Thrive February 2023

Page 38

2023 years
2 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023 Rehabilitation Hospital of Jennings 24 Hour Nursing Care • Physical Therapy • Occupational Therapy Speech Therapy • Nutritional Counseling and Monitoring Case Management Call for a free assessment today. • Brain Injury • Strokes • Amputations • Burns • Major Multiple Trauma • Rheumatoid Arthritis • Joint Replacements • Hip Fractures • Osteoarthritis/DJD • Neurological Disorders • Spinal Cord Injury • Congenital Deformities • Systemic Vasculidities DIAgNOSeS THAT we TReAT Others who can benefit from inpatient rehabilitation are postoperative patients, accident victims and cancer patients. One Hospital Drive, Ste. 101 • Jennings, LA 70546 • Phone: (337) 821-5353 • Fax: (337) 821-5355 or 5366 •

In May 2016, I joined Thrive magazine as Managing Editor. After 82 exciting issues, I’ve decided to step down as editor. To Thrive’s publishers, my co-workers, our freelancers, supporters, and all the countless and fascinating people I have met and interviewed along the way, and most importantly, to our readers THANK YOU for allowing me to do what I love. I’ve enjoyed every minute. Please know, I’m not leaving Thrive entirely! You’ll still see my byline now and then. Next month, we’ll introduce Thrive’s new editor, Taylor Trahan Henry.

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


4 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023 In This Issue Mind & Body 9-18 SPECIAL SECTION: Your Heartyour Health 20 Immunosuppressant Allergy Drops Wining & Dining 22-28 COVER STORY: Money & Career 30 Cool Jobs: Heather Metzger “Landscape Lady” 32 Inferior Superiors – Dealing with a Bad Boss 34 Are you Living Within your Means? 36 Community Foundation Scholarships Places & Faces 38 Just Imagine – Lake Charles Mid-City 40-47 SPECIAL SECTION: Black History Month Home & Family 48-55 SPECIAL SECTION: 56 first person with Katie Harrington 58-62 SPECIAL SECTION: The Season of Love Valentine’s Day Style & Beauty 64 Good Tips for Red Lips 65 Rockin’ Red Hair 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.
Submissions 47 58 @thriveswla | Contents Regular Features 37 Business Buzz 55 Who’s News years
MARDI GRAS Revelry & Mayhem our 2023 LOCAL Restaurant Guide 25

Magic & Awe of Serendipity


How would you like to start 2023 by winning an amazing prize package? We thought so.

Everyone has a serendipity story. We know by hearing all the excitement from our Serendipity Yacht Cruises Contest happening NOW. People are writing, entering, and planning to win!

There are many AHA moments, unexpected interactions, paths crossed, unplanned business encounters, doors opened, and meeting partners, friends, and pets, in an odd, fun, mysterious, wonderous, unbelievable way.

We see people open their eyes to the unexpected, taking the leap, getting in touch with their inner compass, turning discoveries or happy accidents to their advantage, and capturing fruitful serendipitous romantic and business moments. They embraced the opportunity of the unexpected!

My dog … helped me meet … when he ran over to … dog and started to try and … with … and …

I met my best … when I … Our first … did not go well. I was running late and …. We are now … and have … I found … when I was … He looked so sad and needed a … and … quickly. We locked eyes and became … I take him … and we have lots of …

"I met my ... when I was at the ... and he said to me ... At first, I thought he was not my type until ..."

Rules & Regulations


"I figured out how to repair an expensive ... at work when I was at ... putting together a ..."

"I met my future partner when he was scheduled for a ... If the other person kept the ... we would have never ..."

I was supposed to be doing work for a client when I saw ... Had I not taken this detour and seized ... I would have missed out on all the ..."

"A phenomenal business ... was discovered by accident when ... directed me to an area totally unrelated to my ... If I had not followed this path ..."

"A business relationship was greatly enhanced by my viewing ... instead of doing ... that needed to get done that ..."

"I met my fiancée when I was at a ... and I ... It was the ... I did not ..."

"I was dating my ... for ... years when ...

"I met my business partner when I missed the ...which led us to ..."

How has Serendipity Knocked on Your Door?

Tell us YOUR story of those aha moments when you connected the dots that changed your life, your career, and rocked your world. Inspire us with those random events that set you on a new path. Bring a smile. Startle us. Share the memories.

1.Tell your romantic, friendship, or business serendipity experience in two hundred words or less.

2. Send your story to Cindy Stone of SYC at cindys@ Winners will be selected by an independent, local panel of judges.

3. DEADLINE: March 31, 2023 at midnight CST.

4. One entry per person, please.

5. Winners will have twelve months to claim their prize.


For Our First-Third Place Winners: Your Serendipity Cruise Night begins with an extraordinary celebration. For Your Golden Opportunity cruise prize, all will be driven in style in a limo from/to South Shore Harbour Resort.

FIRST PLACE: Party Like a Yacht Star – A dinner cruise for four on SYC’s ocean paradise yacht, Golden Opportunity, PLUS 4 Executive King Balcony room gift certificates for 2 nights and breakfast for 4 at the top-of-the-mark South Shore Harbour Resort.

SECOND PLACE: A Tour in the Moonlight – A dinner cruise for two (plus a special gift) on SYC’s Golden Opportunity, PLUS, two Executive King Balcony room gift certificates for two nights and breakfast for two at SSHR.

THIRD PLACE: Romance & Fun Under the Stars – A dinner cruise for two on SYC’s Golden Opportunity, PLUS, two Executive King Balcony room gift certificates for one night and breakfast for two at SSHR.

FOURTH PLACE: Take the Elevator Home – Two Executive King Balcony room gift certificates for two nights and breakfast for two at the beautiful SSHR.

FIFTH PLACE: Culinary Gem with Marina Waterfront View – $350 Gift Card for Opus Bistro & Steakhouse.

SIXTH PLACE: Feasting by the Bay – $250 Gift Card for Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House.

SEVENTH PLACE: Serendipitous Food & Fun – $150 Gift Card for T-Bone Tom’s, Tookie’s, or Tookie’s Seafood.

South Shore Harbour Resort

Deadline is March 31, 2023

Enter now and Don't Miss Out! Easy and Fun! See the awesome Prizes you could win below.

Enter SYC’s Contest! You could WIN one of these exciting and amazing, and fun-filled prizes!

South Shore Harbour Resort Opus Bistro and Steakhouse

Pier 6 Seafood

T-Bone Tom's 5

March 2023

Green Hat taste of swla

Enjoy this self-guided event throughout the month of March; present your tickets to participating restaurants and receive one Free Drink, one Free Appetizer or a percentage discount on your meal. Names will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win prizes at the end of the month.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Grace Gardens Brick Dedication and Blessing Ceremony

Throughout the year, people can purchase an engraved brick in Grace Gardens on the campus of CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital. This special ceremony invites the families who are honoring or remembering a loved one or pet to be a part of the blessing and dedication of the bricks.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Shamrocks and Champagne bingo Brunch

This classic Irish-themed brunch will take place at the Golden Nugget and will include fine-dining, champagne and Bingo fun!

6 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023
Events will benefit CHRISTUS Ochsner SWLA’s Access to Care Innovation Fund focused on providing state-of-the-art medical technology for our community. Visit or call (337) 430-5353 for more info or details on sponsorship opportunities. Scan to Purchase Tickets! 7 Must be 21 or older to enter Event Center, casino or Barstool Sportsbook. TICKETS FOR ALL ENTERTAINERS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE COUNTRY COMEBACK TOUR SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18 SHENANDOAH • BILLY DEAN • WADE HAYES AT THE L’AUBERGE EVENT CENTER COLT FORD SATURDAY, MARCH 4 TRACE ADKINS SATURDAY, APRIL 1 GAMBLING PROBLEM? PLEASE CALL 800.522.4700. LIVE ON STAGE

WOMEN: Take good care of your heart.

It's your No. 1 health risk.

Heart disease strikes nearly 1 in 3 women.


• Chest pain or discomfort

Risk Factors that increase a women’s risk for HEART DISEASE:

55 or older or postmenopausal. One reason is the decline in the hormone estrogen (which offers women some heart protection) that occurs after menopause.

High blood pressure. This damages the heart's arteries. In addition, women are more prone to heart disease if they had high blood pressure during pregnancy, a condition known as pre-eclampsia.

High cholesterol. Too much LDL cholesterol (the bad kind of cholesterol) in the blood can clog arteries in the heart, triggering a heart attack.

Diabetes. Or if you have its precursor, prediabetes.

Family history of early heart disease. If your father or brother had a heart attack before age 55 or your mother or sister had one before age 65, your risk rises too.

Overweight or obese. Extra weight is hard on the heart.

Unhealthy lifestyle choices. These include eating unhealthy foods, smoking or not exercising.

Talk to your doctor about your personal risk for heart disease and how to lower it.

• Discomfort in other areas of the body. These can include one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach

• Shortness of breath

• Breaking out in a cold sweat

• Nausea

• Syncope (feeling faint or light-headed)

Call 911 if you experience any of these symptoms.

Helping to ensure healthy hearts across SWLA.

Heart and Vascular Physicians with Lake Charles Memorial Health System proudly support HeartiGras

To learn about Heartigras, scan the QR code.

Magazine for Better Living •
Edward Bergen, DO Christopher Thompson, MD

Mind & Body

Your Heart, Your Health

February is American Heart Month, and we’re not talking about Valentine’s Day. It’s about your heart health! According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. About 697,000 people in the United States died from heart disease in 2020—that’s one in every five deaths. Understanding the risk factors for heart disease and how to live a hearthealthy lifestyle are a part of protecting your health and practicing self-care. In this annual special section, we offer information on knowing the risk factors and how to keep your heart healthy. You’ll also find a fascinating story on one local family’s journey with heart illness and how they were aided by Local Heart Foundation.

we get to the heart of the matter.

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. 9
701 Cypress Street, Sulphur

Healthier Heart

The foods we eat provide fuel for our bodies. If we continuously eat foods high in sugar and fat, it should be no surprise that the body could begin to deteriorate over time. On the other hand, an eating plan filled with vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables will help the body stay healthy and vital.

“Heart-healthy eating is an important way to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke,” says Cynthia Chantlin, CDCES, registered dietitian with West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital. “It’s one of the most important ways to benefit the health of your heart.” Since heart disease accounts for nearly one-third of all deaths worldwide, a heart-healthy diet is an important factor in maintaining good heart health.

Certain foods can influence blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation and triglycerides, all of which are risk factors for heart disease. Chantlin encourages a diet filled with these heart-healthy foods.

• Berries such as blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are some of the most powerful, diseasefighting foods. They are filled with fiber and vitamin C.

• Salmon and tuna are packed with heart-loving omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lower blood pressure and total cholesterol.

• Oats are packed with fiber, which can lower cholesterol and protect the heart. One of the best ways to eat these are simply in the traditional method of warm oatmeal; add a handful of berries for even more hearthealth benefits.

• Beans and lentils contain a variety of heart-healthy nutrients including fiber and B-vitamins.

• Tomatoes are filled with lycopene, an antioxidant that has been associated with lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and a lower heart attack risk.

In addition to eating vitamin-packed foods, it’s also important to limit or reduce salt. Eating too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, one of the risk factors for heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, or about one teaspoon of salt.

“Many canned and frozen prepared foods are high in sodium,” Chantlin says. “Which is why eating fresh foods can help someone reduce their sodium intake. If convenience is a factor, look for options that say ‘no added salt’ or ‘reduced sodium’. ”Choosing high-quality, nutritious foods can provide a boost toward a healthier heart."

10 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023
“Generally, the more colorful the food, the higher its nutritional content,” explains Chantlin. “The most nutritious plate is filled with colorful foods.”

The Center for Orthopaedics provides national-level sports medicine expertise right here in Southwest Louisiana. Our team of doctors and support staff offers experienced, hands-on care to tackle the toughest musculoskeletal injuries. We’ll also help you develop a game plan to prevent future injuries.

Whether you’ve been injured on the field, at a gym or in your own back yard, trust the CFO team to give you an accurate diagnosis and get you safely back in action. 11 501 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive | Lake Charles | (337) 312-8787
of Medicine
Medicine Residency
Medicine Residency Program.
2017. Call Dr. Burklow’s new office number, 312-8787, to schedule an appointment. New Year. New Office! Accepting New Patients! | (337) 721-7236 | Lake Charles | Moss Bluff WE’RE AROUND YOU CENTERED
Jason Burklow, MD, board certified family medicine physician with Imperial Health, has relocated his practice to 501 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive, 4th Floor. He offers comprehensive primary care for patients 18 and older. Originally from Lake Charles, Dr. Burklow earned a Bachelor of Science in Biological Science from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He received a Doctor
from the American University of the Caribbean School of
on the island of St. Maarten.
Burklow completed
at Lake Charles Memorial
the Louisiana State University Health Science Center Family
He has
with Imperial

The benefits of exercise on heart health KeepMoving

Many of us may correlate exercise with losing weight. While that is one of the benefits of increased movement, we may forget the value workouts have on the heart.

The heart, like every muscle, gets stronger and healthier with exercise. “Physical activity triggers changes in blood vessels, muscles, metabolism and brain,” explains Suzy Trahan, LDN, RD, ACSM certified exercise physiologist, ACE certified personal trainer, director of Dynamic Dimensions Fitness Centers of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital. “All of these promote better heart health.

Trahan says, over time, exercise increases the size of the heart’s chambers and conditions the heart. As a result, the heart relaxes more easily and pumps more efficiently because it requires less effort to send blood throughout the body.

“Exercise boosts the amount of blood circulating through the body by up to 25%, which encourages blood vessels to expand slightly and become more flexible. Exercise also promotes the production of nitric oxide, a molecule that relaxes and widens blood vessels.”

Aerobic exercise and resistance training are beneficial for boosting heart health. Flexibility is also key; although it doesn’t directly benefit heart health, it provides a strong foundation for being able to perform aerobic and strength exercise more effectively.

Aerobic exercise improves circulation, resulting in lowered blood pressure and heart rate. It also strengthens the pumping efficiency of the heart. Types of aerobic exercise include running, swimming, bicycling, playing tennis and brisk walking. “Ideally, it’s beneficial to get at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week of aerobic exercise,” Trahan says.

Strength training helps reduce overall body fat, similarly to aerobic exercise; but it also helps create leaner muscle mass and improved circulation, resulting in less pressure on arteries, reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Studies show that a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training can help raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. “Resistant training can be done with either weight machines to work arms and legs, with free weights or even with your own body weight as with yoga, tai chi or Pilates movements,” she says. “Aim to do these two to three times a week, letting your muscles recover for a day in between.”

Movements to improve flexibility are powerful to benefit musculoskeletal health. They help the body stay flexible and may reduce joint pain. “If you have a good musculoskeletal foundation, it enables you to do the exercises that help your heart, such as aerobic and strength training,” adds Trahan.

12 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023
Mind & Body | Your Heart,Your Health

“In addition, being flexible improves balance, which also helps maintain stability and prevent falls.” She advises incorporating flexibility movements into workouts, before and after other exercises.

It’s normal to feel mildly sore for a day or two after a workout, especially for beginners. As the body adjusts, the soreness will fade. It’s beneficial to change the types of exercises you do after a few weeks to work different muscles, and it adds variety for those who don’t like to do the same things all the time.

Starting an exercise program can be as simple as going for a walk for a few minutes each day, gradually increasing the time and intensity, and then incorporating aerobic, strength training and flexibility movements over time. As always, check with your doctor if you have any concerns.

For more information, visit 13
312-0030 Weight loss injections now available Take a Shot at
Weight Loss Jason Morris, M.D., Board Certified Family Physician

Cardiovascular Health


When you think of your cardiovascular system, you most likely think of your heart and your blood vessels. However, your cardiovascular system extends to the arms and legs as well, and includes veins and arteries.

Cardiovascular conditions in the legs are usually identified by leg pain, cramping, or discoloration. In the case of peripheral artery disease, also known as PAD, plaque buildup narrows arteries and reduces blood flow to the legs. Like clogged arteries in the heart, clogged arteries in the legs puts you at risk for having a heart attack or stroke. Other symptoms include numbness, coldness, sores that won’t heal, discoloration, hair loss, shiny skin or weak pulse. If you have heart disease, you have a one in three chance of developing PAD.

Other risk factors include: age 50+, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol, and family history of vascular disease. A simple, painless ultrasound called an ankle brachial index (ABI) can diagnose PAD. Once detected, treatment can reduce symptoms, improve mobility, enhance quality of life, and help prevent heart attack, stroke, and amputation.

Like in the arteries, damaged veins in the legs can also cause vascular leg complications. Venous disease is a condition when the veins in the legs do not properly return blood back to the heart. Damaged or weakened veins cause blood to flow backwards, causing blood to pool in the legs. This leads to visible, painful or swollen veins, including varicose or spider veins. Varicose veins are enlarged, bulging or twisting veins, whereas spider veins are smaller and are seen as blue or red lines closer to the skin’s surface.

In addition to visible veins, other symptoms of venous disease include:

• Swelling or heaviness in legs

• Leg pain – Aching, cramping, burning or throbbing, especially after prolonged periods of sitting

• Discoloration of skin

• Protrusion of enlarged veins with a cord or rope-like appearance

• Dry or weeping eczema

• Leg ulcers

• Restless legs

• Itching

Diagnosing venous disease relies on a combination of symptoms, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. To confirm the presence of venous disease, a physician will most commonly use tests such as ultrasound, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging to visualize how blood travels through the veins. A blood test or venography x-ray can also be done to find potential blood clots.

14 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023
Mind & Body | Your Heart,Your Health

Venous disease can be treated with lifestyle modifications as well as medication. Compression stockings are most commonly used to help relieve symptoms, improve blood flow, and reduce swelling. However to treat the root of the problem, further medical treatment may be needed to reduce symptoms and improve appearance.

Cardiovascular Institute of the South offers comprehensive treatment for venous disease with the latest

minimally-invasive procedures, all performed conveniently in a clinic setting. Without treatment, venous disease can worsen due to the pressure of the backflow of blood in the legs. It can cause tissue inflammation, tissue damage or blood clots, leading to ulcers and infections, and ultimately making the condition painful and debilitating. That is why it is important to receive proper diagnosis and treatment from a vein specialist.


If you experience symptoms of vascular disease in the legs, visit a cardiologist to determine the cause of the problem. Dr. Riaz Rahman, interventional cardiologist, treats these conditions at CIS in Jennings. Schedule an appointment at CIS in Jennings by calling 337-388-6200 or visiting

Aches or cramps in your thighs or calves, especially after walking or climbing, can indicate blockages in the blood vessels. Coldness, numbness or painful ulcers can also be signs of peripheral vascular disease.

Don't ignore the signs. Schedule today at 15
Painful cramping in your legs can be caused by a lack of blood �ow.

HarnessPowertheof You

for Heart Health

Knowledge is power, and the more you learn about your health, including your heart health, the more you can be proactive about managing your health. A healthy heart is central to overall good health. Embracing a healthy lifestyle at any age can prevent heart disease and lower your risk for a cardiovascular-related health condition.

According to Dr. Prasanna Sugathan, board certified cardiologist with Imperial Health, when people think about their heart health, they often focus on things they need to stop doing instead of things they can choose to start doing to improve their cardiovascular health. “I like to tell my patients about the power they have to help their body do what it’s designed to do,” says Dr. Sugathan. “We have miraculous bodies with intricate metabolic and physiologic capabilities that don’t need to think about it to function. Because this occurs without direct supervision, so to speak, often we take it for granted. In a stress-filled lifestyle, we tend to overlook that what we consume as food, what we are exposed to in our environment, how much we move our bodies, can and does affect

our magnificent metabolic machinery. Making choices to help one’s body perform at its best is something we can all do to improve our overall health as well as heart health. It’s up to each of us to seize that power.”

Dr. Sugathan adds that you are never too old or too young to begin taking care of your heart. “You are in direct control over many things that can influence your heart health. It’s up to you to choose how seriously you take this responsibility.”

Some people find it easy to adopt a healthy lifestyle, while others focus on what they should do only after being diagnosed with health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or even a heart attack or stroke. “Whatever your inspiration, know that the benefits of a heart-healthy lifestyle are worth the effort, as it promotes good overall health. You’ll help prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic diseases. You can also modify your risk for certain cancers with some lifestyle changes.”

Not sure where to begin? Dr. Sugathan says to choose just one healthy habit to start. As you gain control, add another, then another. “Soon, you’ll feel empowered instead of overwhelmed. If you need guidance, ask your doctor. We are here to help you; but remember, YOU are the one with the POWER to do something.”

Dr. Sugathan wholeheartedly recommends a heart-healthy whole foods lifestyle. Consume the best quality, least processed food items and eliminate most pre-made foods. “Try this plan for a month and see how you feel,” she says. “Focus on eating more green leafy vegetables, different colors of vegetables, berries and fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and the various mushroom varieties that are readily available locally. Seek out the best quality, least processed meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy, consumed in moderation of course. Avoid hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and other additives through food sources. Label reading helps you make smarter choices. Look over the ingredients list for the few processed items you may need to buy. Look for foods with little added sugars. And eat your calories, don’t drink them! Sodas, juices, creamers, etc. contain large quantities of sugar, while the body requirement for daily sugar intake is zero. High sugar and carbohydrate intake increases insulin levels in the body, which can lead to overeating and weight gain. Replace the unhealthy drinks with filtered water. If you make these dietary changes for a month, you’ll feel better and be more encouraged to maintain a healthier lifestyle.”

16 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023 Mind & Body | Get to the Heart of your Health
Mind & Your Heart,Your Health

• Be more active. You don’t need to join a gym or buy fancy exercise equipment; just move more. Take the stairs, take a walk, dance, work in your yard. Consider creating a buddy system to help motivate each other. Aim for 30 minutes of walking five to six days a week.

• Know and understand your risk factors. This empowers you to take proactive steps toward better health. Work with your healthcare team to understand what your blood pressure is, your cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and treatment goals. If you have a family history that increases your risk, that guides the decisions regarding your treatment.

• Manage stress to help reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. Chronic stress elevates stress hormone levels which can have lasting effects on the body. Recognize the stress and manage ways to cope with it, such as meditation, breathing exercises, walking in nature. Ask for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

• Restorative sleep is increasingly being recognized as being important. Sleep habits may differ. However, restorative sleep is necessary for all of us.

While YOU are in charge of your own health, Dr. Sugathan adds that it is critically important that if you’re being treated for hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes, and other chronic conditions with medications, any sweeping changes should be done with the oversight of your medical care provider. The healthy changes you make may lead to lower blood pressure and blood glucose levels and other changes requiring a decrease in medication doses.

“The first step in treating heart disease is trying to prevent it altogether,” stresses Dr. Sugathan. “I hope you choose to wield the power you have over your own healthy future.”

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Sugathan in Lake Charles, call 337-312-8281. 17
Dr. Sugathan’s other suggestions for changes that complement healthier eating include:

Mind & Your Heart,Your Health

A Community Forever Heart Connected

Local Heart Foundation Benefits Families Suffering from Heart Diseases

In December 2015, when Stacie Adams was 17 weeks pregnant with her second child, she and her fiancé, Jeremy Bordelon, discovered via sonogram that the baby had multiple, lifethreatening heart defects. She was diagnosed with Double Inlet Left Ventricle, Hypoplastic Right Ventricle, Transposition of the Great Arteries, Hypoplastic Aortic Arch, Coarctation of the Aorta, and Ventricular Septal Defect. Basically, the baby would be born with only half a heart. The remainder of the pregnancy was filled with worry and concern for the unknowns, all while continuing to care for son Maddox, age two at the time. Stacie’s niece hosted a gender reveal party. “We opened a box and found a pink balloon that said, ‘It’s a Girl!’ As I held our son, I stood there and cried, realizing this was all surreal . . . but trusting God.”

At 37 weeks into her pregnancy, the family moved to Houston to be close to Texas Children’s Hospital, where Stacie would deliver. The baby would be in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) and need her first surgery within the first week of life. On May 3, 2016, at 39 weeks, Addison was born. “We were told there was a possibility that we would not be able to hold Addison after she was born. Thankfully, we were able to hold her but for only a few minutes. She was put in the incubator and walked over to the CVICU. Jeremy accompanied her, and on their way, they passed another dad who gently tapped Jeremy on the back for encouragement. Later, we realized this was the moment we joined a family that we never knew existed.”

Addison had the first of her three surgeries on May 9 and remained in the hospital for six more weeks. The family continued to live in Houston for her care and until after her second surgery that September. “Finally in mid-October, we were allowed to go back to Lake Charles for her to continue to grow until she reached the age of three to five to have the third heart surgery. And we did just that. Life was different but we were getting used to our new normal.”

Fast forward three years. Not long prior to Addison’s third surgery, the couple discovered Local Heart Foundation via one of Jeremy’s relatives. Stacie contacted Susannah Todd, then-director of the foundation, and she quickly found ways to assist the family. “Within a couple days, Susannah had an apartment for us, gift cards for meals and gift cards for gas,” Stacie recalls. “We were blown away by Local Heart Foundation’s assistance for our unplanned financial burden. Because of the foundation, both Jeremy and I were able to stay with Addison in Houston for her entire hospital stay after her third surgery in October 2019. After Addison’s surgery, Susannah and Tammy Andreas, co-founder of Local Heart Foundation, visited us in the hospital, bringing Addison treats and stuffed animals. Not only did the foundation assist with financial burdens, they also showed compassion and prayed for Addison’s health and strength for our family.”

In 2020, Stacie and Jeremy shared their story at Local Heart Foundation’s annual fundraising event. Stacie says they were honored to speak about Addison’s unique heart disorder, the challenges families face when needing to travel out of town for cardiac care, and how Local Heart Foundation assists these families.

18 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023 Mind & Body | Get to the Heart of your Health
Kacie briefly holds Addison after giving birth Susannah Todd (L) and Tammy Andreas (R) visit Addison after her second surgery

“We felt blessed to have been a part of such a fun and inspiring event,” she adds. Today, Addison is thriving and has started kindergarten. “Her team of doctors say she is doing amazingly well,” Stacie says. “Addison will continue to grow and spread her joyful spirit.”

But the story doesn’t end there. Stacie has been working on a psychology degree from McNeese State University, in hopes of helping other families. Last October, Tammy called her and told her that Susannah was resigning from Local Heart Foundation’s director’s position to care for her new baby and offered the position to Stacie.

“I was stunned,” Stacie says. Tammy offered me my dream job! I am excited to begin this journey with such a wonderful foundation and am even more excited to do it with Tim and Tammy Andreas. Being on the frontline, helping other heart families with similar diagnoses, both financially and emotionally, is the most rewarding and humbling experience. God prepared me for this journey to assist other families through my own daughter’s heart.”

Local Heart Foundation was formed in 2017 by Tim and Tammy Andreas to assist families of children and adults with heart disease. Visit Local Heart Foundation on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with local heart patients, event announcements, and more. Visit their website at www. Local Heart Foundation currently only accepts Applications for Assistance from cardiologist’s offices. If you are receiving treatment for heart disease and need assistance, please contact your cardiologist. 19

ENT & Allergic Clinic Now Offering Allergy Drops

Allergy symptoms can occur any time of the year and impact the daily life of those who suffer from this chronic condition. Now, a new treatment option, sublingual immunotherapy, is giving those with allergies an easier way to find relief.

In the United States, allergies are the sixth leading cause chronic illness. There is no cure for allergies, but immunotherapy, previously only available in injections, can help reduce a person’s sensitivity, or allergic response, to allergens. Immunotherapy works by delivering small doses of what a person is allergic to in order to allow their immune system to make ‘blocking antibodies’ to the allergens, thereby reducing allergy symptoms. This treatment addresses the underlying cause of allergies, rather than the symptoms, and may even eliminate allergies completely for some people.

Dr. Bridget Loehn and Dr. Blake LeBlanc, specialists with the ENT & Allergy Clinic of Imperial Health, now offer sublingual immunotherapy, commonly called allergy drops, as an alternative to allergy shots.

“We are excited to have an alternative approach to treating allergies without using injections. Unlike injection immunotherapies, which are given in the office, allergy drops are prescribed and taken in the comfort of your home,” says Dr. Loehn. “This added convenience makes the drops a more appealing option for many patients.”

Dr. LeBlanc says patients who qualify for immunotherapy are typically those who have tried other treatment options but have experienced little or no relief. “If you have suffered with allergies for years and have not been able to find relief with antihistamines, nasal sprays, or other allergy symptom treatments, and you’re having multiple sinus infections, recurrent ear infections, getting pneumonia frequently, having repeated asthma flares, or other chronic allergic-driven symptoms, you should consider getting tested to see if you qualify for immunotherapy.”

The first step is finding out what you’re allergic to through allergy testing. Testing is done via a skin prick test. During this test, the skin is exposed to suspected allergycausing substances (allergens) and is then observed for signs of an allergic reaction. Based on that information, doctors can prescribe a drop formulation to address an individual’s specific allergies.

Allergy drops can be prescribed for children as well as adults. Dr. Loehn says side effects are rare and if they occur, are typically mild and local, with the most common being itching and irritation. These are more likely with the first doses, and then lessen with time.

For more information or to schedule an appointment to be evaluated for immunotherapy allergy drops, call (337) 312-8321.

20 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023 Mind & Body

Dr. Effat Rasul is Accepting New Patients

Dr. Effat Rasul, Internal Medicine Specialist with Imperial Health, is currently accepting new patients.

Dr. Rasul is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. She received her Medical Degree at Allama Iqbal Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan, and completed her Internal Medicine training at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, Pennsylvania. Dr. Rasul has over 11 years of experience in her field and has a special interest in optimizing medical management of complicated health conditions.

Dr. Rasul practices with Dr. Benjamin Williams and Dr. Errol Wilder in Lake Charles. To schedule an appointment with her, call 337-433-1212.

All major insurances and Medicare accepted. 21 771 Bayou Pines East | Lake Charles | (337) 433-1212

Wining & Dining

As Southwest Louisiana

continues to recover from the storms of 2020/2021, it seems a new dining experience comes onto the Lake Area restaurant scene every minute. Hyperbole aside, it’s true that numerous new eateries have opened over the past year. In this annual special section, we share several of these newer establishments that offer some unique flavors. You’ll also find a feature on the best kidfriendly restaurants, and an exciting announcement on an upcoming restaurant at L'Auberge.

our 2023 LOCAL Restaurant Guide

flavors new


For breakfast and brunch, Biscuits & Jamz in North Lake Charles is ready to become your new go to spot. With items that range from a usual country breakfast to the decadent Crab Benedict, there’s flavors to hit every one of your taste buds. One of the stars might be the F Biscuit, which combines biscuit dipped in French toast batter with sausage and egg and a nice Bourbon onion bacon jam, which right there covers all your bases.

1620 North Simmons Street, Lake Charles. Open Wednesday-Monday, 8: 00 a.m. to 1:00 .pm. Closed Tuesday.

Over in Sulphur you’ll find Chic Frys, a little, red food truck located in the Napa Auto Parts parking lot. They offer some of the best Indian food in the area. The menu isn’t overexpansive, but it has all the flavors you’re

continued on pg. 24

Wining & Dining | Restaurant Guide

For the newest in Mediterranean cuisine, Nawal’s Kebab House & Grill recently opened where the old Zeus used to be on Prien Lake Road, and already, they’re ready to give the rest of the Lebanese restaurants in town a run for their money. Their menu contains all the favorites you’d expect from grape leaves to gyros, but there’s also a variety within their flavors, such as offering five different types of hummus to enjoy. The falafel is a fan favorite. And check out their stews, such as the Eggplant Moussaka. Divine!

409 West Prien Lake Road, Lake Charles. Monday-Saturday, 4:00 p.m. – 900 p.m.

If tacos are the key to your heart, Mi Tierra is the newest restaurant opened in the Market Basket Shopping Center on Nelson Road in Lake Charles. While not reinventing the wheel, Mi Tierra serves some downright authentic Mexican cuisine with one of the highlights being the Mole con Pollo that comes with a side of plantains. They’ve also got Taco Tuesday specials both on tacos and drinks, as well as a Thursday special on their mini quesabirrias.

4447 Nelson Road, Lake Charles. Open Monday-Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Sunday until 6:00 p.m.

SushiBoxx on Nelson Road might be the oldest of the new on this list, but most of SWLA is still discovering the delicious sushi being served in this strip mall just north of Kroger. While part of the appeal of SushiBoxx is the ability to grab ‘n go, you can also sit down and enjoy both freshly made sushi rolls as well as poke bowls or a Vietnamese classic such as bahn mi. While the menu isn’t as extensive as some other sushi places, what SushiBoxx does do it does well, and it’s nice to have grab ‘n go sushi you can trust.

4720 Nelson Road Suite 130. Open MondaySaturday 10:00 am. – 8:00 p.m.

Finally, if you’re looking for some dessert, Le Macaron has recently expanded from a kiosk in the mall to a brick and mortar on Country Club Road in front of Kroger. They offer more than just its namesake – there are also gourmet chocolates, gelato, cakes, cheesecakes, other French pastries, and coffee. Or check out their savory items such as chicken salad croissants and quiche. If you’re looking for a lite lunch and a round of desserts to bring back to the office, you’ve found your new favorite shop.

2020 Country Club Road Suite 120.

Open Monday-Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Friday & Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m , and Sunday Noon - 6:00 p.m. 25 10PM SE D SERVING UP FINGER-LICKING FOOD FOR THREE DECADES (337) 474-3651 | Friday & Saturday: 11am-11pm & SPORTS BAR DARRELL’S TO-GO NEW DELIVERY AVAILABLE THROUGH

Kid Friendly Dining Options in SWLA

When you think of the perfect place to celebrate a family occasion or grab a bite to eat after finishing up a ball game or dance class, white linen dining and a la carte menus don’t exactly check the boxes. No worries! in Southwest Louisiana, there’s no shortage of kid friendly options! Many area restaurants offer discounted or free nights for kids, coloring pages, great spaces and delicious kids’ menus.

Mr. Gatti’s Pizzas

A fan favorite with three locations in Southwest Louisiana, Mr. Gatti’s has easily earned its spot on this listing. Buffet style dining and the famous game room are the top two attractions that make this eatery a go-to for families. It’s also a great space to host birthday parties, with packages that include food, drink, and game tokens.

Sulphur (1811 Ruth St.), Lake Charles (3522 Ryan St.), and Jennings (1320 Elton Rd.).

Crying Eagle Brewery

A brewery may not be top of mind when deciding on a family dinner, but Crying Eagle isn’t your ordinary brewery. Their Bistro serves some incredible eats to be enjoyed in their spacious dining area or on the sprawling patio. With plenty of room to move around, kid favorites like pizza and fries, and outdoor games, it’s an ideal spot for adults and kids alike.

1165 E. McNeese St. in Lake Charles.

Crust Pizza Co.

Relatively new to the SWLA restaurant scene, Crust Pizza Co. has three locations to choose from. Kid’s eat free on Tuesdays (two kids per one adult entrée) and their kids’ menu is a little different than most. Of course, favorites like mac n’ cheese and pizza are there but Crust also offers smaller portions of Italian favorites like spaghetti and alfredo! Sulphur (206 S. Cities Service Hwy.), Lake Charles (3479 Nelson Rd.) and Moss Bluff (1355 Sam Houston Jones Pkwy.)


Brewing Company

Rikenjaks offers an incredible outdoor space, complete with games, live music, and a menu full of delicious family favorites. It’s a great place to celebrate a family birthday or enjoy Sunday brunch together! You can even bring your four-legged family member along if you plan to sit on the patio.

3716 Ryan St. in Lake Charles.

Mellow Mushroom

Nothing says “kid friendly” like a giant Transformer on the patio, and that’s just the beginning at this artisan pizza spot. The outdoor dining space is eclectic and super fun, and it’s sure to have the kids asking to go back. Menu choices are endless with build-your-own options as well as perfectly crafted flavors. Kids eat free with the purchase of any pizza on Monday evenings.

3420 Ryan St. in Lake Charles.

K’s Frozen Delights and More

K’s Frozen Delights & More is sure to be a favorite for the whole crew. Its menu boasts dozens of options for dessert and even a few salty, savory dishes like sandwiches, hot dogs and nachos. More popular items like rolled ice cream and stuffed snow cones catch your eye immediately. The classic 50s diner motif will make you feel like you stepped back in time!

1842 Ruth St. in Sulphur.

Wining & Dining | Restaurant Guide
The culinary scene in Southwest Louisiana is abundant and accommodates many different dining styles. Whether you’re looking for a quick meal with the kids on a busy weeknight or a go-to place for family dinners, you’re sure to find it!

Make a BIG Difference

Make a BIG Difference

Create a lifetime impact with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Create a lifetime impact with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of SWLA is committed to igniting the power and promise of youth through one-to-one mentoring relationships. By matching community members with the leaders of tomorrow, the organization believes youth can achieve their full potential, reach higher aspirations, develop greater confidence, build better relationships, avoid risk behaviors and accomplish educational success.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of SWLA is committed to igniting the power and promise of youth through one-to-one mentoring relationships. By matching community members with the leaders of tomorrow, the organization believes youth can achieve their full potential, reach higher aspirations, develop greater confidence, build better relationships, avoid risk behaviors and accomplish educational success.

Big Brothers Big Sisters currently has over 35 littles, like these two, ready to be matched with a Big.

Big Brothers Big Sisters currently has over 35 littles, like these two, ready to be matched with a Big.

Ja’linee, 7 years old • Waiting for 75 days

Ja’linee, 7 years old • Waiting for 75 days

Ja’Linee is an outgoing, athletic, and happy Little Sister waiting for her perfect Big! She would love a Big Sibling who can take her bowling and knows a bit of arithmetic – she’s eager to master multiplication! Ja’Linee may need just a little time to warm up, but she’s certainly not one to shy away from trying something new. She’s ready for a Big that has the imagination and energy to match her spunk!

Ja’Linee is an outgoing, athletic, and happy Little Sister waiting for her perfect Big! She would love a Big Sibling who can take her bowling and knows a bit of arithmetic – she’s eager to master multiplication! Ja’Linee may need just a little time to warm up, but she’s certainly not one to shy away from trying something new. She’s ready for a Big that has the imagination and energy to match her spunk!

Sha’la, 10 years old • Waiting for 60 Days

Sha’la, 10 years old • Waiting for 60 Days

Sha’la is looking for a Big Sister that knows a thing or two about a thing or two – one of her favorite things to do is read about “Did you know…?” factoids! She is a very sweet, intelligent Little who is soft-spoken and kind to others. A day out riding bikes, going shopping, or taking a trip to the park would be a dream for this Little. If you like spending time outside or with animals, you’d be an amazing Big for her.

Sha’la is looking for a Big Sister that knows a thing or two about a thing or two – one of her favorite things to do is read about “Did you know…?” factoids! She is a very sweet, intelligent Little who is soft-spoken and kind to others. A day out riding bikes, going shopping, or taking a trip to the park would be a dream for this Little. If you like spending time outside or with animals, you’d be an amazing Big for her.

Apply today to become a Big.

Apply today to become a Big.

Being a mentor is about being present and creating special moments that last a lifetime.

Being a mentor is about being present and creating special moments that last a lifetime.

4135 Common Street, Lake Charles 1509 N Pine Street, DeRidder 337-478-5437

4135 Common Street, Lake Charles 1509 N Pine Street, DeRidder

337-478-5437 27



L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles announced a new partnership with renowned chef, author and television personality Aarón Sánchez, chef/owner of Johnny Sánchez restaurant in New Orleans. Sánchez will be opening his second location of this popular eatery inside L’Auberge this summer.

Johnny Sánchez is a smart, chic and authentic restaurant that embodies the warmth of traditional Mexican cooking and the fun and genuine hospitality that defines New Orleans. It bridges traditional Mexican food with a cutting-edge, modern approach to dining that utilizes the very best ingredients.

This new eatery will be located in the former Favorites Southern Kitchen location inside L’Auberge. It will boast 74 seats in the dining room, 26 seats in the bar and 66 seats on the outside patio and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. With its close proximity to the resort’s pool, guests will be able to conveniently enter the restaurant’s expansive patio bar from the pool area.

“It is exciting to work with Aarón and grow the Johnny Sanchez brand within Louisiana,” says Harold Rowland, VP & GM of L’Auberge. “We chose to partner with Aarón because of his commitment to Louisiana and passion for timeless Mexican food!”

To learn more about L’Auberge, call reservations at 866-580-7444; visit; find them on Facebook laubergeLC; Instagram @laubergelakecharles; or follow them on Twitter @LAubergeLC .

28 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023 Wining & Dining | Restaurant Guide 29 for Valentine’s Day with Botox and Dermal Fillers. Pucker Up Don’t Mask your imperfections. Transform them, with Botox and Dermal Fillers. (337) 474-1220 2640 Country Club Rd., Suite 100, Lake Charles

Cool Jobs CoolJobs Money & Career HeatherMetzger

Inspired by her mother and grandmother, who both loved potting flowers and tending gardens, Heather Metzger grew up with a passion for plants and discovered she has a knack for landscaping. After Hurricane Laura, she and her husband, Matt, built their forever home on 75 acres in Lacassine, where they’re raising their two young children, along with cattle, ducks, and chickens. But prior to the storms, the couple lived in neighborhoods with home owners associations (HOAs). “I always did the landscaping for our own homes,” Heather says. “And I’d give advice and planting tips to our neighbors on what to plant, where to plant it, and how to take care of it. They’d tell me, ‘You should do this for a living!’ Two years ago, I decided, ‘Why not?’”

Metzger formally started her business, Landscape Lady, in 2021. Since then, her following has grown faster than her grandmother’s legendary English ivy! “My original intent was to offer custom, personalized landscaping design to average people who might not want the full services of a landscape company but who want a plan with appropriate plants that would work


with their style and who are willing to do the labor themselves.

I not only suggest plants that will do well, but also determine how much dirt, mulch, rocks, and edging they’ll need. As my business grew, I discovered many clients also want someone to install the plants and still save some money. I’ve partnered with specific growers in Forest Hill so I can get plants at cost for my clients. Now my family is involved – my stepdad, my dad, my uncle – and they do the installation if a client requests that.”

A unique feature of Metzger’s business model is that she hand-draws each client’s landscape plan. “I’ve always loved drawing, so I decided, instead of using a computer program to create my clients’ designs, I would hand-draw them. I illustrate their home and help them visualize the landscaping I see in my head. I give these drawings to my clients as an added value; there’s no extra charge for this. Some clients even frame the drawing and display it in their home.”

30 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023

Metzger says she is meticulous in her work and takes her time when creating a client’s landscaping design. “First, I schedule an appointment with a client at their home and we sit and talk about what plants, flowers, and colors they are drawn to. This gives me an idea of their likes and dislikes. Then we go outside and discuss the actual project and their vision for the landscaping. We consider ways to cut back on costs and maintenance.

My next hour or so is spent measuring the space. I use a walking wheel that measures distance and I draw it all out on graph paper to get exact measurements. I use highlighter spray paint to mark it out on the ground to give the client a better idea of the plan. Then I go home and start sketching! I also give my clients an itemized price list so they can see the breakdown and make cost-based decisions.”

Metzger’s motivation stems from her love of helping people. “It’s about picking the right plants and having the proper infrastructure, such as consistent water, mulch, and adding fertilizer a couple times a year,” she says. “Most people don’t know where to begin and what plants will grow well in the sun vs shade, when to trim, and how to care for their landscape. I love educating my clients about the maintenance of each plant and providing them with care cards for each plant in their new landscape.”

For more information on Landscape Lady, find her on Facebook or call 337-274-0048. 31

Inferior Superiors

Dealing with a Bad Boss

Do you dread going to work in the morning, not because of the work, but because you’re not sure you can deal with your boss one more day?

Bad bosses – whether bullies, control freaks, micro-managers or bumbling idiots – can be found in all organizations. In fact, they are among the favorite stereotypical characters. There’s publishing dictator Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada and clueless regional office director Michael Scott in The Office, and the full-length movie Horrible Bosses, just to name a few.

Bad bosses may be entertaining in small doses, but when you have to face a real one every working day, it’s not very amusing. A bad boss can turn even a good working environment into an uncomfortable and unhappy workplace. Research shows that many employees don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses, with an estimated 57% who leave their jobs doing so because of their supervisor.

“Dealing with a less than effective manager, or just a plain bad boss, is a challenge many employees face,” says Keri Forbess-McCorquodale, MS, LPC-S, LMFT, CEAP, president of Solutions Counseling & EAP. “Difficult supervisors vary in personality from being a little pushy or rude, to being downright abusive. Chances are most workers will deal with one in some capacity at some point in their career.”

According to Forbess-McCorquodale, part of the problem is that a large majority of managers are moved into positions of authority without any training about how to manage people. “They may be skilled in their field but have had no supervisory training.”

As anyone who has tangled with an unprofessional supervisor knows, it’s a very difficult situation to handle. Do you tough it out? Try a mature, heartto-heart discussion? File a complaint? Quit? “It’s hard to find a more difficult workplace situation than having a boss you don’t get along with, or who treats you unprofessionally,” ForbessMcCorquodale says. “Helping employees with supervisor-related problems is one

of the most common, and most complex, workplace conflicts we address. There’s just no easy solution.”

It’s a serious situation because this isn’t just any relationship. “Unlike a cranky spouse or a gossipy friend, your boss controls your livelihood and professional reputation. He or she plays a key role in your financial security and career success,” says Forbess-McCorquodale.

One thing you can do is decide what your limits are and what steps you will take if your tolerance level is exceeded. For example, you may decide you can tolerate your boss taking credit for your work or playing favorites, but will not lie on their behalf, or allow him or her to humiliate you in front of co-workers.

There are other steps you can take that will help you feel like you have more of a handle on the situation. “It’s helpful to remember the only thing you can control is yourself,” says Forbess-McCorquodale. “Focus on yourself and your reaction to the situation. Understand that your supervisor’s behavior is not about you. It’s about them, and you can’t control their behavior.”

32 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023
Money & Career

Forbess-McCorquodale offers the following strategies to help when trying to successfully manage a difficult boss situation:

• Address the issue directly. Be prepared and choose the right time. The right time is not in the middle of a volatile situation or right after an incident. Calmly and rationally discuss the issue – as you perceive it. Talk about yourself and your own feelings, rather than making accusations or criticizing. For example, say “I’m uncomfortable when I’m in the position of having to lie to our clients. How can we avoid this in the future?”

• Always have a back-up plan. Before you initiate such a meeting, have a plan in place in case things don’t work out.

Your plan may be having a job offer in hand, having your resume up-todate, or having enough surplus cash to sustain you while you look for another job. Your backup plan gives you the confidence of knowing you can walk away should the discussion deteriorate.

• Don’t get emotional. When your boss criticizes you, don’t react out of emotion and become confrontational with them because that just creates more conflict. Instead, use their criticism as a topic for discussion on interests, goals, and problem-solving, and ask them for their advice.

• Be professional. Know the difference between not liking your boss and not being professional. You don’t have to consider your boss a friend or even like

them as a person, but you do have to remain professional, get the job done and follow their instructions.

• Document everything. If you choose to stay with a toxic employer, then document everything. This will become your main ammunition should a complaint ever be filed down the road.

Whatever you do, think about what consequences you are willing to accept before taking action, if any. Every situation is different, and you need to make the right decision for yourself,” says ForbessMcCorquodale. “Your relationship with your boss is like any other in your life and requires work.” 33 Apply online at MORTGAGES | HOME EQUITY LOANS & LINES OF CREDIT COME ON OVER DREAM HOMES START HERE CONVENTIONAL • FHA • VA • USDA RURAL HOUSING • FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS NEW CONSTRUCTION & LAND • HOMEBUYER ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS AVAILABLE

Are you... Living Beyond your Means?

“Awareness can help you diagnose and correct the problem before it gets worse and you really put your financial well-being at risk.”

Your Credit Score is Below 600

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, many people in America are living beyond their means, and personal savings rates are at their lowest levels in nearly two decades. Dwindling savings mean that U.S. households are taking on more debt and are less able to absorb a financial blow like the loss of a job, a downturn in the economy or a natural disaster like the hurricanes we have experienced in Southwest Louisiana. If you are unsure about the stability of your finances, Twenda Hanson, Vice President with Lakeside Bank, says there are some key warning signs to monitor. “Just as our national economy is monitored by indicators, there are certain signals in your home economy that can let you know if you are getting in over your head.”

Hanson says any of the following situations should signal a “red alert” on your personal finances.

Credit bureaus keep track of your payment history, outstanding loan balances and legal judgments against you. They then use this information to compile a credit score that reflects your credit worthiness. The numerical rankings go from a low of 300 to high of 850, and Hanson says the higher your score, the more confident you can feel about your financial stability. “These computerized, threedigit measurements of credit-worthiness influence not only whether or not you’ll be granted credit, but also how much you may pay in interest and other fees for a credit card or a house or car loan. In addition, today many non-lenders, including future employers, check that information as well. In general, any credit score below 600 means that you are probably on shaky financial footing.” If you aren’t sure what your credit score is, get a copy to find out. She says to review it carefully for errors and work to raise your score.

34 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023 Money & Career
With worries about the economy at the forefront of everyone’s concerns, many are taking a closer look at the state of their personal finances.

You Aren’t Saving

The average rate of personal savings is 2.4 %, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. That means that Americans spend nearly everything they earn. “If you save less than 5% of your gross income, you are likely in over your head,” says Hanson. “This means you could be in real danger of financial ruin if you lost your job, someone in your family were to have a medical emergency, or a disaster struck your family home. With savings this low, it likely means you wouldn’t even have the money to pay the necessary insurance deductibles. And you certainly aren’t building a nest egg for a secure retirement.”

Ideally, Hanson says everyone should try to save as much as they can, but in terms of targets, the rule most financial experts suggest is 10% of your gross income. “If saving that much is not feasible, save as much as you can, working to increase the amount you set aside as your income increases and you minimize expenses. What’s most important is that you make saving a priority and contribute to savings consistently.”

Your Credit Card Balances are Rising

If you keep a high balance on your credit card (or cards), paying only the minimum due on your balance each month, then you are headed for financial problems – if you aren’t there already. “Your goal should be to only charge what you’ll be able to pay off at the end of each month,” says Hanson. “And if you can’t afford to pay off the balance in its entirety, you should try to at least pay more than the minimum, making some contribution toward the outstanding principal.” She says the importance of paying down credit card balances as soon as possible cannot be overstated. A person with $5,000 in credit card debt who makes the minimum payment of just $200 per month will end up spending more than $8,000 and take almost 13 years to pay off that debt.

Home Mortgage

Calculate what percentage of your monthly income goes toward your mortgage, property taxes and insurance. If it’s more than 28% of your gross income, Hanson says this could put a big strain on your finances. The 28% threshold is often used as a guideline because research has shown this to be the rate at which the average person can make their mortgage payments and still enjoy a reasonable standard of living. “Certainly, some homeowners can get by spending a higher percentage on their homes, particularly if they cut back elsewhere, but it will take discipline and an interruption in income could spell financial disaster.”

Bills are Piling Up

Buying on credit and paying by installment has become the American way. It’s much easier to buy a new flat screen television, swimming pool or furniture set when the salesman breaks down the price in monthly installments. What’s an extra $50 per month, right? Hanson says the problem is that small bills add up, and the total can lead to major financial problems. “If you feel overwhelmed by your monthly bills, it’s time to take stock of the big picture. Go through your bills one by one and decide whether each product or service you are paying for is really necessary. Some of the best places to find savings include utility bills, cell phone plans and entertainment expenses.

Hanson stresses that these warning signs do not mean you are teetering on the brink of financial disaster but should instead be viewed as symptoms of a problem that needs attention. “If one or more of them apply to you, it’s time to reevaluate your spending and saving habits and implement a long-term financial plan. Recognizing the problem is always the first step to finding a solution.” 35
Locally owned and operated for over 30 years DOCUMENT SOLUTIONS FOR BUSINESS copiers • scanners • printers • fax • shredders 600 W McNeese Street, Lake Charles | (337) 474-9913

Le Macaron Holds Grand Opening for New Location

French pastry shop Le Macaron recently held a grand opening celebration for their new location at 2020 Country Club Road.

Locally owned and operated, Le Macaron offers French-style macarons, gourmet chocolates, eclairs, gelato, coffee, espresso, macaron cakes, cakes, lemon tarts, cheesecakes, Napoleons and other French pastries. The café also serves Lavazza coffee from Italy, freshly made in every single cup, including Espresso, Americano and traditional drip coffee, Latte and Cappuccino, with a wide variety of flavor additions. Chicken salad served on croissants is also on the menu.

Lindsay LeBleu first opened Le Macaron as a freestanding kiosk inside Prien Lake Mall in early 2022. Le Macaron also offers online ordering, curbside delivery on call-ahead coffee orders, catering, gift certificates and corporate gifts.

Stay up to date with Le Macaron by following their Facebook page or online at www.

ReCon Management Services Inc. Opens New Location in Baton Rouge

ReCon Management Services Inc., an engineering, consulting, and project management firm, has opened a new location in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This expands their footprint to five locations across Louisiana and Texas. The new office is located at 1202 Perkins Rowe, Ste. E-160.

Established in 1995, ReCon has experienced steady growth. The company provides quality, value-added services, to the refining, chemical, power, terminals and pipelines, pulp and

paper, construction and off-shore production industry.

ReCon’s engineers have completed projects across the United States, as well as multiple international projects. They maintain and support a full suite of engineering and design capabilities, including civil/structural, chemical/ process, mechanical/piping, electrical/ instrumentation, surveying/laser scanning, automation, process safety management (PSM), engineering/procurement/construction (EPC) and inspection.  With more than 600 employees, working on more than 750 projects per year, they maintain an approximate 98 percent customer retention rate.

ReCon’s main corporate office is in Sulphur, Louisiana, with additional offices in Beaumont, Texas; Pasadena, Texas; and Lake Charles, Louisiana. To inquire about ReCon services or to join their team, visit or call 888-301-4662.

Lakeside Bank Rated One of Nation’s Strongest Banks Again

The nation’s leading independent bank rating and research firm, BauerFinancial, Inc., has once again awarded Lakeside Bank their highest 5-Star rating. This recognition indicates Lakeside Bank is ranked as one of the strongest banks in the nation, with excellent performance in areas of capital adequacy, profitability, asset quality and much more. Lakeside has two locations in Lake Charles, as well as Sulphur and Moss Bluff, and was voted “Best Bank” in 2022 in the American Press People’s Choice Awards.

BauerFinancial has been reporting on and analyzing the performance of U.S. banks and credit unions with rigorous standards since

1983. No institution pays for its rating, nor can they elude it. Consumers may obtain a bank’s star-rating by visiting

For more information about Lakeside Bank, visit, or call (337) 474-3766.

Family & Youth Recognized at 2022 GOLD Awards

Family and Youth Counseling Agency (Family & Youth), was recognized at the 2022 Governor’s Outstanding Leadership in Disabilities (GOLD) Awards as the recipient of the “Service Provider of the Year” Award, which is given in recognition of service above and beyond the call of duty by an individual or organizational provider of services to people with disabilities.  The GOLD Awards, hosted by the Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs, is an opportunity for Louisiana to pay tribute to the achievements and dedication of individuals in the disability community.

Family & Youth, an award winning organization, was established as a nonprofit family serving organization in 1970. It is the mission of Family & Youth to provide affordable and professional support through programs and services dedicated to advocacy, counseling, and education for the people of Southwest Louisiana and in communities we are called to serve. It is the belief of Family & Youth that all individuals and communities possess the ability to solve their own challenges when support is available.

For more information about Family & Youth, visit, call (337) 436-9533, or like Family & Youth on Facebook.

36 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023


Due March 26, 2023


The scholarship application deadline for high school seniors applying for one of the Community Foundation scholarships is March 26, 2023.  These scholarships each have specific criteria for applicants and all information, including the online application, may be found at

• AMERISAFE Community Scholarship –

• Beauregard Parish and Vernon Parish High Schools

• Gwen Higgins English Scholarship –

• Lake Arthur High School

• Richard O. and Frances E. Boisture Scholarship -

• Jennings High School

Scholarships are made possible by generous donors, both individuals and businesses, who create funds at the Community Foundation and develop criteria for their scholarships. New scholarship funds are all endowed so that the principal is invested forever, and the income earned may be granted for scholarships.

Anyone interested in creating a scholarship fund may contact the Community Foundation at or call 337-491-6688.  Visit the scholarships and grants page of our website to learn more:

Places & Faces

Mid-City Neighborhood Transformation

Just Imagine SWLA Catalytic Project

Beginning in 2021, the Community Foundation SWLA facilitated the Just Imagine SWLA 50-year resilience master plan which includes 10 catalytic projects. Each project originated with ideas gathered through public meetings and input by residents of Southwest Louisiana. One of the main obstacles that reemerged throughout the process was the lack of affordable housing. The Mid-City Neighborhood Transformation Team hopes to create affordable housing and economic opportunity through the successful submission of a Choice Neighborhood Implementation grant, which was submitted just this past month

“We have transferred a dream to a detailed plan over the last year, and we are ecstatic about the results,” said Nicole Miller, Disaster Housing Recovery Program Manager for Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. “We have more than 20 agencies committed to the collaborative revitalization effort. With the grant now submitted, our dream team will prepare for an anticipated site visit in the spring and a final decision before the end of the year.” Mid-City transformation efforts include creating a more walkable, attractive neighborhood with housing opportunities for all incomes levels, vibrant shopping, unique restaurants and access to

Charles and another HRI downtown mixed-income development, Woodring Apartments, which is a 130-unit complex. The Banyan Foundation with the Council on Aging has also announced its plans for a proposed senior living community that will bring 120 units to the 6th Street area.

“Creating opportunities for safe and attainable housing for all residents, including seniors and families, is absolutely critical to our long-term recovery,” said Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter. “It has been many years since we have seen housing investments of this magnitude so evenly dispersed throughout the City. We are proud of the work being done with the

CELEBRATING INSURANCE CAREERS MONTH! START YOUR CAREER TODAY! #InsurancecareersMonth Driven by our understanding that success comes from the people who work for us, we encourage both personal and professional growth through continuous development opportunities.
is committed to taking care of our own. We provide full benefit packages, including: • Medical • Dental • Vision • 401k • Life Insurance • Wellness Initiatives • and more
in DeRidder, LA, AMERISAFE has been providing specialty workers’ compensation insurance for more than 30 years. Operating in 27 states, we serve small and mid-sized employers in high hazard industries like construction and trucking. a ccount I ng B enef I ts / hr /P ayroll c la IM s I nternal a ud I t I nfor M at I on t echnology I nvest M ents M arket I ng P re MI u M a ud I t r egulatory r I sk s erv I ces s afety s ales u nderwr I t I ng
why JoIn us?

Places & Faces | Black History Month

Each February, our country celebrates Black History Month as a way to recognize and honor the accomplishments and positive contributions of Black Americans to our nation and our communities. In this year’s special Black History Month section, Thrive shares a bit of Civil Rights history through six landmark Supreme Court rulings, celebrates the rich culture of Black Mardi Gras traditions, and spotlights several Black-owned businesses. 41 Our team is READY TO LEND (337) 474-3766 | Kala Kuhlthau | Twenda Hanson | Aimee Gilmore | Bryan Armentor Jonathan Boudreaux | Aaron LeBoeuf | Roy Raftery | Bobby Broussard VOTED BEST BANK! 2022 AMERICAN PRESS PEOPLE’S CHOICE OFSWLA AWARD

Places & Faces | Black History Month

If it Pleases the Court . . . Supreme Court decisions that have affected civil rights

On the front of the United States Supreme Court building, the inscription of “Equal Justice Under Law” promises justice to all “in theory.” Those words have often failed to hold true in practice. Over the centuries, the law of our land has swayed, reflecting the attitudes of society, as well as of the justices who’ve resided over the highest court in the land. In Civil Rights history, countless landmark cases have resulted in an evolution of thought, as well as in the establishment of groundbreaking changes.

During Black History Month, a brief overview of three paired landmark cases is presented here to highlight how the court has changed in approach to some specific civil rights issues.

The Civil Rights Case (1883) and Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States (1964)

In 1883, there were a group of five landmark cases in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution failed to empower Congress to outlaw racial discrimination by private individuals. During Reconstruction, Congress had passed the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which entitled everyone to access accommodation, public transport, and theaters, regardless of race or color. However, in a majority opinion, Associate Justice Joseph P. Bradley struck the act down, maintaining that the 13th Amendment merely abolished slavery, and along with the 14th Amendment, did not allow Congress to outlaw private acts of racial discrimination.

Justice John Marshall Harlan alone dissented, criticizing the Court’s extremely narrow interpretation of the amendments. “The opinion in these cases proceeds, as it seems to me, upon grounds entirely too narrow and artificial. The substance and spirit of the recent amendments of the constitution have been sacrificed by a subtle and ingenious verbal criticism.”

Nearly a century later, Congress approved the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned racial discrimination in public places. The Heart of Atlanta Motel, which had opened in 1956, had refused to rent rooms to African-American patrons. They took their case to court. As the petitioner, they lost when the high court used their decision to finally issue a permanent injunction requiring the motel to refrain from using any forms of racial discrimination. This historic case has since been subsequently cited almost 700 times in other court decisions.

42 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

This famous. “separate but equal” case from 1896 ruled that racial segregation laws did not violate the U.S. Constitution, as long as the facilities were considered to be equal in quality. Following Reconstruction, that decision only served to legitimize many state laws, like those in Louisiana, that had re-established overt racial discrimination in many places. Homer Plessy, a man of mixed race, had attempted to board a “whites only” car on a New Orleans train in the late 19th century. Following his arrest, his lawyers argued that Louisiana law implied that black people were inferior. The “blacks only” car, where Plessy was ordered to sit, was indeed separate, but hardly equal. Following all appeals, the high court held against Plessy.

Once again, Justice Harlan, the lone dissenter, argued that the U.S. Constitution

has never been explicitly overruled. However, in 1954, the decision in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka finally established that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, even if the segregated facilities were deemed otherwise “equal” in quality.

Loving v. Virginia (1967) and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)

This 1967 landmark decision ruled that laws banning interracial marriage directly violated the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Mildred Loving, a “woman of color,” and her white husband Richard, had been sentenced to a year of imprisonment for marrying one another. The charges stemmed from the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 in Virginia, which criminalized marriage between “whites and coloreds.” In their 1967 appeal to the Supreme Court, the high

decision was later cited in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, resulting in a guarantee that gender-based marriage restrictions would also be considered unconstitutional. The fundamental right to marriage by same-sex couples was established in a 5-4 ruling that now requires all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories to perform and recognize these marriages, with all the accompanying rights and responsibilities.

These are only brief thumbnail sketches of six paired civil rights decisions in the high court’s long and contentious history. The term “civil rights” has generally been attached to various cases, but there remains no single inclusive definition. However, it is commonly accepted that civil rights cases are those that challenge some form of discrimination against a group of people that has been historically oppressed or politically disempowered.

FIGHTING for JUSTICE 1740 Ryan St, Lake Charles Family Law Personal Injury Civil Litigation Criminal Defense
Micah O. Clemons Todd S. Clemons

Places & Faces | Black History Month

Black-Owned Businesses

Make a Positive Impact on our Community

According to the most recent census data, there are over two million Black-owned businesses in the United States. Women represent 35% of Black-owned businesses, compared to just 27% of female-business owners of other racial identities. As we celebrate Black History Month, we spotlight here a variety of local Blackowned businesses and honor their contributions to our community and the regional economy.

The Guillory-August Allstate Agency

Tuwanna Guillory-August worked in an Allstate office as a Top Sales Producer for 13 years before she found the courage to step out on faith and open her own agency. “December 2, 2019 was the day I became a local small business owner,” she says.

Working in insurance helped Guillory-August realize how essential insurance is to families. “When the wife is in a car accident, or when the husband buys a new ‘big boy toy’ (ie. golf cart, four-wheeler, side by side), or when they welcome a new baby into the family and need life insurance, I’m the person they trust to make sure they have the right coverage.”

Insurance is vital to protect a client and their property. “When an accident or something as tragic as a natural disaster occurs, that’s when a customer is most vulnerable and needs us. I’ve been told numerous times that the genuine care and compassion from my agency has been unmatched.”

Guillory-August says she’s a local girl who stayed in Lake Charles and opened a business that contributes to the local economy. “When you support my agency, you also assist other local people. From team sponsorships to student scholarships to lending a helping hand every time we’re needed, we are proud to be active members in our community!”

Located at 1700 E Prien Lake Rd, 337-305-7676

Todd C. Clemons, attorney and founder of Todd Clemons and Associates, is encouraged by the rise of black-owned businesses, an increase of 31% between 2017-2022 according to Forbes. “This country was built on entrepreneurs,” he says. “Entrepreneurship brings an opportunity to build wealth, to be a leader, and be a positive example for others.”

Clemons says supporting black-owned businesses is important. “Every business owner should strive to offer a quality product or service. By supporting businesses that are wellrun, we encourage a higher standard.”

“In all I do, I strive to exhibit good character and be an example for those around me. It’s important to reach back and help those who are coming behind us,” Clemons says. He feels Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments that African American individuals have achieved throughout the years.

Clemons founded his law firm in 2007 to provide zealous representation for clients. He and his team have represented over 1,500 clients in the 15 years of the firm. Their services include criminal defense, civil litigation, personal injury and family law.

For more information, visit

Health Systems 2000

In 1994, Lisa Walker founded her business, Health Systems 2000 – the parent organization of Home Health Care 2000, Personal Care Services 2000, the 2000 Health Foundation, and the newly opened Golden Doors Event Center. She and her team have provided professional healthcare services for over 27 years.

Walker says Home Health Care 2000 is a one-stop-shop for all your home care needs. “We offer a variety of services that allow you or your loved one to live a better life at home.” Their services include Non-Skilled Services, Behavioral Health, Fall Prevention, Diabetes Management, Congestive Heart Failure Protocol, and Wound Care. They employ RNs and LPNs; licensed physical therapists and PT assistants; certified occupational therapists; licensed speech therapists; and social workers. Personal Care Services 2000 provides non-skilled personal care assistants. These businesses serve clients across much of Louisiana, from Lake Charles, to Alexandria, and east to New Orleans.

Recently, as part of Southwest Louisiana’s revitalization, Walker opened the Golden Doors Event Center at 2013 Oak Park Blvd, Lake Charles. “It is our pleasure to enhance all your special and intimate events with professionally trained and experienced staff,” Walker says.

Health Systems 2000 is headquartered at 1901 Oak Park Blvd, Lake Charles. For more information, call 337-439-5444.

44 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023
Todd Clemons and Associates Tuwanna Guillory-August Todd Clemons Lisa Walker

Lil Mama’s Spot

D’Andrea Arceneaux always wanted to own a business, but she never dreamed it would be a restaurant. She baby-stepped into becoming an entrepreneur by making pralines and selling them at the Cash & Carry Farmers Market. In 2018, she and her husband, Joshua, opened the original Lil Mama’s Spot on Simmons St. in North Lake Charles, and they did very well there selling southern-influenced home-cooked meals.

The Arceneauxs opened their current location on Common St. in 2021. “It’s comfort food,” Arceneaux says. “Meatballs, rice and gravy; hand-pattied, well-seasoned burgers; gumbo; seafood dishes on Fridays. We take our time and take pride in everything we do.”

Joshua’s mother, Edna Arceneaux, was an integral part of the business prior to her passing in 2022. She served as their cook when they first opened. D’Andrea says, “I come from a family of good cooks, but I’d never cooked large quantities. My mother-inlaw had worked in cafeterias and had done catering. She taught me how to cook for a crowd. She is the inspiration for much of what we do.”

Now both D’Andrea and Joshua cook. She says her husband has a passion for cooking and is especially good with the seasonings. But generally, he works the front house and she works the back. “We’re a team,” she says.

3710 Common St., Lake Charles. 337-602-6095

Cruise Planners

Tina Higgins opened her travel agency in 2016. It’s an online business and she works from home, “or anywhere I have an internet connection,” she adds. Higgins retired early from an IT position, but knew she’d need something to do in her spare time. She started looking for business franchise opportunities. Cruise Planners franchise popped up in her search. “After much research, I realized this was it,” Higgins says. “We have the best support staff and cutting-edge technology, which make the job easy.”

Higgins dispels the misconception that travel agencies charge for their services. “Some agencies may charge small fees, but most do not. We are paid commission from travel vendors. Whether you want to enjoy a short cruise out of New Orleans, travel to Europe, or experience an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean, an agent can research options for you, do the legwork, book the trip, send you travel documents, and support you while you are traveling for the same price it would cost to plan the trip yourself. Plus, the agent probably has access to deals otherwise not available to the public. Agents can usually save you money!”

For travel information or to book a vacation, call Cruise Planners / Destinations by Tina at 337-4057650. “I am your advocate throughout the entire travel experience.” 45 travel the world Caribbean • Mexico • Alaska Europe • Asia • Australia South America • and more! CALL TODAY FOR THE BEST VACATION PACKAGES AVAILABLE AND ASK FOR SPECIAL RATES! #TSL86093•#TSC05-8644302•#TSH8507-RAT•#TSAW405-993-306F ani.PsniggiHT yruxulevarTtsilaicepSL 3 0567-504-73 | 8 4297-302-55 moc.aniTyBsnoitanitseD.www MOC.SRENNALPESIURC@SNIGGIH.ANIT ANITYBSNOITANITSED/MOC.KOOBECAF
D'Andrea & Joshua Arceneaux Tina Higgins

Celebrating Black Mardi Gras Imperial Calcasieu Museum Hosts Exhibit

The best part of ringing in a New Year is knowing that Mardi Gras is just around the corner. As we enjoy our king cakes and chicken runs, it’s important to remember the origins of these traditions. Mardi Gras would not be as rich without the influence of Black and Brown communities. This Mardi Gras season, the Imperial Calcasieu Museum spotlights the Black history of Mardi Gras through a fascinating exhibit.

The history of Mardi Gras contains many painful moments but also elements of joy and celebration. Some of these ugly moments include the prevalence of blackface and segregation. New Orleans krewes were not officially desegregated until 1992. But there are also moments of beauty. The celebration of Mardi Gras gave Black people a time of the year that would consistently be filled with celebration and community. For everyone, Mardi Gras is a time to let loose, pass down traditions, and eat well.

One visible difference in Black Mardi Gras garb stems from a 1785 decree from the Spanish Governor Esteban Rodriguez Miró. To prevent white men from being enticed by the beautiful Black Mardi Gras revelers, he ordered Black women

to wear headscarves to imply inferiority and dampen their beauty. In an act of resistance, these women wore bright, colorful headscarves instead of drab, ordinary ones. Their boldness became a tradition, with many Black Mardi Gras celebrants wearing vibrant headscarves today.

Many Black Mardi Gras traditions come from this same sense of resistance and resilience. The distinctive style of Black Mardi Gras comes from Black revelers feeling unwelcome or even being forbidden from attending the larger scaled Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. Rather than accepting their banishment, Black celebrants created their own parades. This allowed them to form their own music, dance, parade, costume, and performance traditions; for example, the Krewe of Zulu tradition of handing out decorated coconuts. This began in around 1910 and has become one of the most coveted parade tosses to date.

Black Mardi Gras traditions also come from a relationship of solidarity dating back to the 1800s. When enslaved peoples attempted to escape their bondage, they would rely on Native American tribes to hide them from slave catchers.

46 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023
Faces | Black History Month

To honor Native Americans for their help, many Black krewes today wear Native American masks. Beyond helping them escape slavery, these two communities have continued their relationship with a long history of intermarriage and mingling of traditions.

These traditions continue to thrive in 2023. Today, there are more Black Krewes than ever before who wear elaborate costumes and participate in parades. Southwest Louisiana is home to the Krewe Chetu Jadi, Krewe of Zulu, La Krewe Des Gens Extraordinaire, Krewe Gumbo YaYa, Krewe Classique, Krewe of Omega, and Krewe Des Ouvert D’Spirit. These krewes and many others celebrate the distinct traditions of Black Mardi Gras and help pass them down to future generations.

The Black History of Mardi Gras Exhibit will be on display through March 4, 2023. Experience intricate costumes, memorabilia and photographs, and histories of our Louisiana Krewes. This elaborate display is on loan from numerous SWLA and New Orleans Krewe collections and the Imperial Calcasieu Mardi Gras Museum. 204 W Sallier St., Lake Charles. Rachel Baldwin is the Assistant to the Director at Calcasieu Imperial Museum.

Providing clients with a wide range of accounting, tax and financial management services tailored to meet today’s challenging times.

Providing clients with a wide range of accounting, tax and financial management services tailored to meet today’s challenging times.

Providing clients with a wide range of accounting, tax and financial management services tailored to meet today’s challenging times.

Providing clients with a wide range of accounting, tax and financial management services tailored to meet today’s challenging times.

Providing clients with a wide range of accounting, tax and financial management

Providing clients with a wide range of accounting, tax and financial management services tailored to meet today’s challenging times.

Providing clients with a wide range of accounting, tax and financial management services tailored to meet today’s challenging times. 47 7670 Woodway Suite 208 | Houston, Texas 77063 LOUISIANA • TEXAS • MISSISSIPPI
7670 Woodway Suite 208 | Houston, Texas 77063 LOUISIANA • TEXAS • MISSISSIPPI
services tailored to meet today’s challenging times.
7670 Woodway Suite 208 | Houston, Texas 77063 LOUISIANA • TEXAS • MISSISSIPPI
7670 Woodway Suite 208 | Houston, Texas 77063
Auditing Tax Advisory
7670 Woodway Suite 208 | Houston, Texas 77063 LOUISIANA • TEXAS • MISSISSIPPI
7670 Woodway Suite 208 | Houston, Texas 77063 LOUISIANA • TEXAS • MISSISSIPPI c o m Providing clients with a wide range of accounting, tax and financial management services tailored to meet today’s challenging times. Accounting Auditing Tax Advisory 2740 Rue De Jardin Ste 100 Lake Charles, LA 70605
7670 Woodway Suite 208 | Houston, Texas 77063 LOUISIANA • TEXAS • MISSISSIPPI 2 8 1 8 9 6 0 2 2 6 • w w w b t c p a s c o m
7670 Woodway Suite 208 | Houston, Texas 77063 LOUISIANA • TEXAS • MISSISSIPPI
with a
of accounting, tax and financial management services
to meet today’s
range of accounting, tax and financial management services
to meet today’s
times. 7670 Woodway Suite 208 | Houston, Texas 77063 LOUISIANA • TEXAS • MISSISSIPPI 2 8 1 8 9 6 0 2 2 6 • w w w b t c p a s c o m
financial management
Providing clients with a wide range of accounting, tax and financial management services tailored to meet today’s challenging times.
Providing clients
wide range
Providing clients with
Providing clients with a wide range
accounting, tax and
services tailored
challenging times. • Accounting
• Auditing
• Tax
2740 Rue De Jardin Ste 100 Lake Charles, LA 70605 337.478.7902 |
• Advisory
Mardi Gras season – Louisiana’s most celebrated time of year! This year’s Guide provides all the information you need to know, from the history of rural Mardi Gras traditions and what to wear to a ball, to where to find the parties and parades. We’ve also included a First Person interview with someone who knows Mardi Gras well and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Mardi Gras events.
Laissez le bon temps
Revelry & Mayhem Places

Beads, king cake, glittering costumes, and parades . . . the Mardi Gras season in Southwest Louisiana continues with activities and traditional celebrations through Fat Tuesday on February 21.

2023 Mardi Gras Event Schedule

A new event for this season is the "Taste of Mardi Gras Cocktail Party" to be held

Wednesday, February 15th, 6– 9 p.m. inside the Contraband Room at the Lake Charles Civic Center. -Tickets are $30 per person and can be ordered by calling either 337-244-1466 or 337-488-4827.

Lake Charles

Thursday, February 16 th

Mardi Gras Lighted Boat Parade, 7 p.m.

Friday, February 17 th

Merchants’ Parade, 7 p.m. down Ryan Street

Saturday, February 18 th

Mardi Gras Gumbo Cookoff, 8 a.m.–2 p.m.

Mardi Gras Children’s Stroll, 11 a.m. – noon Krewe of Omega Parade, 2 p.m.

Sunday, February 19 th

Children’s Day activities at the Lake Charles Civic Center, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., with the first hour being sensory awareness time.

Children’s Parade, 3:30 p.m.

Monday, February 20 th

Royal Gala – See regal displays of kings, queens, and courts from the area’s rich array of Mardi Gras Krewes. Lake Charles Civic Center at 7 p.m. Tickets $10 with children five and under admitted free of charge

Tuesday, February 21 th

Mardi Gras Day

Second Line Stroll Walking Parade, 1 p.m. Jeeps on Parade, 2:00 p.m.

Motor Gras Parade, 3:00 p.m.

Main Event (Krewe of Krewes Parade) 5:00 p.m. The Zone is a family-oriented, alcohol and tobacco free area for families to enjoy on Fat Tuesday in the parking lot between Pujo and Kirby Streets from 11:30 a.m. –3:30 p.m. complete with games, a live DJ, and refreshments.


Saturday, February 18 th

The Krewe of Cosmos: 72nd annual Mardi Gras pageant and presentation or the 2023 Royal Court of Route 66. Krewe of Cosmos is the oldest krewe in Southwest Louisiana and has entertained the community, free of charge, since 1951. This year, an exciting trip is in store for all as “Cosmos Travels Route 66.” Festivities include live entertainment by the Krewe Jesters, throwing of beads by Merry Makers.

-Sulphur High School auditorium, 6 p.m.


Saturday, February 18 th

Iowa Chicken Run, Mardi Gras Day: Doors open at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 503 E Hwy 90, at 8 a.m. followed by the parade line up at 9 a.m. and the parade rolling at 10 a.m. Following the parade, gumbo will be served from 2–4 p.m. with music provided by Rusty Metoyer & the Zydeco Krush at 5 p.m.


Saturday, February 11 th

Chicken Run and Trail Ride: Line up at 7 a.m. at Ted Lyon’s ballfield. Ride begins at 8 a.m. Admission $15, ages 10 and under free. The Mardi Gras parade begins at 1p.m., starting at Vinton Middle School and running South down Horridge Street

For more information on these events, parade routes, additional Mardi Gras activities throughout Southwest Louisiana, and parade entry forms, log onto

Jeff Davis Parish

Saturday, February 4 th

Welsh Mardi Gras Run & Parade: Downtown Welsh, Music begins 12 p.m., Parade rolls 3:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 11 th

Lake Arthur Mardi Gras & Parade: 9 a.m. Run begins from Lake Arthur Park, 2:30 p.m., Parade rolls down Arthur Ave.

Saturday, February 18 th

Jennings Mardi Gras Festival: Founders Park, 11 a.m.

Saturday, February 18 th

Elton Mardi Gras: The Stable, Parade & Entertainment to follow, 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 18 th

Jennings Festival Association Annual Squeezebox Shootout: Founders Park on Main Street, 10 a.m.

Sunday, February 19 th

Hathaway Grand Marais Mardi Gras Run

Beauregard Parish

Saturday, February 11 th

Women’s League of DeRidder Mardi Gras

Gala: Beauregard Parish Fair Grounds, 6 p.m.

Saturday, February 18 th

Louisiana Saturday Night Mardi Gras

Parade: DeRidder 5 p.m.

Saturday, February 18 th

Taste of Beauregard Battle for the Paddle

Gumbo CookOff: Outdoor Pavillion at Beaurgeard Parish Fairgrounds, 8 a.m.–2 p.m. 49

Countryside Courirs

a Cajun Tradition

The sights and sounds of a Mardi Gras celebration on city streets are something special – that can’t be denied. The pageantry and extravagance makes for a beautiful display of royalty and revelry. But one could argue that you haven’t experienced a true Fat Tuesday until you’ve done it in Cajun country.

A Courir de Mardi Gras – translated Running of Mardi Gras – is a traditional celebration of Mardi Gras that dates back to medieval France, but more on that later. It is steeped in ritual, from the events of the day down to the threads in the costumes. The main components of a Courir de Mardi Gras embody all that most know and love about the Cajun culture – faith, family, food and music.

While celebrated throughout the South by nearly everyone, Mardi Gras is considered a religious holiday. It is celebrated in the Catholic faith as the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. During Lent Catholics fast and focus

boards and capuchins all aim to ridicule the rich, educated and aristocratic French. It’s also why most runners will disguise their voice while begging and teasing spectators. They pray, sing, horse play and dance with women, men and children alike to persuade the home owner to give them anything

Places & Faces | Mardi Gras Guide
story and photos by Taylor Trahan Henry

At the end of the day, the men gather with the community and their families, usually at a church hall or the home of a community member and cook up a gumbo. There is food and a good time to be had by all at the fais do-do. Don’t be surprised to find people of all ages, from babies to grandparents. It is a family affair! 51

Time to Sparkle!

Places & Faces | Mardi Gras Guide

gown is almost important as the dress itself. Spanx is your best friend, and there are plenty

time to think about accessories. You may love women solve this problem by bringing a pair of comfy flats with them. When your feet start

Glitter spray makes your arms and decollete’ sparkle. You can also use it on your hair. Don’t be afraid of false eyelashes, flashy nails and exaggerated eye makeup. It’s your night to

Opera-length gloves that coordinate with 53 Call to schedule a hair extension consultation today with one of our experts! 803 West McNeese Street Lake Charles, LA 70605 ww 337.478.4433 Voted BEST SALON in SWLA! ad photography by: Kristen Soileau ad hair by: Lensi White

Places & Faces | Mardi Gras Guide

Growing up in Lake Charles, Katie Harrington loved to read, play outside with her dogs, and spend time with her family, often at baseball fields where her brother played and her dad coached. During Mardi Gras seasons, she recalls attending parades, but her most vivid memories are of her parents getting dressed to go to their krewe’s costume balls. “I remember thinking it was pretty neat that they got to dress up and it wasn’t even Halloween!” Katie says. She couldn’t have known then that decades later, she’d have an integral, behind-the-scenes role in making the Mardi Gras magic happen for the Southwest Louisiana community. As Lake Charles’ Public Information Officer, Katie helps to coordinate the intricate details of parade routes and other Mardi Gras events.

Over the years, Katie has received numerous awards and recognitions for her efforts. She’s won a 2013 CVB Partner in Tourism Award as a member of the American Idol (Josh Ledet) Super Committee and a 2015 CVB Partner in Tourism Award for Mardi Gras of Southwest Louisiana. She was chosen as a 2016 magazine Thriving 30 Something. She holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society. And in 2019, she was named Mardi Gras of Southwest Louisiana

Meanwhile, Katie is a fitness enthusiast and works out six days a week. She’s always learning, living life one day at a time. And she’s Mom to daughters Ariel (21) and Kadence (17), and Toby, Thrive magazine caught up with Katie, and she shared details of her career, motherhood, and recently being crowned the 2023 Queen of the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu and City of Lake Charles Twelfth Night

first person

Katie Harrington Public Information Officer, City of Lake Charles by Angie Kay Dilmore

You’ve worked in public relations for 20 years. Describe your career path.

I majored in Mass Communication at McNeese State University and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2004. I worked as an intern at O’Carroll Group in 2003 and stayed on there after graduation. After a stint in medical practice marketing, I served as the public relations manager at Lake Charles/SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau, now known as Visit Lake Charles. From there, I moved to Healthy Image Marketing. In addition to other job responsibilities there, I spent several years as the assistant editor of Thrive magazine! In 2015, I was hired by the City of Lake Charles as a Project Specialist, overseeing the City’s website and digital media. Three years later, I transitioned to the role of Public Information Officer (PIO).

As PIO, you wear a lot of hats. Give us a glimpse into a typical day. I respond to media inquiries and distribute information on City services to the public. I serve in countless other roles that pop up throughout the day. I help coordinate the City’s Emergency Response Plan, manage the website and social media, oversee our Printing Services Division, and coordinate the Mayor’s Youth Partnership initiative for the City. I write press releases, design graphics, attend meetings and media events, often with camera in hand, shooting and editing video and photos. Every day is something new. That’s what keeps this career fun and challenging for me.

Mardi Gras season is especially hectic for you. Give us a behind-thescenes peek.

My first foray into Mardi Gras was while with the CVB. I worked with travel writers and bloggers on producing positive media stories about SWLA. Mardi Gras was a prime opportunity to showcase our area, especially as a family-friendly destination. To better facilitate the activities of these writers while they were in town, I joined the Mardi Gras of Southwest Louisiana Board of Directors, serving from 2007 through 2022, most of those years on the Executive Board. I’ve basically worked behind the scenes at every Mardi Gras of SWLA event, including parades, Children’s Day, Queen’s Pageant, Twelfth Night, the Royal Gala, and I chaired the Gumbo Cook-Off for ten years.

When I joined the City of Lake Charles in 2015, in addition to my volunteer role on the board, I also became a liaison between the board and City staff to assist with coordinating Mardi Gras. I still do this, but not only with Mardi Gras. I have become a guru on special events and it is really one of my favorite parts of my job.

In my role as the City’s PIO, I’m a small part of an integral group that includes the City Police, Public Works, the Marshal and Sheriff’s offices, and others. We work nearly year-around to coordinate a myriad of details such as security for all Mardi Gras parades. We look at Mardi Gras season in its entirety, from January 6 through midnight on Mardi Gras Day, and work with all organizers to ensure their events take place in a safe and fun environment, and that we can efficiently restore the City to its pre-parade state following each event. Many may not know, but there are thousands of barricades placed on parade routes, all by either a city employee or member of law enforcement. Every barricade must be accounted for and picked back up. The task of assigning officers to every intersection is huge and then the clean-up efforts afterwards are another logistical work of art. When the parades start rolling, you might spot me on a parade route with LCPD, monitoring the parade’s progress, looking for areas of possible improvement, such as additional barricades, and capturing photos of the smiling faces of parade-goers and our personnel working the events.

What sets SWLA Mardi Gras apart from other Louisiana celebrations?

Traditionally considered the second-largest Mardi Gras in the state, over the past five to ten years, the size and scope of SWLA’s Mardi Gras has grown. It is a celebration for everyone, and the diversity and number of events held each year illustrate the commitment of the people of our region to that idea. Each year we see new event organizers come forward, new krewes form, and larger crowds than the year before. I believe our family-friendly Mardi Gras sets us apart. People want to enjoy the cultural celebration, but they want to do so in an environment that is not quite as large or raucous as a New Orleans-style celebration.

The City of Lake Charles Twelfth Night Royal Court is something new. Yes, this Court was formed by Anne Monlezun and the Mardi Gras Museum’s Board of Directors in 2021 as a way to keep the essence of Mardi Gras alive during the period of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and longterm hurricane recovery efforts. Its goal is to recognize members of the community who have made significant contributions to promoting and preserving the spirit of Mardi Gras in Southwest Louisiana. I’m still not certain that I’m worthy of the recognition, however, I’m honored.

What are your thoughts on parenthood as you near the “empty nest” stage?

It’s bittersweet to realize they have grown up so quickly, but I often say that every part of raising my girls has been the best part. I have found joy through each stage, even in the midst of chaos. No matter how successful I become, my most important title will always be Mom. As my actions speak louder than words, I pray they have witnessed my hard work put in over the years and understand it’s all been for them. I’m proud of the genuinely kind, strong, independent women they’ve become. I’m excited for the future and cannot wait to be their biggest cheerleader through their next chapters.

Dare I ask . . . spare time?

Not much. I do try to make the best of what I have. I love to travel and get away for long weekend trips when time allows. A nice getaway for me is somewhere quiet and walkable, allowing time to just slow down and enjoy the moment. A good meal along the way never hurts. In the last couple of years, I’ve had the opportunity to attend my first NBA and NFL games, which I really enjoyed and hope to do again.

What’s next for Katie Harrington?

Life has a way of taking us in directions we never dream of. I believe that if we trust in the bigger picture, we end up where we’re supposed to be and surrounded by the people we’re meant to be with. My dad encouraged me to put my faith in God. His will, His plan, His timing. There are days I need to repeat that to myself, but I’ve never been let down. Even if doesn’t work out exactly how I wanted or planned, it always works out for the best. 55
Queen of the City's Twelfth Night Mardi Gras celebration

LCMHS Announces

Chief Strategy Officer

Lake Charles Memorial Health System is pleased to announce the promotion of Jason Rashall as Chief Strategy Officer. Rashall has served LCMHS since 2013, most recently as Executive Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, and has over 25 years of experience working in the healthcare arena.

In recent years, Rashall’s strategic efforts have been instrumental in producing substantial new business growth for LCMHS, and strengthening / connecting provider affiliations across southwest Louisiana.

As Chief Strategy Officer for the region’s largest community healthcare system, Rashall will oversee various business development, payer contracting strategies, and other initiatives to better align healthcare services and patient accessibility for the Southwest Louisiana community.

Shana Scales Joins

Lake Charles Memorial Health Systems

Lake Charles Memorial Health System names

Shana Scales as the next Vice President of Human Resources.

Scales brings over 15 years of progressive human resource leadership and management experience to Memorial. She recently served as the Head of Total Rewards/Shared Services for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Prior to that, she was the Director of Compensation-HRIS at Regional One Health and held various key human resource roles at Baptist Memorial Health System in Memphis, Tennessee, respectively.

Movers and Shakers in Southwest Louisiana...

Scales holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and has earned dual Master degrees in Human Resources Management and Business Administration, both from Webster University in St. Louis, MO.

Shana will be relocating to Lake Charles from Bryant, AR, and will assume her new role on February 6, 2023.

WCCH Names Tran Chief Quality & Compliance Officer West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital (WCCH) is pleased to announce that Thea A. Tran, BSN, MBA, CPHQ, CPHRM, CPPS, has been named Chief Quality & Compliance Officer.  In her role, Tran will work closely with hospital management, physicians, and employees to develop and manage organization-wide plans and programs for the ongoing evaluation and assessment of quality, safety and customer satisfaction. She will also continue to manage all risk management, compliance, section 1557 and ethics programming adherence and development.

Sarita Scheufens Named President And Chief Executive Officer; Jerry Pierrottie Named Chief Operating Officer

The Safety Council of Southwest Louisiana (SCSWLA) is pleased to announce two promotions among their executive team for 2023. The Board of Directors has named Sarita Scheufens President and Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2023. Originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, Scheufens has been the CEO of the Safety Council since 2018. The promotion to President and CEO recognizes the innovations and contributions she’s made during her time at the helm, including transitioning the Safety Council into a one-stop-shop for all onboarding and PSM site-required prerequisites. Other changes include advanced training techniques to improve learning retention and a better user experience.

SCSWLA is also happy to announce the promotion of Jerry Pierrottie to the position of Chief Operating Officer. Also, a Lake Charles native, Pierrottie has been performing in the role of Director of Operations to date. In his new role, he will continue to report to the President and CEO and will be responsible for all the day-to-day operational functions of the business, including an impending building construction and consolidation move to Sulphur, Louisiana.

Tran brings over 20 years of healthcare management experience to her new role. She began her nursing career as a registered nurse in 1997 and has since successfully served in various leadership roles during her career.

Tran holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Business Administration from McNeese State University.  Additional competencies and certifications include: Six Sigma Green Belt, Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) and Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM) and Certified Professional in Patient Safety (CPPS).

Autism Services of Southwest Louisiana and Direct Care Inc.

Appoint Executive Director

The Board of Directors of Autism Services of Southwest Louisiana (ASSL) and Direct Care, Inc. is pleased to announce Melissa M. Griffin as Executive Director.

56 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023
Jerry Pierrottie Sarita Scheufens
Who’s News? You tell us! Send press releases to
Jason Rashall Thea A. Tran Melissa M. Griffin
Places & Faces
Shana Scales

Melissa has served as the Financial Manager and Director of Operations for ASSL and Direct Care, Inc. since the summer of 2021 and has demonstrated a true passion for serving our clients. She is a graduate of McNeese State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management. She has over fourteen years of experience in management, accounting, logistics, human resources, and team leadership. Prior to ASSL, Melissa served as the Hospital Distribution Manager at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for six years.

Melissa’s husband, Zachary Griffin, is a 20-year veteran of the National Guard, volunteer firefighter, and works in administration for security in Hackberry, LA. Together, they have five children, and their family resides in their native town of DeQuincy.

CSE Federal Credit Union Announces New Chief Operations Officer

CSE Federal Credit Union (CSE) is pleased to announce the selection of John Lennox as the credit union’s new Chief Operations Officer, as current Chief Operations Officer (COO), Bonnie McDonald, plans to retire in 2023.  Koch also spoke highly of outgoing COO, Bonnie McDonald.

McDonald has served CSE for over four decades, and as COO since 2008. She has been one of the driving forces behind the organization’s success. Regarding her time with CSE and upcoming retirement, McDonald says “I’m proud and honored to have been given the prestigious responsibility of guiding this organization’s operations team for many years and helping CSE grow into the wonderful credit union it is today. I’m excited about John becoming our new COO and leading the team into the future. I wish him great success.”

Lennox graduated from McNeese State University in Business Management. He is involved in the local Southwest Louisiana community with volunteer efforts and supports non-profit organizations. Lennox will bring plenty of value to CSE as he has experience of setting market goals with a value on service and project management, along with expertise in the financial industry.

Rock Hardy Celebrates 50 Years in Outdoor Advertising

AdSource Outdoors, the fastest growing billboard provider in Southwest Louisiana, congratulates Henry “Rock” Hardy for 50 years in outdoor and digital advertising.

Rock began his career following attendance at University of Louisiana in Lafayette working primarily in the Lafayette and Houma areas. While working in Acadiana Parish, he owned and operated Hardy Outdoor of Acadiana as well as Hardy Outdoor of Lake Charles which included 8-sheet junior billboards. Rock joined AdSource Outdoor in 2007, as Account Executive, bringing extensive knowledge in poster, bulletin, and digital billboard advertising. AdSource Outdoor continues to grow with over 250 billboards in the Lake Charles and Baton Rouge areas, making it the largest independent billboard company in Louisiana.

Rock resides in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and enjoys fishing, deer and turkey hunting, and golfing with friends. He is very involved in the SWLA community and strives to make it a better place to live and raise your family. 57
Henry “Rock” Hardy
Two Years Through 12th Grade Now Enrolling 337-433-5246 EDS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, or gender in admission of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs and athletic and other school administered programs. Bishop Noland Episcopal Day School provides academic excellence to a diverse student body in a Christian environment. NORTH CAMPUS Two Year Olds - 6th Grade 803 N. Division Street Lake Charles SOUTH CAMPUS 7 th to 12 th Grade 5665 N. Gray Market Drive Lake Charles
Bonnie McDonald John Lennox

Home & Family

The Season of Love

Valentine’s Day

How do you plan on spending Valentine’s Day this year? Dining out is a popular date option for Valentine’s Day. And what better part of the country to live in than Southwest Louisiana for an abundance of restaurant options! What about Valentine’s Day gift giving? In this special Valentine’s Day section, we offer some interesting gift ideas, feature Navarra’s Jewelry and Gifts (they are quite busy this time of year!), and announce an exciting opportunity for engaged couples in SWLA! Read on for more information.

58 Thrive Magazine
Better Living • February 2023
1025 Ryan St. • Lake Charles, LA • (337) 433-3637 Serving Your Family For Over

Family Works


Navarra’s Jewelry and Gifts opened for business in 1962 when Sammy Navarra opened a full-service jewelry store. His son, Tommy Navarra, says he was fortunate to grow up in the business and work part time there through high school and college. "Upon graduating from Louisiana State University, I attended the Gemological Institute of America and received a Graduate Gemologist degree in 1983. I worked with my father for 10 years and gained valuable knowledge before he passed away in 1993.”

Navarra’s Jewelry and Gifts remains a family business. Tommy is the president and owner of Navarra’s. He is involved in selecting jewelry inventory, sales, and administrative decision making. His wife, Pam, graduated from McNeese State University with a degree in Business Education and started working at Navarra’s 23 years ago. She serves in many facets of the business, including administrative, gift items purchasing, and sales.

Their daughter, Melissa Edwards, has worked with them for six years. After she graduated from Louisiana State University, she also received the Graduate Gemologist degree from the Gemological Institute of America. She specializes in Gemvision jewelry design and computerized engraving along with sales.

Navarra’s has long been known as a premier place to shop for Valentine’s gifts, especially diamond engagement rings. Tommy says engagement rings and wedding bands are a very important part of their business. “When we sell an engagement ring to a couple, we begin a relationship that can last for generations. Trends change throughout the years, but diamonds are still the most desired stone. White gold has been the most popular choice, but yellow gold is becoming increasingly desired. Customers prefer engagement rings with diamonds in the mounting, but solitaires are still desired.”

For many years, diamonds were only available from the earth’s crust and formed over millions of years by heat and pressure. Tommy says that with technology today, man can now create diamonds in laboratories. “It is an amazing process that makes a diamond purchase possible for a customer who may not have the budget for a mined diamond.”Diamond and colored stone bands to go with an engagement ring have also become popular. Multiple bands are called “stackables” and are being worn more often. Navarrra’s also carries a wide range of Mardi Gras gift items.

Tommy says Navarra’s is proud to have served Southwest Louisiana for over 60 years. “Our customers, employees, and former employees are a part of our extended family. I would like Navarra’s to be remembered for its dedication to quality and service to our customers.” 59
Navarra’s Jewelry and Gifts is located at 1025 Ryan St., Lake Charles.

Taking the Guesswork out of

Valentine’s Day Gifting

According to the National Retail Federation, in 2022, Americans spent $23.9 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts for partners, friends, pets and more. This marked the second highest year on record with spending coming in at $175.41 per person on gifts for the love-filled holiday. Candy, greeting cards and flowers, of course, are amongst the top gifts purchased each year.

Locally owned small businesses are gearing up with sweet treats and unique gift offerings ahead of this year’s holiday. Take care of everyone on your Valentine’s Day gift list with these unique ideas.


When it comes to Valentine’s Day gift-giving, flowers are traditionally listed as one of the most popular gifts. Lilies, carnations, tulips and, of course, roses, rank amongst the most popular choices.

Local florists like Wendi’s Flower Cart in Lake Charles are planning ahead and encouraging giftgivers to get their orders in early to ensure their selection of the freshest of flowers.

If your cabinets are filled to the brim with old vases and you’d like to recycle them, George’s House of Flowers in Sulphur suggests the perfect opportunity to take them off your hands. The shop offers a discount toward your flower order as a reward for recycling your old vases. Simply bring them by the shop when you are ready to place your Valentine’s Day order.

Many local florists offer online ordering so log in to your go-to shop’s website, make your selection and place your order now to guarantee your special delivery on Valentine’s Day.

Home & Family | Valentine’s Day

Candy & other Sweet Treats

Candy, cookies, cakes and other treats, oh my! The list is endless when it comes to options for sweet treats for your sweetheart.

In addition to their regular favorites that have taken the community by storm, Twanie’s Terrific Treats offers double-sized cookies, perfect for a couple to share after a romantic dinner. They’re also baking a special red velvet cookie to mark the holiday.

Much to everyone’s delight, Jo’s Party House has made its triumphant return to the Lake Area via a new location in Moss Bluff. Who can say no to those signature cupcakes or iconic heart-shaped cakes?

If your Valentine is a popcorn lover, don’t miss out on a gift box from RhinoPOP, LLC. Special flavors like strawberry cheesecake, cotton candy or even something spicy like cinnamon, all compliment the traditional Valentine’s Day colors. This Lake Charlesbased business also features traditional flavors as well as a variety of candies to choose from. They suggest ordering early to access the best selection of flavors.

If your Valentine is watching their waistline, Edible Arrangements in Lake Charles has just the treat for you. From chocolate covered strawberries, to fresh fruit arrangements, these sweet treats offer a guiltfree indulgence. Heart or daisy-shaped pineapples and strawberries dipped in semi-sweet Belgian dark chocolate are just a few options available. If you’re looking for something indulgent, brownies and cheesecakes are also available, and any order can be dressed up with balloons and/or a stuffed teddy bear. Order early online or by calling the store to guarantee your arrangement.


Giving the gift of self-care is a great way to encourage the one you love to relax and recharge. Manicures, pedicures, spa services, massages and hair care all provide plenty of options to choose from in this category. The best part is that many of these can be enjoyed alone or together as a couple.

Local salons like Scarborough’s Salon and Day Spa and Alevan Salon Spa Sanctuary offer a wide range of services, from hair care and facials to massages.

Help your valentine beat the winter blues with an airbrush tan, blowout or fresh set of lash extensions from Blush and Co

These local relaxation havens can be a one-stop-shop for selecting the perfect gift, and if this is all Greek to you, there are friendly staff standing by, ready to guide you through building the perfect experience.

Self-care isn’t just for the ladies either. ManCave Salon offers a complete grooming experience just for him. This Valentine’s Day, treat the special man in your life to a gift basket of products like shampoo and conditioner and a wide range of beard grooming products such as balms and oils.

No matter what your preferred love language may be, local businesses are eager to help make your Valentine’s Day a special, memorable occasion. 61

SAY “Yes TO THE VENUE VIDEO SERIES Casting Call for Engaged Couples & a Chance to Win!

Visit Lake Charles is creating a four-part video series to highlight wedding venues and the process of choosing the perfect wedding venue that suits a couple’s needs. The featured couple will star in the video series and win a $2,500 discount to go toward the venue or caterer of their choosing.

“Over the past several years, the weddings market has seen some challenges on multiple fronts. However, the staff at Visit Lake Charles is eager to put a spotlight on what the destination can offer to couples looking to tie the knot in the Lake Area,” said Timothy Bush, Chief Marketing Officer for Visit Lake Charles. “The goal of the video series is to showcase the real experience of choosing a venue in Southwest Louisiana and working with Visit Lake Charles and area partners to make dreams come true.

We pride ourselves on having joie de vivre, and we want that joy to shine as we work to find the perfect wedding venue for the starring couple.”

Applications will be accepted throughout the month of February. Interested couples must be engaged and have a timeframe in mind for their wedding date.

For more information on the program, log on to

62 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023
Home & Family | Valentine’s Day “ 63

Check Your Tone

Your undertone that is. Red lipstick is not one shade fits all. It can have undertones of blue, purple, or orange and you want the one that looks best with your coloring.

Style & Beauty Good Tips for Red Lips

Fashion editors everywhere will tell you that a bright red lip is the ultimate iconic beauty look. The pop of red will brighten your face instantly, add a polished finishing touch to any outfit, plus it screams sophistication and confidence. Red is also the color of romance so it’s a great choice for Valentine’s Day or date night! However, most women struggle to pick a shade of red that flatters them. Before you get overwhelmed by the thousands of crimson options facing you at the beauty counter, here are some expert tips for rocking a red lip from Seint makeup artist Megan Hartman.

Red, Red, Line

Start with a red liner to lock your lipstick in place and keep it from feathering. This is especially important for aging skin that develops lines and wrinkles.

Pro tip: apply the color

Let Your Lips Do the Talking

Remember when wearing red that your lips will be the star of the show, so keep your eye makeup more subdued to allow your bright kisser to be the focal point of your face. If

Formula Matte(rs)

If you love a bold red lip but don’t want it to scream ‘look at me’, then choose a matte formula. Matte lipstick doesn’t seep into mouth wrinkles, is easy to apply, and is a bit more understated. A glossy lip

If you’re still trying to find the perfect red for your lips, there are several shades that are universally flattering and have been worn by everyone from supermodels to supermoms. Try MAC Ruby Woo, Rouge Dior 999 in a beautiful velvet finish, or Giorgio Armani 400 (also known simply as Armani Red). One swipe of any of these shades and you’ll look instantly put together and ready for romance (or the boardroom)!

Rockin’ Red Hair

Fiery. Feisty. Temperamental. Sexy. These are just some of the ways redheads are often described. It’s certainly not the best beauty choice for those who shy away from attention and don’t like to stand out. Kylie Guillory is a stylist at Signatures Salon in Lake Charles and says the reason women (and men) are drawn to red hair is because it seems more daring. Clients who want a new look that is outside of their comfort zone will choose red when they want to make a change or a statement.

“Don’t be intimidated by the bold color statement,” says Guillory. “The majority of people can pull off being a redhead, as long as they choose the right shade for their coloring.” Guillory works with clients to determine which hue of red would be the most flattering based on their skin tone, eye color, and even the color of their freckles. If you have gold and yellow flecks in your irises, that usually means warmer reds will be more flattering while cool blue or brown flecks indicate cooler-toned reds are a better option. Consulting with an expert stylist

Guillory offers up this professional guidance if you want to rock a head of red hair:

• Red hair is prone to fading. To protect your bright locks, shampoo your hair less often, dial back on the heat when styling it, and protect it from the sun whenever possible by wearing a hat or staying in the shade. It also helps to delay washing your hair for at least two days post-color. Look for products designed for color-treated hair and remember to condition after every wash.

• Color maintenance is important. Because shades of red fade more quickly than any other hair color, expect to touch up your color with more frequent salon appointments to keep red vivid and bright.

If a full head of red hair seems intimidating, Guillory recommends leaning into the bright new shade. Start with red highlights or a balayage with different shades of red until you are ready to commit to an overall bold new look.

Red hair color comes in a wide range of shades. The general rule of thumb is the fairer you are, the lighter a shade of red will work for you. Warm shades of red usually work best for those with fair skin; think copper, auburn, or ginger. Those with deep skin tones will love deeper tones of red like plum, mahogany, and chestnut.

Signatures Salon is located at 803 W. McNeese Street in Lake Charles. The salon is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Call 337-478-4433 for an appointment. Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok @signaturessalon. 65
Kylie Guillory, stylist at Signatures Salon Photography by: Kristen Soileau Hair by: Lensi White
66 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023
YOU! We are proud to have been voted Best Landscape Company nine times by readers of local publications. This is a true validation of our commitment to our customers and we appreciate their support. We’ve been growing strong in Southwest Louisiana for over 30 years and look forward to many more years of serving our residential and landscape clients. 5005 Cobra Road, Lake Charles (337) 478-3836 M-F: 7am – 4pm | Sat: 8am – 2pm BOOK FOR SPRING COLOR NOW! VOTED THE
BEST 67 (337) 420-8420 (337) 420-8420 • VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO FIND OUT HOW TO BECOME A MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENT! Edibles • Tinctures • Vapes MDI Cartridges • Cookies Products & More PICKUP OR DELIVERY ORDER ONLINE (337) 420-8420 •

OUR HEARTS HELPING OUR Community’s Hearts.

The Local Heart Foundation began as a dream just 5 years ago, and with the help from our community, has grown into an organization that touches the lives of local heart patients each day. Local Heart Foundation Co-Founders, Tim and Tammy Andreas, sought to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors dealing with heart disease after seeing families who could benefit from heart-felt support, encouragement, and providing resources for overwhelming and unplanned financial burdens while undergoing treatment for heart disease.

Visit the Local Heart Foundation on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with local heart patients, event announcements, and more. You can also visit their website at

The Local Heart Foundation currently only accepts Applications for Assistance from cardiologist’s office’s. If you are receiving treatment for heart disease and need assistance, please contact your cardiologist.

Executive Director: Staci Adams

Founders: Tim & Tammy Andreas

337.419.0033 • Lake Charles, LA

Scanning the QR code allows you to support the Local Heart Foundation, assisting heart patients of all ages right here in SWLA. Different than other organizations, 100% of your donation stays local to help families in our community.

68 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • February 2023

Articles inside

Good Tips for Red Lips Rockin’ Red Hair

pages 33-34

SAY “Yes TO THE VENUE VIDEO SERIES Casting Call for Engaged Couples & a Chance to Win!

pages 32-33

Valentine’s Day Gifting

page 31


pages 30-31

Movers and Shakers in Southwest

page 29

Time to Sparkle!

pages 27-29

Countryside Courirs a Cajun Tradition

page 26


page 25

Celebrating Black Mardi Gras

pages 24-25

Black-Owned Businesses

page 23

Places & Faces | Black History Month If it Pleases the Court . . . Supreme Court decisions that have affected civil rights

page 22

Just Imagine SWLA Catalytic Project

pages 20-21


pages 19-20

Applications Due March 26, 2023

page 19

Are you... Living Beyond your Means?

pages 18-19

Inferior Superiors

page 17

Cool Jobs CoolJobs Money & Career HeatherMetzger “LandscapeLady”

page 16


page 15

Kid Friendly Dining Options in SWLA

page 14


pages 12-13

Dr. Effat Rasul is Accepting New Patients

page 11

ENT & Allergic Clinic Now Offering Allergy Drops

page 11

A Community Forever Heart Connected

page 10

HarnessPowertheof You for Heart Health

pages 9-10

Cardiovascular Health IT’S MORE THAN JUST YOUR HEART

page 8

The benefits of exercise on heart health KeepMoving

page 7


page 6

Your Heart Your Health

pages 5-6

Mind & Body

page 5

WRITE & WIN! Magic & Awe of Serendipity

pages 3-4
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.