this is evidenced by our long legacy of service to the community and the way all our Associates and physicians have shown passionate care for our patients. CHRISTUS and Ochsner are committed to rebuilding and strengthening our journey to grow our care for the community. We are busy finalizing significant repairs and improvement to our facilities—in fact, we plan to spend approximately $30 million on improvements over the next 12 months. This is in addition to the growth we’ve been investing in for the past many years, as we added Lake Area Medical Center and the Imperial Calcasieu Surgical Center to our family, in partnership with our high-quality


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

medical staff and surgeons. We haven’t just invested in facilities, though; we have also invested heavily in expanding our physician network to serve the community, adding around 30 providers and expanding access for our patients. We plan to continue our investments in expanding and improving care here at home, and we’re excited about the future. We expect our health system to continue to grow and change, just as it has over the past 110 years. Some of those changes come in the form of our leadership team, as Kevin Holland, who has served as Chief Executive Officer for CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana since August of 2018, has decided, after prayerful reflection, to pursue other opportunities in his home state of Mississippi. His last day with CHRISTUS will be Jan. 31, 2021. In line with our strong commitment to Lake Charles, CHRISTUS Ochsner is responding to ensure we will continue to have exceptional leadership to drive our growth and recovery plans over the coming months and years. Therefore, we are pleased to announce two promotions from within our system. Effective Feb. 1, 2021, Paul Trevino will serve as the CEO for CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana while maintaining his current role of CEO of CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System. He has worked for CHRISTUS Health for the last 25 years, including serving as President and CEO of the CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System for the past 6 years. In addition, Jim Davidson will be appointed as President of CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana. Jim joined the CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana team in December 2019 as the Chief Operating Officer (COO). In his new role, Jim will continue his duties as COO and will additionally serve as President and the local leader of the ministry. We at CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana are inviting the community to join us in wishing Kevin Holland the best of luck in his return home to Mississippi and welcoming our new leaders to our health care ministry.

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Places & Faces

Where Do You Want to Go? TIPS TO PLAN YOUR 2021 VACATION

After nearly a year of self-isolation at home and very little travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us are ready for some serious exploring. As the virus vaccine continues to be distributed, the opportunities for safe travel will hopefully become more of a reality as the new year progresses. So, where do you want to go? What’s your dream vacation? In this short but special section, we offer several locations to consider, whether fun and exciting, adventurous, educational, or simply . . . relaxing. We encourage you to venture out and discover someplace new this year!


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

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Places & Faces |

Plan your Dream Vacation

Planning that

Post-Pandemic Dream Vacation by Andrea Guthmann

After being locked down in a year-long pandemic, we could all use a change of scenery. The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has travel-starved consumers dreaming of venturing out again once it is safe to do so. In a recent survey by travel industry market researcher Destination Analysts, nearly 70% of Americans said they miss traveling. Living through a pandemic has many of us wanting to make those someday bucket list travel dreams a new priority. When you’re ready, here’s advice on planning that post-pandemic vacation. PLAY IT SAFE WITH FLEXIBLE CANCELLATION POLICIES Travel planning is still unpredictable. So make sure everything is refundable, or at the very least transferable to a future date without a rescheduling fee. Hotels have always had easy cancellation policies, but vacation rentals are another story. Airbnb guarantees a refund only if the owner or traveler has COVID-19. Both Airbnb and VRBO allow property owners to set cancellation policies. Clarify refund options in an email before booking. Airlines are offering unheard of flexibility with bookings, including no fees for flight changes and, in some cases, cancellations. United, American and Delta have joined Southwest in eliminating change fees for both domestic and international flights. Just be aware that this doesn’t apply to basic economy tickets, which remain nonrefundable and nonchangeable.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

CRUISING Wondering when cruising will resume? Large cruise lines, like Carnival and Norwegian, hope to be back on the water this spring; but Ralph Grizzle, editor of the cruise planning websites Avid Cruiser and River Cruise Advisor, is taking a more cautionary approach. “I’m more comfortable with a buffer. It will be the fourth quarter before I return to Europe. However, cruising in the U.S. could resume more quickly, sometime in the second quarter.” What’s on Grizzle’s bucket list? “The pandemic has taught us that nothing is for certain. On my own bucket list is virtually any expedition cruise. I’ve done several and they’re my favorite cruises - expeditions to places like the Galapagos, Antarctica, Greenland, Russia’s Far East. I realize this may be a bit extreme for some. More mainstream on my bucket list are river cruises, a particularly good way to see Europe, or exotic destinations like Asia, Africa, or the Amazon.

EUROPEAN HOLIDAY One European vacation that might be perfect for celebrating the end of the pandemic is a trip to Germany’s Christmas markets. Stuttgart has one of the oldest (dating back to the 1600’s!) and has an over-the-top New Year’s Eve celebration. Stuttgart’s WaldHotel is a historic favorite near the city center. Historic Heidelberg is another holiday favorite. Follow the cobblestone streets to Karlsplatz, where you can ice skate with a view of the 13th century castle illuminated high up on the hill. CARIBBEAN ESCAPE Dreaming of an exotic beach vacation? Consider Turks and Caicos if you’re looking for an island paradise. Though people think it’s only for celebrity jetsetters, there are budget-friendly options. The condo-style units at Ocean Club Resort sit on one of the most beautiful stretches of Grace Bay, which regularly makes it onto the world’s “Best Beaches” lists. FAMILY TRAVEL For many, the dream vacation won’t be about where you go, but who you travel with. 2021 will see families reconnecting with grandparents and extended relatives they’ve missed. “Domestic travel, road trips and staycations will be a major element of family travel in 2021, with many families choosing to stay relatively close to home in ways that minimize contact with large crowds,” says Josh Roberts, co-founder of family travel website “Vacation rentals, RVs, state and national parks will also benefit from this trend. Many tour companies are also offering “book your bubble” private vacations where the only people on the trip (besides guides) are those in your personal bubble.” If you want to gather your loved ones somewhere farther from home, affordable non-stop flights from throughout the U.S. make the beach towns just minutes from the Cancun Airport a good choice. Consider an all-inclusive that appeals to all ages, like the oceanfront Gran Residences Riviera Cancun. There’s a complimentary kids club and free activities for adults as well, including cooking classes, tennis lessons and bicycle tours to the nearby fishing village. Here are Josh Roberts’ tips on multi-generational vacation planning:

• • •

Booking a vacation rental property is almost always the best way to save money when families come together. Look for places where no one needs to make more than one or two connections to get to your shared destination. To maximize fun, let everyone help with planning.

The past year has been rough on everyone. You might find that planning a trip lifts your spirits and serves as a reminder that better days are ahead.

Heidelberg Christmas Market photo credit- Tobias Schwerdt

Ocean Club Resort in th Turks and Caicos

Fun in Cancun

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Places & Faces |

Plan your Dream Vacation 4. Boston the Freedom Trail sign

1. U.S. Space & Rocket Center

3. 73rd New York Infantry Monument

Family Field Trips 10 Educational Sites to Consider

2. Yellowstone National Park

With so many families now schooling at home for various reasons, field trips can be taken in the family vehicle rather than a school bus. One of the best ways to learn about history, science, and nature is to experience them through museums, historic sites, science centers, and national parks.


To help families bring their children’s curriculums to life, here are 10 educational sites to visit with kids for your next family road trip.

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U.S. SPACE & ROCKET CENTER This one is for all the kids who wanted (or still want) to become astronauts when they grow up. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is the largest spaceflight museum in the world. It showcases everything from America’s first satellite, Explorer I, to next generation space vehicles like Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser. While this historical Huntsville site houses more than 1,500 space-themed artifacts, it also allows your kids to experience the physics of astronaut training with the Moon Shot and G-Force simulators. If your child can’t get enough, consider enrolling them in the infamous, weeklong Space Camp.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021


YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK Sure, Yellowstone National Park is jaw-droppingly beautiful. But did you know this scenic park holds a special place in history? Not only is it the first national park in the United States and the second oldest in the world, but its founding helped launch our National Park Service. Established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, Yellowstone is located between the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It is most famous for its geysers and hot springs; particularly the iconic Old Faithful. See animals in their natural habitat and embark on some of the best hiking trails in the country. GETTYSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK Gettysburg National Military Park is the site of the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the most crucial battles of the American Civil War, which took place over three days in early July 1863. From April through October, living history demonstrations take place throughout the park every weekend so you and your kids can see the past come to life. Explore battlefield camps, interact with historians, and watch reenactments of the two armies that waged war across these historic fields.

9. Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool, Lincoln Memorial during twilight in Washington, D.C.

5. Colorful vintage hats in Colonial Williamsburg's market

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6. Plaque to the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association

7. Inside Alcatraz prison

THE FREEDOM TRAIL This 2.5-mile route links together 16 historical sites that lead visitors through Boston’s 200+ year history. Take a walk back in time and learn about the American Revolutionary War, the Boston Massacre, and the Boston Tea Party. You’ll see sites like the Boston Common (the oldest city park in the U.S.), Paul Revere’s house, the Bunker Hill Monument, and the USS Constitution Museum.

10. The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas

8. Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose,Texas showing Dino tracks over 100 million years old

PEARL HARBOR The Pearl Harbor National Memorial commemorates one of the most pivotal moments in U.S. history. On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the U.S. Naval base Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii, essentially ushering the U.S. into World War II. Visit two exhibit galleries, watch a documentary film at the onsite theater, peruse the bookstore, and more.

COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG From 1699 to 1780, Williamsburg, Virginia was the thriving center of the American colonies. Take a stroll back into the 18th century, past blacksmith shops, apothecaries, brickyards, carpenter yards, colonial yards, and other historic sites. You’ll meet men and women dressed in 18th-century costumes, ready to tell you about life in the 1700s. With ghost tours, art museums, and countless sites to explore, you may want to spend a whole weekend in this historic city.

ALCATRAZ ISLAND Located just a short ferry ride from San Francisco, Alcatraz Island is a designated National Historic Landmark that was a Civil War fortress, infamous federal prison, bird sanctuary, the first lighthouse on the West Coast, and the birthplace of the American Indian Red Power movement. Alcatraz is best known for housing some of the world’s most infamous criminals, including Al Capone and Whitey Bulger. It closed in 1963 due to high maintenance costs and a poor reputation, but it can still be visited today.

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DINOSAUR VALLEY STATE PARK If your child’s favorite movie is Jurassic Park, they’ll love this fascinating site. Located about an hour and a half drive from Dallas, Dinosaur Valley State Park is famous for the actual dinosaur footprints in the Paluxy riverbed where the first sauropod trackways were discovered. You can literally step where dinosaurs trod. With 20 miles of trails, rivers and creeks to swim, and guided horseback tours, your child will have fun learning about their favorite prehistoric animals.

NATIONAL MALL You won’t find a Macy’s or Dillard’s at this mall. Instead, the National Mall in Washington, D.C. is a collection of public lands that has been around for more than 200 years. The first building to be constructed in the Mall was the White House in 1800, followed by the U.S. Capitol in 1829. The following couple centuries brought the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Air and Space Museum, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. As America’s mostvisited national park, it’s a must-see for tourists visiting the nation’s capital.

THE ALAMO The Alamo, an abandoned fort in the city that is now San Antonio, was the site of a 13-day battle between the Republic of Texas and Mexico in 1836. Before this 300-year-old fortress was occupied during the Battle of the Alamo, it was a home to Spanish missionaries in the 1700s. The Alamo is Texas’ most visited historic landmark and regularly features living history demonstrations and commemoration events. Source: GOGO Charters,


Places & Faces

Movers and Shakers in Southwest Louisiana... Who’s News? You tell us! Send press releases to

Daigrepont Joins International Dental Implant Association Oak Park Dental is proud to announce Dr. Jack Daigrepont has joined the International Dental Implant Association. He graduated from Dr. Jack Daigrepont Louisiana College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from Louisiana State University School of Dentistry in 2016. We are happy to have Dr. Daigrepont at Oak Park Dental Family and Specialty Practice.

Dr. Lauren Jacoby, M.D.

Dr. James M. Brown, III, M.D.

Two Physicians Receive Top Honor For Commitment To Care And Service Two CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana physicians were honored for their leadership and outstanding service in the Lake Charles health care community. CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital named Lauren Jacoby, M.D., the 2020 Dr. John Greene Martin Compassionate Care Award recipient. At CHRISTUS Ochsner Lake Area Hospital, James M. Brown, III, M.D. received the 2020 Benjamin W. Mount Compassionate Care Award. These honors are bestowed annually to physicians who lead by example in their practice; exhibiting characteristics such as excellence in care, patient-centered kindness, leadership, stewardship and service. Internal teams and other physicians vote on these award recipients by secret ballot. 56

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

Dr. Jacoby serves as Chief Hospitalist and is board-certified in internal medicine. She earned her medical degree from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2013. She completed her residency in internal medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Jacoby has been on staff at CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital since 2017. Dr. Brown is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and is licensed by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Louisiana State University School of Medicine in 1992. He is a member of the Louisiana State Medical Society, Calcasieu Parish Medical Society, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the LSU School of Medicine New Orleans Alumni Association. He has served patients at the Lake Area hospital since 1996. Dedo Named West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital Physician of the Quarter West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital (WCCH) has named William R. Dedo, M.D., Anesthesiologist as the recipient of the Dr. William R. Dedo, M.D. 3rd Quarter 2020 – Physician Award. The award recognizes a clinical physician who consistently achieves high standards in the practice of medicine. Dr. Dedo received his Medical Degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas and completed an Anesthesiology Residency Program from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, CO. His fellowship in Cardiovascular Anesthesiology was completed at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Dr. Dedo maintains a lifetime certification by the American Board of Anesthesiology.

Chris Kinney

Geoff Landry

West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital Names Quarterly Safety Award Winners West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital (WCCH) recently named Chris Kinney and Geoff Landry as recipients of its quarterly Safety Award. The award, which honors employees for their promotion of safety and safety awareness in and around hospital, is distributed monthly to those employees that demonstrate extraordinary awareness and action in minimizing potential safety risks. Caitlin Guillory Reappointed Chair and Announcement of 2021 Family & Youth Board of Directors Caitlin Guillory, Principal at McElroy Quirk & Burch, APC is reappointed as Chair of the 2021 Family & Youth Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is composed of 19 diverse community leaders committed to the interests of children and families in Southwest Louisiana. These individuals work tirelessly to advance the mission of Family & Youth, providing guidance to all eight of our Divisions. Alongside Caitlin, the Executive Board Committee is compiled of Vice Chair, Michael Hankins of Hankins Development; Secretary, Jennifer Istre of IBERIA Bank; Treasurer, Donald Brinkman of CSRS; and Immediate Past Chair, Owen Thompson of Oak Grove Wealth Partners. Our additional dedicated 2021 Board of Directors are: Emily Ashworth, E.T. Browning, Jamie Chapman, Leslie Harless, Karen Harrell, Megan Hartman, Lynn Jones, Elizabeth McLaughlin, Caitlin Morris, Gene Pittman, Nora Popillion, Randy Roach, Vic Salvador, and Mark Hanudel.

JD Bank Names Office Manager of Lake Arthur Branch JD Bank is pleased to announce the promotion of Carnishia Davis to Office Manager of our Lake Arthur Branch located at Carnishia Davis 338 Arthur Ave. Davis joined JD Bank in 2016 and has worked as a Universal Banker/Floater, Deposit Service Associate and Head Teller. Davis will oversee daily branch operations and serve as a consumer lender for the Jeff Davis Parish area. Originally from Crowley, Davis is excited to be part of the Lake Arthur community. Davis is a 2019 graduate of the Louisiana Bankers Association’s Leadership School and a member of the 2020-2021 class of Leadership Excel. In her free time, Davis is a member and volunteer for New Testament Ministries II.



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Style & Beauty

Top Injector Account in the Country

RIGHT HERE IN LAKE CHARLES Renaitre - A Williamson Cosmetic Center has been included in Allergan’s Top 50 List in the United States. Allergan, the manufacturer of products such as BOTOX, Juvederm collection of fillers, CoolSculpting, Latisse, Kybella, and SkinMedica, has over 35,000 aesthetic practices nationwide. To be included in their list of “Top 50” means to be in the top 0.1% of practices in the country and the #1 practice in Louisiana to treat aesthetics patients with Allergan products. Renaitre - A Williamson Cosmetic Center is the only practice in Lake Charles to be included in this list. In February 2020, Renaitre Medical Aesthetics joined forces with Williamson Cosmetic Center to establish Renaitre - A Williamson Cosmetic Center here in Lake Charles. This opportunity to join their team has expanded Renaitre’s treatment offerings while continuing to grow and support the Lake Charles community. “This was the perfect fit for Renaitre,” says clinic lead and nurse practitioner at Renaitre, Hannah Grogan. “Williamson is well known for their decades of aesthetics integrity and exceptional patient results. Together, we will continue to bring the latest advancements in aesthetic procedures to Lake Charles,” adds Hannah. Williamson Cosmetic Center originated in Baton Rouge over 20 years ago with a goal to provide quality aesthetic surgical and non-surgical treatments while expanding its reach across Louisiana. Led by Shelly Williamson Esnard, PA-C and internationally recognized facial cosmetic surgeon, lecturer, and author Dr. Jon Perenack, they are leaders in their respective industries and have been treating patients for over 20 years.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

Additionally, their team is made up of Board Certified Surgeons, nationally trained and recognized injectors, and a highly skilled team of Medical Aestheticians that offer the most innovative surgical and non-surgical procedures for the face and body. “Renaitre’s values and commitment to aesthetic excellence mirrored our own, and with an already established group of highly skilled providers it felt like a perfect match,” says Esnard. How does an aesthetic practice achieve “Top 50” status? It is important to know that making the Allergan Top 50 list is not just about sales but it truly highlights how practitioners within these practices demonstrate excellence in their craft. This is an elite group of aesthetic providers. By keeping up with the latest advancements in products, indications and technique, as well as running a client-centric practice, these practitioners produce great patient results leading to more returning and the referral of new patients. In addition to surgeons who inject, PAs and nurse practitioners make up 65% of the injectors in the United States and are extremely talented in their craft. In fact, two of Williamson Cosmetic Center’s PA injectors serve as Master Trainers and are regarded as Key Opinion Leaders for Allergan as well as other aesthetic companies. Together, this team focuses on delivering excellent results while providing patients full assessments and unparalleled education.

level of expertise, and devotion to client satisfaction. These providers have access to exclusive training on the latest product and techniques to ensure they are staying “in the know” of the industry. In addition to over 500 hours of advanced injectable and laser training, Hannah Grogan believes a passion for continuing her education by attending various aesthetic conferences and symposiums to stay abreast of the latest aesthetic techniques is an integral component of her skill as an injector. Additionally, a skilled injector will have a thorough understanding of facial anatomy and the risks and benefits associated with cosmetic injections. They recognize that no treatment is one size fits all – every patient’s anatomy and goals are different, and they will tailor each treatment to the individual. Top 50 practice providers also understand that while beautiful results will set them apart, client satisfaction is the true indicator of success as an injector. When choosing a provider, it is important to choose one that is devoted to their patients’ happiness. This devotion can be seen in your initial consultation – exceptional providers take the time to conduct a thorough consultation in which they listen intently to their patients’ concerns and ensure their individual needs are met.

Why choose a Top 50 provider? What sets a Top 50 provider apart from others is their advanced training, commitment to continuing education,

For more information, contact Renaitre A Williamsons Cosmetic Center, 5656 Nelson Rd., Suite C1, Lake Charles, LA 70605, 337508-2559,

Renaitre - A Williamson Cosmetic Center 2021 Allergan Top 50 Provider in the Country


Call or text (337) 508-2559 to schedule! 5656 Nelson Rd, Suite C-1


Home & Family

HEALTHY TEETH for Life You’re never too young or too old to take good care of your teeth. Regular dentist visits do more than ensure a great smile. Thorough oral hygiene can prevent tooth and gum disease as well as a host of other health problems that might seem to be completely unrelated to your mouth, such as cardiac disease and blood infections.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

Our Lady’s Catholic School, founded in 1954 Pre-K to 8th Grade Education Based on Values of the Gospel & Church Tradition

In this special dental health section, you’ll discover stories on how to care for your teeth at every age, the latest in teeth whitening options, even how to choose the best toothbrush for you! Be inspired to call your dentist and schedule that long-overdue check-up appointment!

Registration opens online to returning families February 8. Registration opens online to new families February 15.

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Dr. Michelle Swift Corcoran Dr. Frances Thompson Dr. Kevin Hamilton Dr. Tom Cates

At Fresh Dental Boutique, we offer the same preventative, restorative, and cosmetic services you would expect from a traditional dental practice in an elevated environment designed with patient relaxation and comfort in mind. From the soothing scent of essential oils that greets you upon entry to the complimentary massage chairs and warm neck pillows during your service, every aspect of your visit welcomes you to relax and ENJOY your appointment experience. We know your time is valuable, which is why we strive to minimize wait time while also making the most of your time with us. You’ll leave feeling recharged, refreshed, and empowered with your healthiest smile.

We believe your smile can change the world. Let us give you more reasons to use it.

Temporary Address: 4001 Louisiana Avenue, Lake Charles, LA 70607 • F R E S H D E N TA L B O U T I Q U E . C O M


Home & Family | Healthy Teeth for Life


As your dental needs change with time, it’s important to know how to properly care for your teeth and what to expect at each stage of life. It’s also important for parents to know how to care for their children’s teeth as they grow. Follow this age-by-age guide for details. INFANTS Although your child may only have one or two teeth at this point, children less than one year old experience critical development of their teeth and gums. Dr. Eric A. Sanders with Sanders Pediatric Dentistry says parents should begin an early oral hygiene routine by wiping an infant’s gums with a soft wet cloth after feedings. He advises that at one year old, bottle feedings should stop, especially at night, in consultation with your pediatrician.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

TODDLERS Between the ages of one and two, Dr. Sanders recommends you brush your child’s teeth twice a day with water, using a baby toothbrush with soft bristles. It’s best to brush their teeth after they eat breakfast and before they go to bed. Their teeth will be coming in at this point, so they may experience some discomfort. At age two, your child can start brushing their teeth on their own (with supervision) and use fluoridated toothpaste to help prevent cavities. “This is also the time to schedule your child’s first dental visit so your dentist can look over your child’s teeth and gums,” Dr. Sanders says. At the appointment, you can also discuss any sucking habits, if they have any. Many toddlers like to suck on pacifiers too strongly, or they might suck their thumb or fingers. This can affect the shape of their mouth and their bite. Your dentist or doctor can help advise you on what you can do to get them out of these habits.

KIDS Between the ages of three and 12 years old, your child’s baby teeth begin falling out and their permanent teeth start coming in. The tooth fairy may make visits to your house, but you’ll need to find ways to motivate your kids to brush their teeth well. Phone apps are available, but you can also make the routine more fun by brushing your teeth along with your child. Juice drinking is common at these ages, but juice contains a lot of sugar, which is bad for your child’s teeth. If you give your children juice, make sure they don’t drink more than one cup each day. Dr. Sanders recommends limiting juice to mealtimes only. Dr. Sanders adds that dentist visits should be every six months. Six-year molars should be sealed. At ages seven to eight, dental x-rays should be taken to evaluate permanent teeth yet to emerge. At ages nine to eleven, pre-molars should be sealed, and the teeth appearance and hygiene efforts evaluated. Also at this time, consider an orthodontic evaluation.

ADOLESCENTS AND TEENS By this age, children will have been fully responsible for the care of their teeth for several years, but that doesn’t mean parents are off the hook. There’s still work to do on their teeth and they need your help. This age can be tough on teeth because they’re often in a hurry with school and other activities. Emphasize the importance of proper dental care. If your teen wears braces, this adds another level of concern. Braces require a different brushing routine due to brackets and wiring. Follow your orthodontist’s instructions. DENTAL EMERGENCIES Some children are more adventurous than others, and that means a higher chance of chipped, broken or knocked-out teeth. If this happens, don’t panic! Visit your dentist immediately and he or she will determine a solution. If your child’s tooth gets knocked out, place the tooth in a cup of water or milk until you can get to your dentist, who may be able to reimplant the tooth. “Kids know only a couple things when they go to the dentist. They know if you are nice and if you don’t hurt them. They do not understand cost, quality, or expected outcomes,” Dr. Sanders says. “Our goal besides treating pediatric patients in a nonthreatening environment is that we want children to continue going to the dentist when they are old enough to make their own decisions. We want them to graduate from our office with a healthy respect for their oral hygiene and a continued desire to maintain regular dental checkups.”

20'S & 30'S

With your 20s and 30s come a lot of changes. You may be finishing college, moving to a new city, getting a new job, getting married, having kids, etc. All the while, your teeth still require care.

WISDOM TEETH REMOVAL If you didn’t have your wisdom teeth removed in your teens, you may need to have them removed in your twenties. Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed— sometimes they come in just fine— but there are many people who do. Your dentist will be able to keep an eye on how your wisdom teeth are coming in and tell you if you need to have them removed. Even if they aren’t causing you any pain, there could still be a problem, so continue dental visits every six months. GINGIVITIS DURING PREGNANCY Women are more vulnerable to getting gingivitis when they’re pregnant than at any other time so it’s important to take care of your teeth before, during and after pregnancy and see your dentist during pregnancy so he/she can help you keep your teeth clean.

40'S & 50'S

For adults of every age, it’s important to keep up with your dental routine— brushing twice a day, flossing daily, watching your diet and visiting your dentist regularly. As you age, your teeth age with you and they become more susceptible to gum disease and cavities and can become more sensitive. Fortunately, for each problem, there’s a solution. GUM DISEASE If caught early, gum disease is reversible through treatment. Look for red, swollen or tender gums that bleed when you brush your teeth. If you notice any of those symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist. Gum disease, if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss and affect your overall health. The best way to prevent gum disease is by following your daily dental routine and visiting your dentist for professional cleanings every six months.

CAVITIES If you have fillings, it’s possible you could acquire more cavities around your existing fillings. This becomes more common as you age. For prevention, floss, brush your teeth properly with fluoride toothpaste and visit your dentist regularly. SENSITIVITY The risk of having sensitive teeth increases with age. As your gums recede—as they typically do when you age—your teeth aren’t as protected by enamel. If you experience any sensitivity, try using an anti-sensitivity toothpaste. If the sensitivity worsens, talk to your dentist about other options. DAMAGED TEETH With the wear and tear on your teeth over the course of time, there’s bound to be some damage. To strengthen your damaged teeth, dentists will use crowns to cover the tooth to help protect it. For decayed teeth, a root canal may be needed.


Seniors are more susceptible to dental diseases than any other age group. There are several oral health problems you may have to deal with as a senior, but there are solutions to all of them. Meanwhile, do what you’ve always done: watch what you eat, brush twice a day, floss daily and visit your dentist regularly. As a senior, you may also want to talk to your dentist about what drugs you take to see if they have any effect on your oral health. Whatever age group you fall into, keep up with your daily dental routine and visit your dentist regularly. The key to dealing with dental health problems as they come your way is good communication with your dentist.


Home & Family | Healthy Teeth for Life

r u o y e k Ta

PEARLY WHITES TO THE NEXT LEVEL Trends in Teeth Whitening There are so many treatments and systems out there for whiter teeth, which begs the question—how do you know which one is right for you? From at-home DIY teeth whitening to professional treatment done at a dental office, there are several different options and levels of effectiveness. Knowing more about the benefits and risks of different treatments can help you make the decision that’s best for you. ROBINSON DENTAL GROUP DETAILS THE MOST COMMON MODALITIES; Whitening toothpaste is a good product if you want something to subtly brighten your smile. It works well for what it’s intended for—whitening small surface stains— but that’s the extent of its use because it doesn’t contain hydrogen peroxide or bleach like other treatments do. If you want to whiten your teeth by several shades, or lose the dull stains caused by tea, coffee or smoking, it’s best to use something a little stronger. Activated charcoal is often used to whiten teeth because of its abrasive properties. This technique, however, can lead to enamel erosion and gum damage with frequent use. It can be effective short-term but can cause long-term damage.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

Whitening strips and gels are over-the-counter products that contain peroxide, so they’re a step above whitening toothpastes and DIY treatments. The gels are clear and can be applied to your teeth with a small brush; similarly, the strips are thin, clear and can also be applied directly to your teeth. It’s important to be careful about placement to make sure your gums are protected from the chemicals in the products. Results from both treatments can be seen within a few days and will last about four months with proper care. Whitening gels may not cover your teeth as evenly as you’d like, so some individuals choose custom whitening trays, an at-home treatment supervised by your dentist. The trays are made to fit your mouth and ensure that the whitening gel covers your teeth evenly and stays put. They also help prevent the gel from getting on your gums. You can conveniently wear them at night or during off time. This technique usually takes up to four weeks to complete, depending on your desired level of whitening.

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In-office professional whitening continues to be the quickest, safest method for whitening one’s teeth. Professional whitening is tailored to your unique needs, so your teeth and gums will be protected and sensitivity will be minimal. This method uses a higher concentration of peroxide than over the counter treatments along with a special light to speed up the process. Results can usually be seen within an hour, sometimes sooner. While this is the costliest method, results can last up to a year with proper care. For more information about Robinson Dental Group, please visit their website at


Home & Family | Healthy Teeth for Life


about Early Orthodontic Treatment by Kristy Como Armand

It might seem premature to take a seven- or eightyear old to the orthodontist (many children at this age are still in possession of gap-toothed grins as they await permanent teeth to appear), but an early visit could help prevent future dental issues. Although some people still associate braces with the teenage years, orthodontist Craig Crawford, DDS, with Crawford Orthodontics, says children today are more likely to begin orthodontic treatment before they reach their teens. “Jaw issues, particularly, are more easily identified and corrected at an early age. We have the ability to create or maintain space in the child’s jaws to allow teeth to grown in correctly, possibly preventing the need for more intensive treatment at a later age,” he explains. “While orthodontics can improve a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment, and in many cases this time period is when a child is in their pre-teens.” The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic evaluation no later than age seven. Dr. Crawford says by this age, most children have a good mix of baby and adult teeth, which enables us to make a good assessment. “By no means are we saying that most children need braces at this early age. Braces are not usually recommended until most of a child’s adult teeth have erupted. But this initial exam will allow us to spot any potential problems that may exist, even if your child’s teeth appear straight. Many orthodontic problems are easier and less complicated to correct earlier, rather than later.”


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

For example, orthodontists can direct extractions of baby teeth which may allow adult teeth to come in straighter, possibly preventing the need for braces altogether. As a child gets older, regular examinations can monitor growth and development as needed, with any needed treatment recommended at the appropriate time.” Dr. Crawford explains that there are some situations in which young children do require orthodontic treatment. This is referred to as “interceptive orthodontics,” and typically involves interventions that begin before a child starts first grade. “At this age, tooth development and jaw growth have not been completed, so certain conditions are easier to address.” He says that interceptive treatment can be used to create room for crowded, erupting teeth, create facial symmetry by influencing jaw growth, reduce the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth, preserve space for un-erupted permanent teeth and reduce treatment time with braces, among other benefits. Dr. Crawford says in his office, he uses a 3-D i-CAT imaging system which is extremely helpful with interceptive orthodontics. “This advanced imaging technology and modeling system provide us with very accurate and complete images for diagnosis and treatment planning, without the more cumbersome – and messy – dental impressions. The system allows us to not only see current alignment and teeth, but also to more precisely predict limits of tooth movement and bony support and perform 3-D treatment simulations. "We’re eliminating a lot of the guess work in treatment planning,” adds Dr. Crawford. When braces are needed in younger children, Dr. Crawford says manufacturers have worked to make the process more fun, with brightly colored alastics, the tiny rubber bands that hold the wires to the braces. “Kids can choose alastics to match their favorite colors, school uniforms, team colors, a holiday color scheme, etc,” says Dr. Crawford. “This helps keep the kids excited about the treatment.”

For teens, invisible aligners may be an option. These are made of a medical grade clear plastic, which are custom-made for each patient and move teeth incrementally, in a process similar to conventional braces. Dr. Crawford says the aligners are not only more aesthetically appealing to teens, but are also often a better fit for their busy lifestyles, which are typically filled with sports, music and other activities. For more information about braces at any age, call Crawford Orthodontics at (337) 478-7590 or visit


Providing academic excellence, while developing Christ-like character.



Home & Family | Healthy Teeth for Life

Not all

TOOTHBRUSHES are created equal

find the best one for you by Lauren Jameson

Most people brush their teeth hundreds of times every year – it’s an essential daily routine. But they probably don’t give much thought to what kind of toothbrush they’re using. Manual or powered? Hard or soft bristles? Angled or straight heads? One that cost a few dollars or a $100? How do you know what is best for your oral health?


• • • •


Look for a toothbrush that feels comfortable and does the trick – one that makes it easy to brush all of your teeth properly for up to three minutes, at least twice a day. Choose one with soft bristles. Hard bristles may injure gum tissue, which can expose teeth roots, cause increased sensitivity and lead to tooth decay. Multilevel or angled bristles with rounded tips remove plaque better than conventional, flat-trimmed bristles. Choose a brush head size that fits into your mouth comfortably, enables you to access all areas of your mouth with ease and is big enough to brush one-or-two teeth a time. For adults, the best size is half-an-inch wide and 1-inch tall.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

• • •

Overall, electric or battery-powered toothbrushes surprisingly don’t clean your teeth better than regular ones. But they tend to be better for people with braces and people with uneven tooth surfaces. Some evidence suggests that powered toothbrushes with rotating and oscillating bristles are more effective than manual toothbrushes because they clean all those hard-to-reach areas. Some powered toothbrushes even have built-in timers and sensors that tell you where to brush and if you’re brushing too hard. In the end, the decision is a matter of personal preference and how much you want to spend. For children, choose toothbrushes with soft bristles, smaller brush heads and large handles. Replace your toothbrush once the bristles look worn. Dentists advise that you get a new toothbrush or change out the brush head every three months. Finally, make sure to choose a toothbrush that has the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval.

If you’re still not sure on what kind of toothbrush is best for you, discuss it with your dentist. Overall, the best toothbrush for you is going to be the one you’re most likely to use – and one that does the trick.


Home & Family | Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day a Holiday with Heart

This month, we celebrate Valentine’s Day – a holiday people generally love or loath. Couples embrace the opportunity to celebrate their joy, singles avoid the sappy sentiment, and marketers capitalize on the romance of it all. Wherever you stand on the emotional spectrum, there is no escaping the sea of red and pink hearts, flowers, and chocolates. So, whether you’re in love, looking for love, or mourning the loss of love, there’s something here for you.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

Secrets to a

Long- Lasting Relationship Each Feb. 14, starry-eyed couples celebrating Valentine’s Day strive to find just the right setting to create a romantic night on the town. But relationships are about more than candlelight dinners and slow dancing in the moonlight. Making them last beyond the initial infatuation requires hard work and commitment.

Several core concepts about human nature are necessary to grasp as you seek harmony in your relationship.

• Feelings come and go and can change over time.

If feelings you have for another led you to fall in love, then other feelings could just as easily lead you to fall out of love if you aren’t careful. The relationship should not be based on feelings alone, but on a shared commitment to placing the relationship above one’s own personal desires.

• People change over the years. They have the capacity to grow “Under the best of circumstances it takes much love, devotion, and an enduring commitment between partners to make a relationship work,” says academic D. Scott Trettenero, author of Master the Mystery of Human Nature: Resolving the Conflict of Opposing Values. “Unfortunately, there is no rule book or instruction manual that guarantees success.” An obvious reason is that conflict is inevitable because men and women look at and approach their problems from different perspectives. “Men tend to use the left brain point of view which is characterized by thinking, while women tend to be more right brain and feeling by nature,” Trettenero says. “Men generally use logic and reason to make what they consider objective choices and decisions. Women generally use emotional values to make more subjective choices and decisions. One way is not better than the other, but they are opposing in nature and when each side is entrenched in their conflicting way, there will always be a lack or breakdown of communication. This is the number one reason couples might have problems in their relationships, which can lead to separation. “One side may try to get their point across using facts and deductive reasoning while the other side wants their feelings to be acknowledged and understood. It happens all the time in a typical relationship,” says Trettenero. Despite the normal complications, it is possible to make things work and thrive. Incredible life changing benefits can come from a healthy relationship and this needs to be kept in mind during times of misunderstandings and conflict.

and evolve in several ways. This is a healthy process of life, but it doesn’t always work out that each partner grows at the same pace or in the same direction. This calls for both partners to be able to adapt and embrace the changes each may make.

• Conflicts will always be present. The whole system of

human interaction is perfectly created for conflict, and few relationships will be immune to them. Conflicts of interest within a relationship can sometimes escalate into devastating and traumatic experiences, but it’s possible to rise above or defuse these situations, Trettenero says. It all begins with understanding yourself so you can be true to who you are. It also means that you make sure your significant other be true to themselves.

• With intention and commitment, everything can be

overcome. Conflict resolution within a marriage is one of the most important ways to make it or break it. The best way to handle a disagreement is to try to find a way that allows both parties to feel good about the results rather than try to overpower the other. Discuss each of your points of view and be sure to listen to each other while respecting their opinions.

“Trying to give advice on how to make a marriage work is tricky, especially when speaking in general terms, because what might work for one couple might be exactly wrong for another,” Trettenero says. “One thing is clear to those who are married and want to remain married; communication between partners is critical and deserves equal attention by both.”


Home & Family | Valentine’s Day

Beware Online Romance Scammers Five Signs your Virtual Crush is Catffiishing


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began early last year, online romance scams have increased to unprecedented levels. While most people think it could never happen to them, Americans lost a record $201 million to online romance scammers in 2019, and that number skyrocketed last year due to loneliness and isolation. released a report on “catfishing during coronavirus” using recent data from the FBI and exclusive interviews with Nigerian romance scammers and victims. These warnings apply whether or not we’re dealing with a pandemic.

Here are 5 signs your online crush is catfishing you and how to avoid becoming a victim:


Cannot meet in person The hallmark of a catfish scammer is to come up with excuses why they cannot meet in person, such as pretending to be in the military overseas. The pandemic has given them another excuse, which is why they were out in droves in 2020.


How to avoid: Rule No. 1 is that if your online flame refuses to meet in-person after a reasonable amount of time, you are more than likely being scammed.


How to avoid: While it is normal to want to help if you think someone you have grown fond of is in need, it is critically important to never give money to anyone unless you have met them. If they are indeed in a pinch, they have family and friends who can bail them out.


Scammers using non-romantic platforms A record 26.6 million people were online dating in 2020 and this offers scammers more targets than ever before. However, people have their guard up on dedicated dating sites. As a result, scammers are increasingly contacting people on non-romantic sites such as LinkedIn. How to avoid: The world is more and more global, mobile, and social, with a person having more touchpoints than ever before. Scammers have gotten more sophisticated and approach people in unlikely places. Beware of online scammers regardless of the type of platform you are on.

Capitalizing on victims’ increased depression and loneliness last year, scammers pushed unsuspecting victims to fall in love quickly by citing the pandemic and saying life is short. You may think it can’t happen to you, but these are seasoned professionals, and they know just what to say. Be careful if someone confesses their love for you and demands the same in return right away. How to avoid: Take online dating slowly. If you like someone online, do not let them pressure you into falling in love right away. Once you do that, they begin their elaborate, yet plausible, reasons why you need to send them money.

Needs money for an emergency One of the new wrinkles to the romance scammer game is to ask for money because they have caught COVID-19 and need financial help for treatment. But any request for money for any reason should be a red flag.

Pushing love quickly


They can’t video chat The oldest excuse in the book . . . they cannot video chat with you because their video camera is supposedly “broken,” or they do not have the best access to Wi-Fi. They may claim financial troubles keep them from fixing it which sounds reasonable. The real reason they do not want to video chat is because the pictures of “them” are stolen and the second you have a live video chat, the scam would be over. How to avoid: As we embark on this new year and with improved online communication options, there is no excuse for not being able to video chat. If they don’t have a computer, or a phone, would you want to date them anyway? If you think you have been contacted by a scammer, report them to the Federal Trade Commission.


Home & Family | Valentine’s Day

Surviving Loss on

Valentine’s Day Valentine’s Day is almost here. Everywhere you go you see colorful, enticing ads for flowers, jewelry, and photos of blissfully happy couples. Does it make you smile or make you want to curl into a ball and hide? Millions of people are without that special love, through death, divorce, separation, or personal situations. Are you one of them?

If that iconic Valentine’s red heart is broken in your eyes, there are steps you can take to patch it up, even for just this one dreaded day. You’ll find there can be pleasure, joy and smiles; even if it’s not in the form you envisioned. Happiness can come in many surprising ways:

• First acknowledge that you’re feeling alone and in pain – it’s normal. • Give yourself permission to feel down and even depressed – it’s your right. • Make certain to get dressed, get out of your house, and socialize. It’s a temporary fix, but it helps.

• Reach out to someone else who needs love. • Give a valentine card to a young child. Sometimes they get left out in school. Watch the smile on their face.

• Buy yourself a present. Repeat to yourself that you are loved by others. • Help a stranger or volunteer at a charity or homeless shelter. It will automatically make you feel better.

• Take yourself to a movie (not a romantic, mushy one), or better yet, go with a friend.

• Exercise or find another positive diversion. • Thank someone who has loved you; a parent, relative, friend, children, grandchildren. Wish them a Happy Valentine’s Day.

• Remember the good times and remind yourself that there will be more to come. Then believe it will happen.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021


for life


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

Burned to a Crisp

I’m in a funk, and I thought you might be too. Many of my clients feel the same. We are all tired, apathetic, and wondering if things will ever “get back to normal.” Some people are referring to the pandemic. Others are thinking about the political climate. Then there are those referencing hurricane recovery. And, for many of us, it’s the combination of all of the above. Folks, welcome to the world of burnout; where it is getting harder and harder to make yourself get up and tackle your To Do list. Where your “To Do” list seems to keep the same things on it, even though you know you already did some of those things. Where it all seems both overwhelming and futile.

How do you know if you are becoming a crispy critter of job burnout? Here are three signs:

Overcompensation. One of the beginning stages of burnout is

working longer hours, with no regard to evenings or weekends. Every hour you are awake, you are trying to get things done. You believe, “If I can just get caught up, everything will be fine.” Sometimes that works, things settle down and the cycle begins again. However, if no amount of invested time seems to be helping you tame the task monster, it’s time to re-evaluate. Also, if the cycle occurs faster and faster, with less “normal” time in between “crisis” time, it is time to re-evaluate. For many of us, we haven’t seen “normal” in so long, we’ve forgotten what it looks like.

Focus. It’s time to home in on what is going on here: what you are doing is not working. It’s time to focus on options so you can get your life back. Do you need to set better boundaries with your To Do list, like stopping at a certain time (no matter what), or hiring someone to help with some of the things on your list? Is it time to consider moving away from this project altogether? For many, the idea of rebuilding after the hurricanes was too much, and they elected to sell “as is” and find a new place to live. Whatever you choose, realizing you have options very often helps you feel more in control. Depersonalize. This isn’t a “what’s wrong with me that I can’t handle it” situation. I keep telling people that no one could go through all of this and be just fine. Each area (pandemic, hurricanes, political climate) is big on its own. We are dealing with combined forces here. It’s time to get focused on other areas of your life, areas that are grossly unbalanced at this point. Remember those people you live with? Spend some time with them. Remember that gym membership you’ve been paying for? Go. Put down the fried comfort food and put something in your body that will actually give it fuel. Focus on getting yourself healthier, stronger and more balanced.

Confusion. Why didn’t putting more hours in solve the problem?

Reintegrate. What have you learned from this experience? Do you need some new skills (financial planning, boundary setting, conflict resolution, balance achievement)? Is it time to remove yourself from the situation? Is it time to recommit to your current situation, but with some new understanding about yourself and your needs? Remember we are doomed to keep repeating lessons until we have learned the lesson and changed as a result. If you go back into the same situation with the same approaches, you will get the same results – burnout.

Body Messages. At some point, your body will start trying to

As I leave you today, I want to encourage you to take a break and get out of town. I have prescribed that for myself and basically all of my clients. Even if it is only for a few hours, seeing fully operating places with lush trees and no blue tarps is helpful. It reminds us that the day will come when our wonderful city looks similar. The change of scenery resets us and gives us a boost. So, get outta here for a bit. Then, come back rejuvenated and ready to tackle your To Do list, but with some boundaries this time!

How are you ever going to get caught up? You begin to feel powerless. You begin to lose self-confidence. Now you are working long hours but being unproductive. You truly are the hamster on the wheel to nowhere, running as fast as you can. Well then, forget it. Might as well find an escape. After all, your stress level is so high and all you want to do is leave your problems behind. Gambling, alcohol and drug abuse, compulsive shopping – surely one of those will help you feel better, right?

rescue you from yourself. Those migraines you’ve been having? That back you keep throwing out? That stomach of yours that is always upset? That is your body telling you to “stop the madness!” Did you know that 80% of all visits to the doctor are related to stress? That’s because we don’t take action to bring balance back into our lives until our bodies start to give out on us. Listen to your body!

So, we have established that you are on your way to some serious burnout. Now what? Take a look at what needs to happen next:


Memorial Medical Excellence in Cancer Care Outcomes Lake Charles Memorial has been recognized as the top hospital in Southwest Louisiana and the top 10% in the nation for medical excellence in cancer care outcomes by CareChex®. This 2021 award is based on a comprehensive quality scoring system that CareChex uses to compare inpatient quality performance across general, acute and non-federal U.S. hospitals.

CareChex is an innovative medical quality rating system designed to assist hospitals and health systems in improving the quality of inpatient care and promoting medical excellence to consumers, payers and employers. CareChex Awards are powered by the Quantros Quality Outcomes Analytics Software. Quantros is a leading provider of software-based solutions and services to healthcare. Unlike other publicly available award rankings, CareChex awards are based on comprehensive risk-adjustment methodology and do not include any selfreported data. CareChex provides a composite evaluation of all components of medical quality including process of care, outcomes of care, and patient experiences.

For access to provider quality ratings and more information on these awards, visit CareChex® Awards by Quantros at


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2021

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