Thrive January 2023

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first person WITH ANGIE MANNING, VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS, VISIT LAKE CHARLES Cool Jobs with Bam Arceneaux, owner of the Panorama Music Exchange
2 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 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 •
At Fuerst, Carrier & Ogden, our attorneys provide over 85 years of combined experience in the following areas: FAMILY LAW � SUCCESSIONS & WILLS � CRIMINAL DEFENSE � PERSONAL INJURY
85 YEARS OF DEDICATED FAMILY LAW EXPERIENCE To schedule a consultation, call 337-436-3332 or visit We are pleased to announce the addition of two new lawyers to our firm: Sydney Stuart, adding over three decades of experience and who is licensed to practice in Texas. Austin
his class.
Pottorff, licensed in Louisiana and who
from LSU Law in the
20% of
4 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023 is designed for people focused on living a happy, healthy life, one that is balanced, full of energy and contentment. Thrive readers want to
the most of every day and to be successful in all areas of their lives –
health, home and career. Submitted articles and photos are welcome. Thrive assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials and does not guarantee any submissions. Managing Editor Angie Kay Dilmore Editors and Publishers Kristy Como Armand Christine Fisher Creative Director Barbara VanGossen Design and Layout Sarah Bercier Business Manager Katie McDaniel Stevenson Advertising Sales 337.310.2099 Submissions 8 52 64 @thriveswla | Contents Regular Features 44 Who’s News 65 Solutions for Life In This Issue Wining & Dining 6 Chuck Eats Restaurant Week 8 Evans Corner Store Mind & Body 10-17 COVER SECTION: 18-27 SPECIAL SECTION: SWLA healthcare Money & Career 29-41 SPECIAL SECTION: Financial Planning 42 American Press Writer Wins Journalism Grant Places & Faces 47-53 SPECIAL SECTION: 2023 TRAVEL GUIDE 50 first person WITH ANGIE MANNING, VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS, VISIT LAKE CHARLES  54 Cool Jobs: Bam Arceneau owner, The Panorama Music Exchange Home & Family 56 NATIONAL HOBBY MONTH 58 St. Louis Catholic High School Purchases Property 59 BBBS of SWLA Foster Grandparent Program Pantone Names Color of 2023 Skin-Enhancing Make-Up Products Vinyl Lips and other Lipstick Trends JANUARY 2023 year ANNIVERSARY RESOLUTIONS TO MAKE 2023 YOUR bestyearever

Prizes & Surprises!


Awe of Serendipity

SERENDIPITY. It is a magical, fun-sounding word used to describe a happy accident, a chance encounter that opens our eyes to the unexpected. It allows us to see bridges where others see nothing.

Everyone has a serendipity story. We know by hearing all the excitement from our Magic & Awe of Serendipity Contest.

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

Due to the overwhelming response, the deadline to enter our Magic & Awe of Serendipity Contest is extended to March 31, 2023.

We see people opened their eyes to the unexpected, taking the leap, and capturing fruitful serendipitous romantic and business moments. They embraced the opportunity of the unexpected.

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

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.

Lorraine Castiglia, the Director of Serendipity Yacht Cruises explains, “Serendipity happens when we break out of our comfort zones by closely observing, connecting the dots, and cultivating the importance behind it all. We must seize opportunities. Paths cross, doors open, and a treasure trove of possibilities can occur; things happen for a reason. Serendipity lights the way.”


Rules & Regulations 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.
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.
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.
presented by Serendipity Yacht Cruises
gift certificates for two nights and breakfast
PLACE: Take the elevator home:
Executive King Balcony room
for two at the beautiful SSHR.
Culinary Gem with Marina Waterfront
– $350 Gift Card for Opus
& Steakhouse.
$250 Gift
Serendipitous Food & Fun – $150 Gift Card for T-Bone Tom’s,
Opus Bistro and Steakhouse Pier 6 Seafood T-Bone Tom's 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. Enter SYC’s Contest! YOU could WIN one of the exciting and amazing, and fun-filled prizesin the Houston Bay Area!! WRITE & WIN
by the Bay –
Card for Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House. SEVENTH PLACE:
Tookie’s Seafood.
Shore Harbour Resort


Hits the Food Scene January 20-29!

seafood and sizzling steaks to global cuisine and down-home gumbo, Chuck Eats Week has it all. Visit Lake Charles and local restaurant owners united to bring this annual event to the area to help showcase the talent, ingenuity, and top-notch flavor of the best dishes around.

Timothy Bush, Visit Lake Charles Chief Marketing Officer, is a newcomer to the Lake Area, and for him, hitting the food scene is the perfect way to get to know a community. “Since moving to Lake Charles in February last year, I’ve discovered several favorites,” he said. “I love the Tuna Cassidy at Luna Bar & Grill and the Blue Crab Bisque at Calla is another dish I love.” Both locals and transplants can benefit from exploring the symphony of local flavors during Chuck Eats Week.

of our culture.

After starting Chuck Fest in 2014, Dave Evans of Luna Bar & Grill reinvented a way to be proud of being from Lake Charles, and this love of “all things Chuck” helps promote the city’s continued growth and rebirth.

“The following year the discussion started on Chuck Eats, and we wanted to emphasize the food scene and what we have to offer,” said Evans. It took a trip to Atlanta with Visit Lake Charles in 2019 to start finalizing the concept.

“As our community continues to recover, several of our local restaurant owners came together with Visit Lake Charles believing that now is the time to start this program,” added Bush. In addition to Evans, Mike Sperandeo of Villa Harlequin and Jay Ecker and Frank Randazzo of Panorama and Rikenjaks also got on board. “Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Shreveport all have restaurant weeks that have been happening for years. It’s time Lake Charles has one that celebrates our culinary scene.”

6 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023
Tuna Cassidy at Luna Bar & Grill’s Timothy Bush , Visit Lake Charles Chief Marketing Officer Villa Harlequin’s Lasagna

So what exactly is Chuck Eats Week?

An extensive list of local restaurants will offer everything from special fixed price menus, buy-one-get-one deals, and percentage off meals during the week, and you can explore the flavor trail across Lake Charles as much as you want. All you need to do is visit to see which restaurants are participating and

note of their tasty offers.

While Evans is a bit biased with his own dishes – his favorite is Luna Bar & Grill’s Redfish Apollo – you can also see him chow down on James 710’s trout, Peking Garden’s egg rolls, or Villa Harlequin’s lasagna. Lake Charles is a place where chefs come together to support each other, and Chuck Eats exemplifies this collaborative culture where restaurants get excited to see neighbors succeed. “The food made here has its local flair, and it’s created by the people here,” added Evans. He suggests everyone localize their taste buds with Chuck Eats. So get out there and enjoy! Save us a seat at the table. 7 SERVING UP FINGER-LICKING FOOD FOR THREE DECADES 119 West College Street, Lake Charles | (337) 474-3651 | Monday – Thursday: 11am–10pm | Friday & Saturday: 11am-11pm Closed Sunday | Happy Hour 4–7pm & SPORTS BAR DARRELL’S TO-GO NEW We are now available on Eats 2 Go, Gubers & Waitr!
“I’m excited about the diversity of cuisine options that people can experience, which really speaks to the fact that Lake Charles is a foodie destination with options for a variety of tastes,” said Bush. “Bold, fresh and unique flavors come together in Lake Charles to create a culinary scene unmatched by any other destination.”
Bar & Grill’s Redfish Apollo
Jay Ecker, Elizabeth Guinn, & Kaitlyn Gallegos- Chuck Fest Jay Ecker & Nic Hunter discussing Panorama plans Dave Evans at Luna Bar & Grill James 710’s Trout

Evan’s Evan’s

Corner Store

Gourmet Gas Station Comes to Lake Charles

Evan’s Corner Store is a family-owned business first established in 2015 at their Jennings location. When the family decided to open this convenience store on Ryan St., they didn’t want their new venture to be a regular gas station/mini mart. They want to offer Lake Charles something unique and out of the ordinary. They want to promote friendly service, and a safe, clean environment. They also want to provide a food experience not found at a typical gas station.

If you have visited Evan’s Corner Store, which opened November 2022, you would agree, they have succeeded. In addition to gasoline and the usual drinks, snacks, vapes, and smokes, they sell a variety of healthy, international cuisine, highend liquors, hand-scooped Blue Bell ice cream, and a fine selection of cigars.

The food now runs the culinary gamut from their freshly made breakfast croissant sandwiches, chicken/chorizo burritos, Taco Tuesdays to upscale international dishes.

Their reasonably-priced plate lunch menu changes daily, from local favorites like etouffee to dishes including Salisbury steak with a mushroom red wine sauce, homemade egg rolls with a spicy Asian sauce, potato cutlets, jumbo chicken wings, and anything that inspires their foodie kitchen staff. Their food is never fried or microwaved. While healthy is good, do save room for their bread pudding with whiskey bourbon sauce!

One look at the liquor selection and it is like having a “spiritual experience.” They sell a wide variety of beers, wines, and most notably, spirits at all price points.

If you’re in Lake Charles and want a quick, tasty, healthy lunch at a good price, swing by Evan’s Corner Store. They want to change the mindset of what people expect from a gas station.

Evan’s Corner Store is located at 3531 Ryan St. Call 337-602-1469 for daily specials. Follow their latest menu and wine tasting events on Facebook.

8 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023
Wining & Dining
Thai Chili Peanut Meatballs on a bed of saffron rice Taco Tuesday bread pudding

Mind & Body


According to the website Statistica, only about 23% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. And of those who do make resolutions, 80% admit to abandoning their resolutions by February. That’s not a great track record. But there is merit in resolving to make positive changes in one’s life. And January is a perfect time to address those issues. After the excesses of the holiday season, we get a fresh start, a re-do on a new year. We want 2023 to be your best year yet. If there are changes you would like to incorporate into your life this year, the stories in this special section offer tips to help you stay on track.


Shape up,SWLA!

Ahh, the lifelong New Year’s Resolution – get in shape! Do you find yourself making a resolution each year and never following through with your goal? Maybe you start out fired up and go all in for the first month or two but lose track of your routine or just lose your passion for it? Do you want to try something different from traditional workouts? SWLA has you covered with several unique gym options. Here’s some local hot spots for self-improvement that will keep you feeling motivated to achieve your goals!

Looking for something that’s not your typical club? Want a different atmosphere?

At Orangetheory Fitness, you’ll get an individual experience catered to you using small group coaching, a little science, and various “heart rate zones” to boost metabolism and caloric burn. Or sweat it out and melt away the pounds at HOTWORX . Schedule sessions that fuse together heat, infrared energy, and exercise, like yoga, pilates, or high intensity training.

Like to push yourself to extremes? Try the grueling, pumped-up workout challenges at one of the several CrossFIT gym locations. At CrossFIT, the challenge comes with a variety of movements fused with high intensity interval training. As one of the biggest fitness chains in the world, they combine elements from weightlifting to gymnastics to produce a fast-paced competitive fitness sport.

If you’re looking for a big initial push, try a 30-day challenge at South Lake Charles Fit Body Boot Camp. They offer a wide schedule of 30 minute boot camp style, fat-burning workouts, lively coaches, and kickin’ music to keep you moving. They’ll get you in a good routine to lose the inches and think positive with fun small group workouts that are fast-paced and challenging. If you’re really up for a different concept, try Sulphur Boxing Club or Mayweather boxing to get an intense, 45- or 60-minute small group champion experience.

Want a more personal experience? Try Premier Personal Training for one-on-one creative workouts with world-class coaches. Trainers develop a unique plan based on each fitness need, down to cardiovascular, muscle conditioning, and even nutrition. Options available even include theragun massage and red-light therapy.

Need a family friendly experience? Club4 Fitness offers kid care, where they enjoy physical activities, arts and crafts, and computer games. Workout stress free in their state of the art gym, cycling center, or take a break at the coffee club.

Dynamic Dimensions Fitness has two locations in the area offering convenient childcare options. Join a group fitness workout, slam a cardio session in the gym, then grab a smoothie from DD Cafe.

For those of you who don’t work typical hours, Planet Fitness offers late hours till 11:00 p.m. and Anytime Fitness or Snap Fitness are 24 hour options! At all of these facilities, you’ll find a wide availability of high quality, state-of-the-art equipment set up for quick in-and-out routine keepers.

Not really a fan of the gym atmosphere? Get off the beaten path and get fit with nature. A new fitness station at Prien Lake Park is a nice addition to the peaceful walking path overlooking the beautiful lake. With canoe/kayak launches, you can enjoy a swift boating workout in the sunshine.

Westlake’s newest addition to Pinderosa Park offers a shaded walking trail, baseball and softball parks, and a lighted outdoor basketball court. Try the renovated Sam Houston Jones State Park for awesome biking trails too!

As you can see, no matter what your favorite atmosphere for self-improvement motivation, SWLA has just the spot for you. So let’s get going on those New Year’s resolutions to a better YOU and enjoy doing it! 11
Orangetheory Fitness Cross FIT HOTWORX Sulphur Boxing Club Fit Body Boot Camp Mayweather

Mind & Body | new year’s resolutions

Having trouble losing those extra holiday pounds? INSULIN RESISTANCE COULD



Insulin resistance is one of those health hazards that sneak up on you. And according to Dawn Hinton, APRN and owner of Revitalized Health in Lake Charles, the disorder is more common than we even know. “It’s widespread in our communities primarily because of our unhealthy diets, full of sugar and highly processed foods.”

Though it is difficult to detect, especially in the important early stages, it is vitally important to your health to keep insulin resistance in check. The disorder can cause a myriad of health problems, most notably prediabetes, which can lead to type 2 diabetes, but also heart disease, fatty liver disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and metabolic syndrome (a life-threatening combination of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high glucose levels, and excess body fat around the waist.)


“Insulin is a hormone that helps the body balance its primary source of energy –glucose,” Hinton explains. “It is made by the pancreas which sends insulin into the bloodstream after eating. Insulin sends glucose into cells to be used or stored for energy. When the system works properly, glucose levels remain at appropriate levels.” Hinton says insulin resistance occurs when cells become resistant to the effects of insulin.

“This causes glucose to accumulate in the blood. In response, the pancreas releases more and more insulin. The combination of high blood glucose and high insulin levels are what cause the health complications.”

The exact cause of insulin resistance is unknown, but there are known risk factors – obesity, Black/Asian/Hispanic ethnicity, a family history of insulin resistance or diabetes, a diet high in carbohydrates/sugar, a sedentary lifestyle, corticosteroid use, and chronic stress.


There are generally no symptoms of the disorder in the early stages. But there can be subtle signs – increased visceral fat, irregular menstrual cycle, excessive body hair, acne, skin tags, and dark patches on the skin. “The symptoms a person experiences depend largely on the underlying cause of the insulin resistance and the subsequent complications,” Hinton says. Metabolic syndrome and prediabetes are some of the most common conditions related to insulin resistance. In the U.S., approximately one of every three adults over the age of 18 has metabolic syndrome or prediabetes!


Fasting insulin, blood glucose and hemoglobin A1C tests can determine risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, but these are not always reliable tests for insulin resistance.

Healthcare providers suspect the disorder based on a combination of symptoms, blood tests, and physical exam.


Hinton says yes, it can. “Lifestyle changes, primarily through diet and exercise, can not only improve insulin sensitivity but reverse its effects. Intermittent fasting and a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet have been proven to improve markers of health including reducing blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, decreasing body fat, and reducing inflammation in the body. Hinton also recommends “at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.” There are also some medications that can be used to help treat insulin resistance or associated co-existing conditions (menopause, hypogonadism, thyroid disorders, diabetes, HTN, hyperlipidemia).

Hinton says losing weight through exercise and a healthy diet is the best way to help your body respond better to insulin. “Even small changes can help reverse insulin resistance, and if you continue these healthy habits over time, you increase the odds of preventing a long list of health problems.”

To make an appointment with Dawn Hinton, call Revitalized Health at 337-214-0097.

12 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023

Make S.M.A.R.T. Fitness Goals

Being efficient is a goal most of us can agree is well worth the effort. When it comes to fitness goals for the New Year, ensuring efficiency is a great way to achieve results.

When George Doran came up with S.M.A.R.T. goals in the 1980s, little did he know it would be applied to virtually any project. The acronym stands for:


“The more specific you are with a goal, the more likely you are to achieve it,” explains Suzy Trahan, LDN, RD, ACSM certified exercise physiologist, ACE certified personal trainer, manager of Dynamic Dimensions Fitness Centers of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital.

Perhaps your goal is being able to exercise for a certain length of time, participating in a specific number of workouts each week, or being part of an upcoming fitness event, such as a charity walk or marathon.

“Being specific gets your mind focused on your goal,” she says.


By being specific, you’re able to measure progress better. If your goal is to work out more often, that measurement is vast; but if your goal is to work out three times each week, it’s easy to measure. “Reaching your goal of three work outs each week helps keep you motivated every week you achieve it,” Trahan says.


Ensuring your fitness goals are achievable is key. “If your goal is to work out three afternoons each week but work and family commitments continue to thwart your ef forts, your goal is not achievable,” explains Trahan. “Moving your work outs to the mornings could make all the difference in being able to achieve that goal. Explore possibilities to boost your achievement level.”


Is your fitness goal in line with your wants and needs? If you want to be more flexible, setting a goal to work out with weights twice a week will not propel you as much as attending a class focused on yoga movements twice a week.

“Everyone’s time is limited. You want to spend your work out sessions in a way that will help you move forward in areas where you’d like to improve,” she says. “If you want to change your body composition and improve your metabolism, spending time with both weight training and cardio train ing will benefit you.”

If you aren’t sure which options you should take to achieve your goals, Dynamic Dimensions Fitness has certified personal trainers to tailor a workout specific for your needs.

“Tell us your goals and we’ll help create S.M.A.R.T. fitness steps so you can reach that goal,” Trahan says.

Goals can be both short-term and longterm. You may find it helpful to set several short-term goals that align with your overall long-term goal.

“By breaking down big goals into smaller ones, it helps you understand the specific steps to take to achieve them. Celebrating your success along the way is a great way to stay motivated,” she says. 13
• SPECIFIC • MEASURABLE • ACHIEVABLE • RELEVANT • TIMELY Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Timely

Mind & Body | new year’s resolutions UNCLUTTER y our life!

Tired of all the clutter that surrounds you? Make a New Year’s resolution to organize your life. Here are some tips to get you going!


Go through your closet and get rid of those clothes you’ve been hanging on to but haven’t worn in ages. It will feel good to fill a few bags for your favorite charity. Your kitchen pantry will probably have expired items, so take care of that next.

There may be an abundance of (unexpired) canned or dry goods that you can take to your local food bank. Don’t forget your junk drawer—You'll find plenty in there that needs to be tossed.


Remove everything and clean the surface. Put back all the necessary items that always remain on your desk, and go through any papers, files, etc. that have been piling up. Add to existing folders, create new ones, archive old documents, shred what needs to be shredded. Go through your desk drawers and do the same.


Look at your social media accounts and delete unwanted Facebook friends and unfollow old groups. Unsubscribe from annoying emails and delete all those emails from the past year that you never even bothered to look at. And empty your trash!


They keep you focused and prevent you from forgetting what’s most important. From grocery lists, or a list of goals for the day, week or month, you need them. In addition, write important things down in a place where you can see them. This will ingrain them in your memory.


As soon as you’ve finished using them throughout the day. An uncluttered space leads to an uncluttered mind.

If you’ve done all the above, you’re in a great position, so keep it that way. Don’t buy or keep unnecessary items and clean out your closets, pantry and workspace regularly. Good luck!

14 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023

HOW TO BREAK bad habits

We all have habits—some good, some bad. It’s the bad ones that need breaking, and that’s never easy. Psychologists define habits as acquired behaviors or thought patterns which we repeat so often they become automatic. We develop habits because they free up our brains to do other things that require our focused attention.

Breaking a bad habit is often on lists of New Year’s resolutions. These four tips will help you succeed.

Pay attention to your triggers.

They’re the key to forming a new habit (or breaking an old one). A trigger is an event that kicks off that automatic urge to do something habitually. For example, when some people start to worry, they bite their nails. Getting into bed when you’re not sleepy can trigger the urge to grab your phone and scroll on Facebook—for a few hours.

Focus on why you want to change.

Write your reasons down on paper and keep the list where you’ll see it regularly. Seeing the list can keep the habit you’re trying to break fresh in your mind. If you happen to backslide, your list will remind you exactly why you should keep trying.

Enlist a friend’s support.

Try to find a friend who’s in the same situation so you can overcome the problem together. Case in point – if you need to stop smoking, dealing with not only the habit but the nicotine withdrawal on your own can be challenging. But quitting with a friend can be easier than doing it on your own. You now have a buddy to help you through the rough times and encourage your victories. Mutual support is the key.

Accept occasional slip-ups.

No one is perfect and changing an ingrained habit is a process. Experts say it requires on average over two months for a new behavior to become automatic. So don’t give up! Be aware that there will be bumps and setbacks along the way. We’re our own worst critics, and many of us view anything short of total success to be a complete failure. But be confident! One cigarette, one cheeseburger, one missed workout doesn’t mean it’s the end. Pick yourself up and keep going. Concentrate on your achievements, and don’t give in to negative thinking. Tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to succeed. 15
Dawn Hinton Nurse Practitioner/Owner

Mind & Body | new year’s resolutions

Give Yourself the Gift of SLEEP for the New Year!

Every year, millions of people use the start of a new year as an opportunity for selfimprovement, aspiring for personal change by setting New Year’s resolutions. Health-related resolutions are some of the most common, with goals such as losing weight, exercising more often, and smoking cessation leading the list of most common resolutions.

Sleep is often overlooked in New Year’s resolutions, but it is one of the most fundamental steps to improving wellness. Sleeping better can enhance physical, mental, and emotional health and generate the energy and self-control necessary to achieve other goals in the new year.

Properly planning a New Year’s sleep resolution can help you make a lasting change. Knowing how to craft and carry out your New Year’s sleep resolution can lead you to a healthier and more productive future.


A sleep resolution is a powerful tool for people looking to emphasize wellness and healthier living in the coming year. Sleep enables virtually all systems of the body to function effectively. It sharpens thinking and memory, strengthens physical health, and boosts mood and emotional regulation.

Sleep is also a lynchpin to achieving other goals. Getting enough sleep every night generates energy for exercise, helps with weight loss, enhances productivity at work, and fosters creative thinking. Studies have found that getting quality sleep is associated with better self-control, which makes it easier to follow through on other resolutions. In addition, simply developing consistent sleep habits may fuel self-control and the ability to continue striving toward goals even during times of difficulty. While getting better sleep doesn’t have to be your only goal for the new year, research demonstrates that it can positively impact virtually all New Year’s resolutions.

Another critical component for New Year’s sleep resolutions is to zero in on things you can control, such as your sleep hygiene. By focusing on the process rather than the outcomes, you can take advantage of the fact that humans are creatures of habit. Reinforcing healthy routines helps make behavior change feel automatic and, as a result, more sustainable.

Dr. Conner at the Sleep Disorder Center of Louisiana suggests you stick to a sleep hygiene routine for better sleep.

• Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.

• Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from the bedroom.

• Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.

• Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.

If your resolution is based only on outcomes, such as sleeping better, you may be disappointed and give up if you don’t see quick results. Instead, a wiser approach emphasizes smaller steps that you can take to reshape sleep habits positively.

For example, if you are having trouble with your sleep schedule and feel unrest throughout the holiday season. Call the Sleep Center’s Board Certified Sleep Physician and Dream Team at 337-310-7378.

16 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023 17

SWLA Healthcare

Setting Standards of Excellence

State of the art technology, pharmacological advancements, and on-going research keep healthcare organizations ever evolving and striving to provide communities with the best possible care. This special section spotlights some of the important contributions made by local healthcare providers, primarily in robotics, and programs to improve the health and well-being of the citizens of Southwest Louisiana.


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.

18 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023
Mind & Body | SWLA healthcare | (337) 721-7236 | Lake Charles | Moss Bluff

Offering BETTER Cancer Care Detection & Solutions

At Lake Charles Memorial Health System, we've invested in life-enhancing technology for better cancer care detection and solutions. We now offer a minimally invasive robotic-assisted bronchoscopy procedure to diagnose lung cancer at an earlier stage.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths. However, when diagnosed at the earliest stage, the average 5-year survival rate is 92%. Early-stage diagnosis can be difficult, but with the new ION endoluminal system by Intuitive, Memorial pulmonologists are able to obtain tissue samples from deep within the lung, helping patients avoid subsequent biopsies and enabling an earlier diagnosis.

Memorial’s latest investment in robotic-assisted technology enables patients to receive all care—from biopsy to surgery—close to home. 19
For more information or to speak to a member of our Pulmonary Associates team call 337.494.2750

th e New Age of Lung Cancer Diagnostics Ion Robot

The newest member to join the family of robotic-assisted technology at Lake Charles Memorial Health System is the Intuitive Ion endoluminal system. Peripheral lung biopsy can now be performed using this innovative, stateof-the-art robotic-assisted technology. This major medical advancement offers doctors unprecedented stability and precision, addressing a challenging aspect of lung biopsy by enabling physicians to obtain tissue samples from deep within the lung, thus detecting earlier stages of lung cancer.

Pulmonologist Clifford Courville, MD, with Memorial Medical Group and a member of the medical staff at Lake Charles Memorial Health System, performed the first minimally invasive procedure in Southwest Louisiana using the Ion last November. He looks forward to this technology ushering in a new era of early-stage lung cancer diagnostics and the ability to treat local lung cancer patients sooner than ever before. Approximately 75% of lung cancers are diagnosed in an advanced stage. 70% of cancerous lung nodules are found in the outer third of the lung, which are challenging to reach and diagnose. Typically, if a physician finds a suspicious spot on the lung, commonly called a small mass or nodule, he or she may recommend that it be checked out further. This test is called a lung biopsy. Biopsy involves obtaining a tissue sample from the suspicious area and examining the cells under a microscope to determine if cancer or another disease is present. There are several ways to obtain tissue for biopsy. One way lung biopsies are obtained is through a

procedure called bronchoscopy. During bronchoscopy with the Ion, the ultra-thin, easily maneuverable catheter can move 180 degrees in all directions, making a biopsy of a mass easier. The equipment allows doctors to navigate along a planned path through small and tortuous airways to reach nodules in any airway segment within the lung.

The robot’s flexible biopsy needle can also pass through very tight bends via the catheter to collect tissue, enabling a more precise biopsy and easier experience for patients. “The Ion gives me the ability to navigate the natural airways of the lung, with a lower risk of puncturing the lung tissue,” said Dr. Courville. “It’s a safer way to approach the lesions that are in the periphery of the lung for patients who have fairly advanced underlying lung disease.”

The biopsy approach a doctor recommends depends on the size of the nodule, the location within the lung, and a patient’s overall health. Fewer than 5% of nodules are actually cancer, but a pulmonologist may recommend this test to verify a diagnosis.

20 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023 Mind & Body | SWLA healthcare

Prior to the Ion robotic-assisted technology, the preferred method to reach an abnormal spot in the lung was to use a live CT scan image and a needle, entering the chest wall and lung from outside the body; this presented a relatively high risk of injuring the lung tissue and potentially causing the lung to collapse for some patients who had advanced lung disease.

Currently LCMHS is the fifth site in the state and the only hospital in Southwest Louisiana that offers this advanced technology. Ion is built on more than two decades of leadership in robotic-assisted technology by Intuitive, the maker of the da Vinci surgical system. The Ion endoluminal system allows for more precision, more reach, more stability—and more answers.

To learn more or to make an appointment with Dr. Courville or one of the Pulmonary Associates physicians, call 337-494-2750.

Breathe Easier 21 West
Dr. Courville and Dr.
treat patients for a variety of pulmonary and critical care issues, including: Asthma and COPD • Lung cancer • Pneumonia Emphysema • Chronic bronchitis Services are provided at 920 First Avenue in Sulphur. To schedule an appointment, please call (337) 528-7472.
Calcasieu Cameron Hospital welcomes
affiliation of Clifford Courville, MD and Fidencio Davalos, MD, pulmonologists with Lake Charles Memorial Health System.
Fidencio Davalos, MD Clifford Courville, MD
DROP the Shots. Ask us about Sublingual
easy-to-use drops as an alternative to weekly allergy shots.
ENT & Allergy Specialists ENT & Allergy Specialists 1615 Wolf Circle, Lake Charles |
Allergy Therapy,
Call (337) 312-8950.
Dr. Bridget Loehn & Dr. Blake LeBlanc

a commitment to innovation

Healing comes in many forms, often through treatment and lifestyle improvements. Advancements in technology have opened doors for physicians to lead their patients to the optimum treatment plan and changes in lifestyle, resulting in better health thanks to a more precise diagnosis. Knowing the problem is the first step in solving the problem.

West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital is committed to innovation and technology to give physicians the tools needed to care for their patients. “From the smallest heart pump to advanced and complex imaging equipment, we provide our physicians and community access to revolutionary technology,” says Christopher Thompson, MD, interventional cardiologist with WCCH. The Impella heart pump, now available at WCCH, is the world’s smallest heart pump used to maintain blood flow during high-risk procedures related to coronary

artery disease. Patients with certain critical blockages or a weak heart muscle may require additional support during coronary procedures.

The physician guides the Impella into the left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart, assisting the heart, while the physician performs the procedure. Once complete, the Impella is turned off and guided out. “Thanks to this innovation, people who were not eligible for coronary procedures may now be candidates; these procedures can make a tremendous difference in their longevity and quality of life,” says Dr. Thompson.

In addition, WCCH is committed to providing quality cardiac care. For people suffering from a severe cardiac episode, such as a heart attack, every second counts. The faster patients can get access to life-saving interventions, the greater the chances of survival and maximum recovery with minimal heart damage. WCCH is the first hospital in the nation to have the new GE Allia™ IGS 530 Cath Lab technology installed and available for patient care. The GE Allia IGS 530 advanced digital X-ray imaging system provides extremely

detailed, real-time images of a patient’s cardiac anatomy during procedures that require exacting precision.

“This cutting-edge technology helps our cardiologists diagnose and treat all patients, even the most challenging ones, safely and efficiently, with the best possible image quality. This addition enhances our commitment to provide state-of-the-art technology for better outcomes for our patients,” explains Janie Frugé, CEO of WCCH.

Another innovation recently added at WCCH is the GE Nuclear Medicine SPECT/CT machine, the only one of its kind in Southwest Louisiana. It combines traditional nuclear medicine with the clarity of a CT scan. “This gives physicians more accurate information of the patient’s anatomy, which helps them give a more precise diagnosis,” says Jake Richey, BSRT (R)(CT)(MR), radiology director at WCCH.

The SPECT part of the procedure is performed by a dual-headed gamma camera and the CT imaging is done by the integrated multi-slice CT. “This combined approach allows for an improved patient imaging experience,” he says.

22 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023 Mind & Body | SWLA healthcare

The technology required to create a digital image is lighter and more compact, with reduced scan times, which provides improvements in lesion detection, image quality and patient comfort. It is useful for imaging of the bones, lymph nodes, lungs, gastrointestinal system and the heart.

Other technology that WCCH continues to utilize to ensure quality patient care include the 128-slice CT and the 3T MRI. The Ingenuity 128-slice CT is a high-resolution multi-slice CT scanner, delivering clearer pictures with more detail in less time than previous CT scanners, and at a lower radiation dose.

“We’re able to scan patients in a much shorter amount of time, reducing their time on the table, along with stress and anxiety that can accompany medical testing procedures,” says Richey.

On a related front, the 3T MRI provides more detailed images for physicians. An MRI is useful for a variety of applications, including some health issues that are difficult to detect on a CT scan. The 3T MRI scanner shortens scan time from previous MRI machines without compromising the accuracy of images.

“We are dedicated to providing our community and physicians with the latest technology to improve efficiency and patient outcomes,” says Frugé. “The combination of innovation and providing advanced quality care is woven into the fabric of our organization, inspiring us to continuously strive for the best technology possible to allow our physicians to better treat our patients.” 23


benefit both patients & surgeons

CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick was the first to bring robotics to the area more than 15 years ago; first in their urology and gynecological surgical departments. A few years later, Dr. Matias Naut pioneered the use of robotics for general surgery at the hospital. Today, CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick uses robotic systems for many types of surgeries including kidney and prostate surgery, weight loss procedures, spinal treatments, and more.

Benefits to Patients

“The robotic platform gives us advanced technology that other approaches, such as laparoscopic and open surgery don’t offer,” says Dr. Naut, who uses the Da Vinci system by Intuitive.

Dr. Erich Wolf is a neurosurgeon who specializes in most types of spinal surgeries. “We use the Excelsius robot by Globus Medical for the majority of procedures in the lower lumbar spine, especially those that use screws and rods for fusions. We are able to offer a wider range of surgeries locally now that we have this special robotic equipment.” And there is more to come.

Robotics allow for increased surgical precision by using physician-guided mechanical instruments (robotic arms) to do the work via telemanipulators or through the use of computers. Increased accuracy facilitates a faster, safer procedure with smaller incisions, less scarring, less blood loss, fewer complications, and more reproducible results. There is less pain involved and thus less use of narcotics and other pain medications post-procedure. Shorter procedure times can mean less time under anesthesia and less exposure to x-ray radiation. Robotic surgery often allows for outpatient surgery or shorter hospital stays. And quicker recovery times mean patients return to normal activities sooner. Robotic surgeries are surgical procedures that are done using robotic systems. The idea of robotics use for surgery began over 50 years ago, but actual use began in the late 1980s. Robotically assisted surgery was developed to try to overcome the limitations of pre-existing procedures and to enhance the capabilities of surgeons performing surgery.

Dr. Wolf adds that they are currently in the process of obtaining software for robotassisted cranial surgery. “This technology will help us place electrodes for Parkinson’s Disease, essential tremor, and several other conditions, and obtain minimally-invasive brain biopsies to diagnose tumors.”

24 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023 Mind & Body | SWLA healthcare

also offer benefits for the surgeons. Dr. Naut cites factors such as better vision and real-time feedback. Tissue sensors tell a surgeon if a tissue is too thick, too thin, and if there is adequate blood flow. Dr. Wolf adds peace of mind to the benefits. “It gives me comfort knowing that our procedures are safer for the patient. We are able to very accurately place screws and other instruments into the spine with very high accuracy. And as we operate around nerves, it gives me, as a surgeon, more comfort knowing our patients are receiving the best possible care.” 25
, M.D. Vascular Surgery For appointment or referral call 337.722.2970,or visit: o chsne r .org /doctors
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
CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana is proud to welcome Dr. Konda to our region. He
to Southwest Louisiana from Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he completed his vascular and endovascular surgery fellowship at the University of Minnesota. He received his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine.
Welcome Sai Konda

Family Works

Wendy Harper opened her business, At Home Compassionate Care, in 2019. In 2020, her daughter Callie Thomas, who has a diverse background in healthcare marketing and teaching, joined her mother in the business as executive administrator. Wendy had needed assistance growing her business, especially during those unprecedented months of the pandemic. Callie was able to make connections with families and together, she and Wendy have remained strong and persevered throughout all the SWLA natural disasters and unpredictable circumstances.

At Home Compassionate Care provides home and community-based caregiving services, allowing loved ones and family members to stay securely and safely at home. Wendy says, “With 50 employees who serve our clients across SWLA’s five-parish region, we pride ourselves on executing a robust staff recruiting process. We also have a RN who conducts extensive training based on each client’s plan of care.”

Wendy says it means so much to her that Callie works with her in the business.

“The family aspect of a business is tremendous. First and foremost, stability and trust are significant. Owning a family business fosters a reliable and strong work ethic as we are dependent on each other for our overall success. As a grandmother, it is important to me to know my daughter is in an environment where she can be flexible as a mother and attend school functions and not miss out on important events related to her family. And it’s always fun when the kids are out of school to have “daycare at the office.”

This mother and daughter team realize that their success depends in part on their dedicated staff. “The amazing caregivers at At Home Compassionate Care are like family to us and are greatly appreciated for their service and compassionate care,” Callie says.

Wendy and Callie understand that being a caregiver for a loved one is a tiring and demanding role. Call At Home Compassionate Care for an assessment to determine if they can alleviate and provide relief or respite services. Their passion has always been helping others, and to serve their families and help them find care for their loved ones is the ultimate gift.

At Home Compassionate Care is located at 4835 Ihles Rd., Lake Charles. For more information, call 337-477-7083 or visit their website,

26 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023 Mind & Body | SWLA healthcare
Wendy Harper, Owner of At Home Compassionate Care

Green Hat taste of swla 27
Save the Dates This classic Irish-themed brunch will take place at the Golden Nugget and will include fine-dining, champagne and Bingo fun! Sunday, March 19, 2023 Shamrocks and Champagne bingo Brunch
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. Friday, March 17, 2023
Grace Gardens Brick Dedication and Blessing Ceremony 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.
March 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.

Money & Career

Financial Planning

Despite the issues with the current economy, the National Retail Federation estimates that Americans spent between $942-$960 billion during the holiday season. After last month’s spending spree, January is an excellent time to assess your finances and make some plans for the future, both short- and long-term.

In this special section, you’ll find stories on best saving practices for each decade of your adult life, tips on planning for retirement, money resolutions to make this year, and more. May your new year be financially productive and prosperous! 29
CLU®, ChFC®, CRPS, CRPC Investment Advisor Representative Butch Ferdinandsen Securities offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. (WFS) member FINRA/ SIPC. WFS is separately owned and other entities and/or marketing names, products or services referenced here are independent of WFS. Let us help you make a plan.

RESOLUTIONS to Help Plan your Retirement

We’ve all been there: January 1 is here and we charge forward with an aggressive – and sometimes unrealistic – financial goal for the new year, then by January 5 we lose that initial steam and find ourselves a bit defeated. Goals are nothing without calculated baby steps that help us see the end result, and of all of the lofty financial resolutions we may have this year, one that may need some extra attention is your retirement.

“Your financial resolution for something like retirement needs to be specific, measurable, and achievable,” commented Janet Leleux, a financial advisor for First Federal Investments in Sulphur. “Just saying that you’ll run a 5K by this time next year isn’t enough; you need to have a month-bymonth goal of getting to that finish mark, and it’s the same with getting ready for retirement, no matter your age.”

For those who still plan to work for a few decades but want to start talking about retirement, here are some handy resolutions for the new year.

The Early Saver:

Start now!

Any day is a good day to start seeing your money grow. Take advantage of any employee match that your employer offers. A great way to start 2023 is to increase your own contribution to your 401(k). The more you contribute, the more your employer may be able to match. Look at your budget each month for 2023 and see how you can add more to your retirement each pay period.

Determine how much you need to retire. This will require a bit of soul searching so you can envision the type of life you want later. Will you pack up the dogs and travel the country in a camper? Or will you buy that beach condo and live out your Jimmy Buffet dreams? “To simply maintain your standard of living, you’ll need to have 70% to 90% of your annual pre-retirement income at the ready,” said LeLeux. “If you want to buy a second home or travel more, you’ll need to add that into your budget. Spend this year figuring out your retirement goals and what they will cost.”

Choose the best plan for you.

It’s always good to start with a 401(k) or other employer retirement plan with matching dollars, but if you don’t have this or if you want to open your own secondary account, consider a Traditional IRA or Roth IRA.

A traditional IRA is a type of individual retirement account in which individuals make contributions and the investments in the account grow tax-deferred. Remember, if its tax-deferred, you’ll need to pay taxes on your distributions. A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account where you enjoy tax-free-growth and tax-free withdrawals during retirement.

If you see the light at the end of the tunnel and are getting excited about the prospect of retiring soon, the new year is a great time to decide the next steps in your planning process.

The Soon-To-Be Retired:

Iron out your retirement budget and income plan.

“Hopefully you’ve already been looking at this for a while, but things always change with the economy and investments, so spend each month adjusting your budget,” added LeLeux. You’ll need to figure out where you stand financially, and that means taking inventory of all your assets and liabilities. “Write down every single debt, liability, and savings balance,” said LeLeux. “It’ll give you a basic ‘Where You Are Today’ financial outlook. Don’t forget about properties, vehicles, and other valuable possessions that affect your bottom line.”

If you plan on working part time or finally investing in that side gig, you’ll need to track and forecast your income.

30 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023 Money & Career | Financial Planning

Square away your health insurance. Healthcare is one of the biggest expenses you’ll face during retirement. If you retire at or after the age of 65, you can largely rely on Medicare for your retirement healthcare needs but pay close attention to what may not be covered. “Things can get trickier – and more expensive – if you plan on retiring early. Start shopping for health insurance plans a year or so ahead of your early retirement,” commented LeLeux.

Finally, plan out your estate. In addition to creating a will, you’ll need to assign a power of attorney and healthcare proxy to make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. You’ll also need to establish guardians for living dependents and appoint beneficiaries on life insurance plans, retirement accounts and shared assets. Ensure all documents are properly notarized and stored somewhere safe. Include an inventory of personal data like your Social Security number, date of birth, bank account numbers, insurance policy numbers and digital passwords to keep things organized and easy to access.

If you haven’t taken a look at your plans lately, this is a great financial resolution to tackle this year. If you are just now planning to start your journey or if you are rounding the corner to the finish line, consider specific, measurable, and achievable goals. Retirement is a well-earned gold medal, keep your financial goals charging ahead into the new year!

Janet Leleux is a Registered Representative of the Cetera Investments Services LLC. Cetera Investment Services is an independent, registered broker-dealer. Member FINRA / SIPC. Securities and insurance products offered by Cetera Investment Services. For more information, call First Federal Investments at (337) 625-3018 or visit 31
25 Years of Fighting & Winning for Victims 330 ALAMO STREET LAKE CHARLES | 477-8782 We’ve Moved!


A financial plan is a great antidote to market uncertainty. Here’s a decade-by-decade guide to help you stay on track.

Are you concerned about the market and the economy, wondering what this new year will bring? Whether you’re in your 20s and paying attention for the first time or in your 70s experiencing déjà vu, economic uncertainty can be an emotional rollercoaster.

The broad answer that applies to everyone is this – have a financial plan and stick to it. A financial plan is a roadmap to keep you going forward no matter what the economy is doing. Your plan will change as your life and goals change. But maintaining a big-picture view while following certain guidelines at each stage in your life will help you take control of your money and be less concerned about current headlines.

In your 20s: Set your direction

Set yourself up for greater financial security by establishing good money management habits from the beginning.

 Create a budget: Know how much money you have coming in and be conscious of your spending. Needs come first, then wants. Live within (and hopefully below) your means.

 Start saving: Creating an emergency fund should be your first savings priority. To make saving easier, include it as a line item in your budget.

In addition to an emergency fund, you should also start saving for retirement in your 20s—no, it’s not too soon. Take advantage of a 401(k) or open an IRA and invest those funds—don’t leave them in the account uninvested. Once you’re on track for retirement, start saving and investing for other goals.

 Establish good credit: Use credit cards wisely. Avoid unnecessary debt and aim to pay off balances in full each month.

 Get insured: Health insurance is a must. You may also need auto, renters or homeowners insurance, depending on your circumstances.

In your 30s: Start building

Career, family, homeownership—the 30s are often a time when life changes at a fast pace. And your financial planning has to keep up.

 Increase your savings: Contribute as much as you can to a 401(k) or other employer plan and take full advantage of any company match. Make sure your emergency fund covers a minimum of three to six months of necessary expenses. Keep saving toward your other goals.

 Become an investor: Put your money to work in a diversified portfolio that matches your timeline and feelings about risk. Maintain a long-term view no matter what the market is doing.

 Plan ahead: Have at least a basic will naming a guardian for minor children. If you do have kids, start saving for their education. Look into life insurance.

In your 40s: Ramp it upA

t this point you’re likely approaching your peak earning years, so this is the time to ramp up your savings and avoid lifestyle creep. Protect what you have and plan for the future.

 Make retirement a priority: Make the most of tax-advantaged savings accounts. Employer retirement plans, IRAs, even Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)—contribute the max to not only get the tax benefit but to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

 Increase your insurance: Consider adding umbrella and disability policies. Also think about increasing your life insurance as your income increases.

 Include your family: If you have a partner, make sure you both are on the same page about financial goals and future plans. Take money out of the closet. Openly discuss finances with your parents as well as your children as age appropriate.

32 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023
Money & Career | Financial Planning

In your 50s: Keep it moving

Whatever direction you’ve set for yourself, don’t stop now. But do review where you are and make additions and changes to increase future security.

 Plan for retirement: Start by looking at what you’ve saved and what your expenses may be. Set a timeframe for when you’d like to retire. If you’re behind, see how much more you can save, and take advantage of catch-up contributions.

 Review your portfolio: Stay diversified, rebalance at least annually, and make sure your portfolio is in line with your current feelings about risk. Keep in mind that the money you’ll need in the next five to seven years shouldn’t be in the stock market.

 Look into long-term care insurance: It’s not something most of us like to contemplate, but now’s the sweet spot to consider LTC insurance, since it usually becomes more expensive as you age.

 Create or refine your estate plan: You may already have a will and possibly a trust, but if not, act now. Also create an advance healthcare directive.

In your 60s: Start to transition

This is the time to make important decisions about how you'll handle your finances in retirement.

 Be specific: Think practically about how and when you want to retire. What’s a realistic timeframe? Will you stay where you are or move? What will your expenses be? Make sure you and your partner agree.

 Explore Social Security and Medicare options: These are valuable benefits that can make a real financial difference in retirement. Understand the timing rules and regulations so you can take maximum advantage of both.

 Create a retirement paycheck: Add up income from outside your portfolio like Social Security, pension, real estate, etc. Then calculate what you’ll need from your portfolio to cover expenses and decide how best to make withdrawals. Aim to keep enough in cash to cover one to two years of expenses so you’re not forced to sell in a down market.

In your 70s (and beyond): Adjust as needed and enjoy!

If you’ve stayed on track—and kept your cool despite economic ups and downs— you deserve to enjoy what you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

 Strike a balance: Many seniors remain active and working, for good reason. Part-time work can be a pleasure as well as a financial boost. Travel, family, and personal pursuits can also be fulfilling. Find the balance that suits you personally and economically.

 Modify your retirement income plan as needed: You may need more income early in retirement, less as time goes by. Keep on top of resources and expenses. Factor in required minimum distributions (RMDs)—and take them on time, or you’ll be penalized!

 Update your legacy and charitable planning: Make sure your beneficiary designations, wills, trusts, and charitable giving plan reflect your current wishes. Be open with your family about what you’ve set up so there are no surprises.

A financial advisor can help you fine tune your plan. But wherever you are on your economic timeline, remember: Life will change—and so will these uncertain times. Having a financial plan, no matter your age or the state of the economy, will help keep you on track.

5 Tips to Help Weather a Recession

Whether we’re on the verge of a recession is anybody’s guess. But one thing’s for certain: Recessions are an inevitable, albeit painful, part of the business cycle. Since 1948, the U.S. has experienced 12 recessions – an average of one every six years. To put that in perspective, an individual who begins investing at age 25 could expect to experience between six and seven recessions by the time they reach retirement.

Recessions—generally defined as a contraction of economic activity lasting at least six months—are a relatively regular and even natural part of the economic cycle, so it’s important to have a plan for when they occur. You may not be able to make your portfolio recessionproof, but you can make it recession- resistant

Take these five steps before and during recessions to mute the impact on your savings— and perhaps even capitalize on the opportunities that recessions can usher in.

Batten down the hatches

Recessions often coincide with bear markets, or market declines of 20% or more—although bear markets often come first, with investors anticipating an economic slowdown. However, while the average recession lasts just 11 months, it generally takes the market more than two years to bounce back to its pre-bear peak.

To make your portfolio more recession-resistant, first shore up your cash reserves. Otherwise, you may be forced to sell stocks during a market decline, thereby locking in losses and undercutting your portfolio’s capacity to recover.

For nonretirees, that means setting aside three to six months’ worth of living expenses in a relatively safe, liquid account—such as an interest-bearing checking account, money market savings account, money market fund, or short-term CD—plus enough cash to cover any upcoming sizable expenses, such as tuition payments.

For retirees, cash reserves should be much larger—ideally covering two to four years’ worth of expenses. If you don’t have enough cash on hand, taking a big withdrawal in a down market can seriously increase your longevity risk, or the risk that you’ll outlive your savings.

Hold firm

If you’re tempted to bail on the market when the going gets tough—don’t. There’s a reason those in the know describe investing as a marathon, not a sprint.

In fact, trying to time the market can set you back significantly. Some of the best days in the market have occurred right on the heels of some of the worst. For example, moving your portfolio into cash for just one month following a market decline of 20% or more would cut your returns almost in half one year later.

As long as you have sufficient time and money— whether from wages, retirement income, or cash reserves—it’s important to stay the course so you can potentially benefit from the eventual recovery.

That said, it generally makes sense to sell some investments and buy others as part of your regular portfolio maintenance. “Paring back on those investments that have become overweight and reinvesting those funds in assets that have become underweight help you maintain your target asset allocation and take advantage of the relatively low prices a down market often affords.

34 Thrive Magazine for Better Living •
Money & Career | Financial Planning
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Double down

When the market is falling, it’s natural to want to wait until it recovers to put more money in, but you should really be doing the opposite if you can afford it. As famed investor Warren Buffett once put it: “Bad news is an investor’s best friend. It lets you buy a slice of America’s future at a marked-down price.”

Still, there are a couple of caveats:

• Don’t use your emergency funds for new investments You might be tempted to dip into that pool for especially tempting opportunities, but they’re called emergency funds for a reason.

• Don’t hoard cash hoping to land a bargain. The sooner your money is in the market, the sooner it can benefit from the effects of compounding, trying to pinpoint the perfect time to get in is notoriously difficult.

Consider tactical tweaks

Beyond buying shares at a discount, a downturn offers the opportunity to make strategic adjustments to your portfolio. Tactical tweaks should be refinements rather than wholesale changes. Never deviate from your target asset allocation by more than five percentage points.

You might consider:

 High-quality stocks: Companies with low debt, positive earnings, strong cash flow, and low volatility tend to outperform when recessions hit and investors turn to businesses with ample financial cushions.

 Lower-volatility sectors: Defensive sectors— including Consumer Staples, Health Care, and Utilities—tend to be less volatile than the broader market and therefore have greater potential to outperform when returns go negative.

 Fundamental index funds: These index funds weight holdings by fundamental factors such as adjusted revenue, dividend yields, and earnings, and, as such, they favor value relative to market-cap-weighted index funds.

 Longer-maturity bonds: As interest rates rise, consider shifting your long-term fixed income allocation to longer-maturity bonds. The Federal Reserve may be raising rates now, but it typically begins cutting them once economic conditions deteriorate. You want to lock in today’s higher coupons before they fall.

5Reach out

While there’s a lot you can do to make your portfolio more recession-resistant, you may not think you have the expertise or time to do so effectively—or you may simply want a second opinion before responding to prevailing market conditions. Working with a financial planner can help align your investments with your spending needs and goals, as well as prioritize which—if any—of these steps make the most sense for your situation.

3 4

Resolve to Avoid these Money Mistakes

All of us are guilty of a few bad financial habits, but it’s easy to overlook the true expense impact of each one. However, the combination of multiple of these poor habits over time could lead to bigger problems.

The good news is that some of the most frequently made missteps are also the most preventable – and easiest to rectify, according to Bryan Armentor, Vice President with Lakeside Bank. “Financerelated resolutions are among the most common each year. Instead of just making a broad resolution to ‘save more,’ or ‘pay down debt,’ why not shift that focus to more specific goals that will eliminate some money mistakes. These mistakes may be preventing you from reaching those bigger financial goals.”

Armentor provides the following examples of common financial mistakes and steps to take to avoid them:

Paying late fees

Late fees not only add to expenses; they can also negatively impact your credit score. Many people pay late fees simply because they forget the due date, not because they don’t have the money to pay them. Technology has made this an easy fix. Set up automatic payments with the lender or with your bank’s online banking system.

Recurring payments

Some bills, such as your insurance premium or an online subscription, for example, allow you to choose between making one big annual payment or a series of installments. In many cases, the monthly or quarterly options include a service charge. It may be just $5, but that adds up to $20 to $60 annually and much more over multiple expenses and annual year. Check on the options and pay annually if you can and prevent that service fee.

Borrowing to buy things that lose value.

A good debt is something that will help you build wealth over time, such as a loan to go back to school or a home mortgage. Bad debt is the kind that you accumulate by financing purchases things like vehicles, furniture, appliances, technology – things that quickly lose value. Paying interest means getting hit twice, first by the value loss and then by finance charges. Use cash whenever possible, and if you do finance, pay off as quickly as possible. One good way to do this is to pay extra toward the principle with every monthly payment

Carrying credit card debt.

This has become such a widespread habit that many people don’t even think twice about having a stack of credit card bills to pay each month. It’s a big mistake to use a credit card for everyday items such as groceries, clothing or gas if you are not going to pay the full balance off right away. You’ll end up paying way more than these items are worth in interest fees over time. Other tips: shop around for low-interest-rate cards, don’t carry a lot of credit cards with you and restrict credit card use for emergency situations.

Identity theft is rampant, so protect your personal identification information in all situations. You should not carry your social security number, ATM passwords, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or any other personal, financial information with you, or within an easily accessible device such as a laptop, iPad, or smart phone. Those numbers are all a thief needs to access your account and steal not only your money, but your identity, which enables them to do far more damage to your finances if they secure additional credit in your name.

36 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023 Money & Career | Financial Planning
Being careless with your financial information.

Not having a plan.

Many people procrastinate when it comes to finances, but study after study has found that planning is associated with wealth accumulation. Develop a plan for budgeting, credit use, and for saving money for emergencies and other longterm goals, and you are much more likely to be successful.

Paying full price.

This can be a big drain on your finances. In today’s digital age there are many tools available to help consumers make better buying decisions. The asking price is rarely what you have to pay when it comes to many goods, and especially services. If you aren’t inquiring about discounts, researching coupons, checking sales promotions, cash discounts or negotiating for a better price, you won’t get them.

Not checking your credit score.

Potential lenders could have a much different picture of you than you think, and if they erroneously think you’re high-risk, they’ll charge you more to borrow. Checking your credit report is a simple process: Request a free credit report online from one of the three credit rating agencies — Equifax, Experian, or Transunion. Each is required to provide you with a free report once a year.

Flag any errors or unexpected changes to your report and file any discrepancies to the credit rating agencies. A few months later, check again using another of the agencies to make sure any mistakes have been corrected.

Saving whatever is left at the end of the month.

If you do that, don’t be surprised when there isn’t anything left to save. Instead, have your savings automatically set aside before you even have a chance to spend it. The easiest way to do that is in your employer’s retirement plan if this option is available. The same is true for medical expenses and dependent care if you’re eligible for an FSA (flexible spending account) or HSA (health savings account). You can also have money automatically transferred from your checking account to savings or investment accounts.

Wasting a windfall.

Getting a big lump sum of money is exciting, and all too easy to view this as extra spending money. Many people get this opportunity every year with tax refunds, inheritances, year-end bonus or any unexpected lump sum of money. If you’re lucky enough to be in this situation, don’t make an impulsive purchase. Use this as an opportunity to pay down debt or build up your savings.

“Mistakes like these can derail the plans you have for your money – and your future,” says Armentor. “It takes care and discipline to achieve your financial goals; don’t put your plans for your future at risk because of poor money habits today.”

Learn more about Lakeside Bank at


For nine years, Tim and Tammy Andreas successfully ran their business, Global Asset Management Group (GAMG), from high up in the Capital One Building in downtown Lake Charles; until that fateful day in August 2020 when Hurricane Laura blew through the tower, showering shards of the iconic blue green glass across the lakeshore.

Nothing from that office space was salvageable. But Tim and his staff didn’t miss a beat and the work with clients continued. Due to the pandemic, they were already accustomed to working remotely. After the storm, they initially worked from wherever they were displaced. Then for a while, they worked together from the Andreas home. Later, temporary office space became available, but with eight people in a 1200 sq. ft. space, it was tight quarters.

Meanwhile, Tim continued to keep an eye open for GAMG’s permanent home. In particular was the former JD Bank Building on Big Lake Rd. It never fully re-opened after the height of the pandemic. “One day, after so much frustration trying to find property south of town, I called someone I knew in management at the bank and asked if they would be interested in selling,” Tim says. “At first it didn’t work. She said she would talk with the President of JD Bank and it would have to go to the board. After a couple of weeks, she contacted me and said the board was not interested in selling. However, a seed was planted.

Thrive Money & Career | Financial Planning

One morning after passing the building everyday between our home in Graywood and work, I asked God what He wanted me to do. I couldn’t get any traction on any property, but I couldn’t stay where we were. Honestly, I was complaining more than praying. Yet that same morning I got a text from the person I had contacted months earlier. She asked if I had ever found anything. Immediately I told God I was sorry for complaining and I knew somehow this was going to be our new home. I spoke with the President a few days later and we signed a NDA and began work on negotiating a fair price for us both. June 10 we closed, and early July we got the keys.”

Once they got the keys, Tammy got to work remodeling and redecorating. Tim recalls, “We had 21 different contractors and in less than 30 days we were fully furnished with artwork hanging on the walls for the first day of business, August 1, 2022. Contractors worked weekends, all kind of crazy hours and what a blessing they all were. Even furniture contractors delivered all brand-new furniture. Everything in the building is new, even the bathrooms. The transformation is incredible and hard to comprehend that in this environment we got things done so fast.”

Tim says he still pinches himself when he drives up in the morning or past the building after hours. “God answered our prayers with a location and a building better than we imagined. Now we have a home! It feels great and we give Him all the credit for it.”

Global Asset Management Group is located at 4909 Big Lake Rd. Stop in and visit or call them at 337-419-1855, where they take your life and your investments . . . FORWARD.

Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services are offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. Global Asset Management Group is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services.

Behavioral Finance…


Investors may like to think they’re completely rational in their decision-making, but that’s highly unlikely. We don’t stop being human beings when it comes to investing, so psychology and emotions are apt to play roles—sometimes large ones—in the choices we make.

Behavioral finance studies investors’ real-life behavior and common biases. It considers the roles emotions and psychology play in making financial decisions and aims to identify factors that cause investors to sometimes act irrationally.

A key concept in behavioral finance is “prospect theory,” which describes how investors make decisions involving risk and gain. Studies have shown people frequently consider losses far more undesirable than they find comparable gains desireable. For example, take the following scenarios:

Given the first scenario, most people will avoid the risk and take option one (the sure $3,000 gain). On the other hand, when presented the second scenario, most favor option two (the 75% chance of losing $4,000) because it offers the possibility of avoiding the pain of a loss.

Keep in mind – and this is important – all four choices are mathematically equivalent. This means individuals’ responses were based primarily on their emotional reactions to fear of loss vs. enjoyment of gain, not rational decision-making.


If you ever wonder why markets sometimes act in ways that defy logic, behavioral finance helps explain it.

For example, bubbles can form when prices rise based on investors’ emotional reactions rather than the fundamentals. Once their sentiment eventually changes, a precipitous sell-off can follow.

Take what’s come to be known as the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s. Soon after the internet’s introduction, investors realized its potential to transform our everyday lives (which it clearly has). What they were over-optimistic about were internet-based companies’ abilities to quickly create profitable businesses.

In response to investors’ enthusiasm, the NASDAQ Index, where many of these companies’ stocks were listed, rose 189% during the two years leading up to its peak in March 2000. Perhaps more significantly, the price/earnings (P/E) ratio—a measure commonly used to determine how expensive stocks are the higher the ratio, the more expensive stocks are considered to be—was 175. By comparison, it was only approximately 24 at the end of 2020.

That suggests many investors were caught up in the furor over the New Economy and ignored the fundamentals. When investors realized it would be a long time before many of these companies became profitable, the bubble burst and stock prices plummeted. The lesson for investors is the importance of being diversified and investing primarily based on fundamentals—not on emotion and the fear of missing out on the next “big thing.” Of course, diversification strategies do not guarantee investment returns or eliminate the risk of loss.

This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Tonya Jones Griffith in Lake Charles, La. at 337-439-9081, located at 2070 Walnut St. Suite 101. Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. ©2019 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved.

40 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023
Money & Career | Financial Planning 41 MORTGAGES | LOANS | CHECKING & SAVINGS | BUSINESS NEW POSSIBILITIES TO CELEBRATE RESOLVE TO BANK BETTER IN 2023 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 Providing clients with a wide range of accounting, tax and financial management services tailored to meet today’s challenging times. 7670 Woodway Suite 208 | Houston, Texas 77063 LOUISIANA • TEXAS • MISSISSIPPI 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. 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 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 337.478.7902 |

AMERICAN PRESS Writer Wins Journalism Grant

Emily Burleigh, staff writer for the American Press, has won this year’s grant from the Hector San Miguel Memorial Fund of the Community Foundation SWLA to attend a professional conference. The fund will reimburse Burleigh to attend the International Symposium on Online Journalism in Austin, Texas in April.

“With the current digital evolution that the American Press is currently experiencing, my hope is that attending this conference will teach me more about the impact and importance of digital journalism, and techniques to apply any innovations to our paper,” said Burleigh, who joined the Press in 2022. She covers Lake Charles, DeRidder, and the parish school systems and boards based in both cities.

Burleigh is the most recent local reporter to win a grant from the fund, which honors the memory of the late Hector San Miguel, an award-winning American Press investigative journalist who died in 2009 at the age of 51 after battling leukemia.

Lance Traweek won the award last year. He came to Lake Charles 10 years ago as a 22-year-old business reporter for the American Press, covering $80 billion in announced economic development. While at the Press, this Monroe native received a grant from the Hector Fund to attend the Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference in New York.

“I learned a lot about journalistic integrity, finding stories and cultivating sources,” said Traweek, who is now executive editor of New Orleans CityBusiness. “Community journalism is the most important type.

The stories covered by local journalists affect our everyday lives. We attend the school board and city council meetings so you don’t have to. I think we all get too caught up with who is in the White House and don’t know who our councilperson is.”

Traweek became interested in news in junior high after 911 attacks. “It was an awakening of sorts that the world was much bigger than the one I had mapped out in my mind.” He became editor of his college newspaper at Louisiana Tech, then spent a couple summers on Capitol Hill as a press intern. At the American Press, he covered the business beat and general stories on Sundays, including weekend homicides. “My whole life I had been programmed to run from danger and now I was rushing to crime scenes. I would try to detach myself from the reality inside the taped-off homes, but it would get to me sometimes, especially when I encountered loved ones or interviewed neighbors of the victim.”

Traweek is grateful to the Community Foundation for the support and grant opportunity. “I commend its commitment in honoring lifelong work while investing in young journalists’ continuing education.”

42 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023 Money & Career

The Community Foundation SWLA supports local journalism among the multitude of ways that it connects community members to causes that matter to them. For more information about the Foundation, go to The Hector San Miguel Memorial Fund is expected to continue to offer grants to local reporters to attend professional conferences. Look for news of applying for the next grant later this year. 43 VOTED BEST BANK! MYLKSB.BANK |
(337) 474-3766 LAKE CHARLES: Nelson Rd. and Oak Park Blvd. SULPHUR
editor of New Orleans City Business
Lance Traweek, executive

Movers and Shakers in Southwest Louisiana...

Cooley Obtains Certified Financial Planner Certification

Jacob Cooley obtains CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification, the standard of excellence in financial planning. CFP® professionals meet rigorous education, training and ethical standards, and are committed to serving their clients’ best interests today to prepare them for a more secure tomorrow.

DeRouen Girola & Associates is proud to have him as our Financial Planning Specialist leading our planning team.

McNeese Employee Named Rising Professional of the Year

McNeese State University’s Lacie Wentzel, director of the McNeese Recreation Complex, was named Rising Professional of the Year at the Louisiana Association of College and University Student Personnel Administrators (LACUSPA) Conference recently.

The award is given to a deserving recipient that demonstrates outstanding achievement in promoting the ideals and principles of LACUSPA. Nominated professionals showcase dedication and excellence to the field in areas including, but not limited to, work with student development, service for their university, continued self-improvement, active participation in professional organization(s), collaboration efforts, innovation or advising accomplishments. LACUSPA represents the over 30 higher education institutions in Louisiana eligible for membership in the association.

Individual members include student affairs practitioners and faculty throughout the state.

Richard Law Firm and Landmark Title

Celebrate 25th Anniversary with the Opening of New Offices in The Landmark Building Attorney Ron Richard has remodeled an office building at 330 Alamo Street and named it “The Landmark,” which is now home to Richard Law Firm and Landmark Title Services. A grand opening event was held on Thursday, November 17, to celebrate the new location, as well as the milestone 25th anniversary of both businesses.

Richard Law Firm focuses on helping victims of car accidents, workplace injuries, truck accidents and sexual assault. The firm’s goal is to be an aggressive advocate for victims. The team of experienced, knowledgeable legal professionals maintain a dedication to quality, uncompromising representation that has resulted in not only a reputation for success, but justice and better lives for their clients.

Landmark Title provides homeowners and businesses in Louisiana with real estate closing, title insurance, general notary, witness only and SBA closing services. The company is fully licensed as a title insurance agent by the State of Louisiana, Department of Insurance and is an approved agent for Fidelity National Title Insurance Company.

Learn more about each company on their websites: and .

Revitalized Health Expands Clinical Team

Crystal Tarou, APRN, FNP-C, has joined the clinical team at Revitalized Health. She brings 19 years of healthcare experience to the practice.

Originally from Lake Charles, Tarou earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from McNeese State University. While working as a registered nurse (RN) in the ICU at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas, for six years, she earned a Master of Science in Nursing from Texas Women’s University. She then worked as an RN in the ICU at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital and completed a Nurse Practitioner Degree from McNeese. Tarou has worked in urgent care settings for the past eight years. She is a member of the Louisiana Association of Nurse Practitioners and is a certified Evexipel provider.

Revitalized Health is owned and operated by certified nurse practitioner Dawn Hinton, APRN, AGPCNP-BC. The practice offers an integrated approach to wellness that includes not only education, but evaluation of the individual patient as a whole, rather than just a specific problem. Areas of focus include menopause and peri-menopause, thyroid disorder, insomnia, obesity, weight loss, polycystic ovarian syndrome, low testosterone, sexual disfunction, peptides, and preventive care. Women and men, ages 15 and older, are welcome and all major insurance is accepted. The office is located at 1510 William Street in Lake Charles, in the Walnut Grove neighborhood. For more information, call (337) 214-0097 or visit

44 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023
Ribbon cutting ceremony at the Landmark Building
Money & Career
Crystal Tarou, APRN, FNP-C Jacob Cooley Lacie Wentzel


Tellurian’s Youth LEAD (Leadership, Enrichment and Development) Program is an innovative, yet simple, initiative to identify and cultivate the next generation of leaders in our neighboring communities. Tellurian works with Sulphur High School and Washington Marion High School to coordinate the program. Student participants, who are selected through a competitive application process, are given $20,000 and one guiding rule – “Do good in your community.” LEAD participants solicit input from elected officials, non-profit organizations and business leaders to identify pressing community needs, and then execute projects to address them.



Sulphur High School is welcoming its fourth LEAD Council. The Council is providing 12 scholarships for students who qualify to the St. Nicholas Center for Children with Autism in their STEPS program in the Sulphur and Lake Charles areas. They will also provide new equipment and other items for the center when they move to their new location in 2023.

The 2022-2023 Sulphur High LEAD Council Members are Lily Boyd, Annalyse Browning, Autumn Buck, Ryley Byrd, Celicia Ceasar, Victoria Clophus, Gabi Eyde, Olivia Hawks, Emma Hillyer, Cameron Hinson, and Karter Sonnier. Their program sponsor is Tyrella Bushnell.

This is the third year of LEAD at Washington Marion High School. The council is excited to provide new freezers and refrigerators for Abraham’s Tent as well as Blessing Bags with blankets, personal hygiene items and bus tokens to be distributed at the center.

The 2022-2023 Washington Marion Council Members are Jayla Clark, Rosemary Goodwill, Sheralynn Gradney, Keyonta Malone, Kiara Mitchell, Destinee Mouton, Haleigh Stevens, Unique Thomas, G’oni Victorian, Mason Walls, Harmony Young, Ravyn Young and Robyn Young. Their program sponsor is Corry Allen. 45
Sulphur High School LEAD Council Washington Marion High School LEAD Council
Time is everyThing. Lake Charles On-Time Performance 88% - Lake Charles Regional Airport 85% - Lafayette Regional Airport 82% - George Bush Intercontinental Airport Source: US Department of Transportation, 2021 departures. #flylakecharles 88% LCH 85% LFT 82% IAH Time is everyThing. Lake Charles On-Time Performance 88% - Lake Charles Regional Airport 85% - Lafayette Regional Airport 82% - George Bush Intercontinental Airport Source: US Department of Transportation, 2021 departures. Save Gas. Fly Local. With free parking and easy access, flying with Lake Charles Regional Airport means you’re driving less and flying more. #flylakecharles 88% LCH 85% LFT 82% IAH

Places & Faces


January 31 is National Plan for Vacation Day! The reason this is important is because a 2018 study from the U.S. Travel Association discovered that 55% of employees do not use all their allotted paid time off! But down time and traveling for pleasure are vital to our physical and mental health. In this special travel section, you’ll find some exciting American destinations, an interview with travel expert Angie Manning with Visit Lake Charles, and a goodnews update on the Lake Charles Regional Airport. 47


Nothing but Blue Skies Ahead

While the weather-related disasters of 2020-2021 affected the Lake Charles Regional Airport, the COVID-19 pandemic truly took its toll on the airline industry worldwide.

“The airline industry, especially the commercial sector, is one that is used to bouncing from challenge to challenge,” says Lake Charles Regional Airport Executive Director Heath Allen. “The COVID-19 pandemic, however, was something completely unseen.”

Allen recalls a day, early on in the pandemic-related shut-downs, where only five people came through the airport in the span of a day. Those days are quickly becoming a distant memory as the industry continues to rebound and locally, according to Allen, things are really looking up for the Lake Charles Regional Airport.

“In 2022, every month, with the exception of January, we saw passenger numbers that exceeded our 2019 numbers,” Allen explains. Storm repairs are wrapping up and federal grant dollars are making some additional projects a reality, setting the stage for future growth.

“Even though the terminal building held up well, the building still incurred more than $1 million in damages to our facilities,” Allen adds. “We lost about 70 percent of our hanger space, but we are well on our way to restoring that and expect to be at nearing completion on those repairs as we look forward to being in a position to exceed the space we had pre-storm by the end of this year.”

When discussing the current projects underway, and the projects that are on the horizon, Allen says it is like a “chicken or the egg” scenario.

“The Infrastructure Law established five years of committed funding, an unprecedented investment, in airport operations,” explains Allen. “We expect to see a little over $1 million a year in funding, in addition to our typical annual Federal entitlement funding, with opportunities to apply for additional project funds, allowing us to renew our facilities and put us in really good shape for future growth opportunities.”

One project Allen cites is a $2.5 million federal allocation earmarked to replace two existing passenger-boarding bridges.

“This project has been awarded and the contract is signed,” Allen said. “By the end of the second quarter, we can look forward

to all four Gates having brand new loading bridges. This is not only helping enhance our offerings now, but also preparing us for the possibility of larger planes servicing the airport.”

A new terminal for fixed base operations is in the works with an anticipated completion date set for the end of 2023. New passenger canopies at the front of the airport will make for more convenient loading and unloading, and a new parking lot for employees will help increase parking in the existing lot.

“I think what is most exciting about our current projects right now is that so many of them are public-facing,” Allen adds. “Many times the projects we are working on are not necessarily visible to the public.”

While the skies are clearing for Lake Charles Regional Airport, there are still some challenges ahead for the industry as a whole.

“The only headwinds I see right now, and this is really nationwide, is a shortage of pilots and the fact that fares are on the high side across the board due to their just not being as much supply on flights,” says Allen.

Allen says he does expect those fare prices to level off by the end of this year, going into 2024 and added that the airport remains in a good position to continue serving travelers.

48 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023
Places & Faces | 2023 TRAVEL GUIDE 49
their trip.
SATURDAY, JAN 7, 2023 6:00 p.m. Louisiana Fur & Wildlife Queen Contest   Teen Miss Fur Queen Contest Crowning of King Fur Admission $5.00/Children 12 & Under Free South Cameron High School -753 Oak Grove Highway, Grand Chenier LA (Creole) THURSDAY, JAN 12, 2023 6:00 p.m. Little Miss and Mister Cameron Parish & Miss Cameron Parish Pageants Admission $5.00/Children 12 & Under Free South Cameron High School -753 Oak Grove Highway, Grand Chenier, LA (Creole) FRIDAY, JAN 13, 2023 9:00 a.m. Dog Trials - Registration Begins Home of Mitch Thomas -5317 Highway 397, Bell City LA 70630 10:00 a.m.  Dog Trails Begin - Junior Pups with Seasoned Dogs to Follow 12:00 p.m. Gates Open Carnival, Craft, Vendor & Food Booths Open Admission Fee - $5.00/$15.00 Weekend Pass/ Children 12 & Under Free 6-9:00 p.m. Under the Influence (Entertainment) 10:00 p.m. Gates Close - Carnival, Craft & Food Booths Close SATURDAY,
14, 2023 6:00 a.m. Gates Open for Gumbo Cook Off 7:00 a.m. Fur Festival 5k Run and 1 Mile Fun Walk (Late Registration) 8:00 a.m. 5K Run/1Mile Race and Walk Begin – Cameron 9:00 a.m. Gates Open: Carnival, Craft, Vendor and Food Booths Open Admission $10.00 per person Children 12 & Under Free 9 - 4 p.m.  Antique Vehicles Showcase - Free Admission 9 - 4 p.m. Trap Shooting Competition/Quail Flush 9:30 a.m. Kids Master Race Registration Oyster Race - Stage Area Group 1 (Ages 6-8 years old) Group 2 (Ages 9-11 years old)  10:00 a.m.  Kids Master Race - Oyster Race - Stage Area 10:30 a.m. Oyster Shucking/Nutria Skinning/Trap Setting Registration - Stage Area 10:30 a.m.  Gumbo Cook-Off Judging 11:00 a.m. Oyster Shucking Competition Muskrat Skinning Demonstration & Nutria Skinning Competition Trap Setting Competition 1:00 p.m. Parade - Downtown Cameron 2- 4 p.m. Steel Shot (Entertainment) 3:00 p.m. Duck and Goose Calling Registration - Cameron Port Office 3:30 p.m. Duck and Goose Calling Competition - Cameron Port Office 4:00 p.m. Gumbo Cook-Off Awards - Stage Area 4:30-6:30 p.m.    Leroy Thomas (Entertainment) 6:30 p.m. Presentation of Festival Royalty, Maryland Delegation, Festival Officials 7-9:00 p.m. Three Thirty Seven (Entertainment) 9:30-11:30 p.m. Beau Young Band (Entertainment) 11:30 p.m. Gates Close – See you in 2024! SCHEDULE OF OF EVENTS
“I think we have a very savvy traveling public at this point in time. They do their homework
weigh their
when choosing where to start and end
There are a number of factors that affect booking decisions, but in the end, the convenience of free parking and leaving from and returning to your hometown are hard to pass up.” Visit for more information on the Lake Charles Regional Airport.

Angie Manning is certainly a familiar (and always smiling) face in and around Southwest Louisiana. For the past twenty years, she has promoted our corner of the state through her roles at the Lake Charles/SWLA Convention and Visitors Bureau, aka Visit Lake Charles. Angie is the Vice President of Communications, and she spends her time shining a light on local businesses, our vibrant arts community, traditions, culinary arts, Cajun and Creole cultures, and ensuring visitors experience all this region has to offer.

Angie started her career at Louisiana State University where she studied English literature, French literature, and public relations. She graduated Summa Cum Laude, was an Informative Speech Contest Champion and honored as the Outstanding Student in French Literature. After graduation, she lived in Paris to solidify her French speaking skills and experience living in Europe. Her first job was at International Communications Brokers Europe where she taught financial English.

Over the years, Angie and her colleagues have won numerous marketing awards in the tourism industry. She’s been recognized by 40 for the Future at the Southeast Tourism Society. She’s a Certified Destination Management Executive. She serves on the boards of many local organizations, and she was part of Thrive magazine’s 2013 class of 13 Thriving 30-Somethings.

When Angie isn’t promoting Southwest Louisiana, her focus is on her family. She and her husband, Trent Peshoff, parent a blended family of six kids! We caught up with this busy mom and tourism maven, and she shared her thoughts on growing up in a family that embraced arts and culture, the importance of travel, and her hopes and dreams moving forward.

first person

Places & Faces | 2023 TRAVEL GUIDE
with Angie Manning, Vice President of Communications, Visit Lake Charles

Describe your life as a kid.

I was born and raised in Sulphur, the youngest of three. I have two older brothers, Dean and Bryan. My childhood had a strong emphasis on music and the arts. Our parents were vocal about us always doing something, creating something, and being productive. I have journals going back to the first grade, and so writing has always been part of my life. We also played in the woods quite a bit and went exploring! In addition to ballet, gymnastics, and cheerleading, I was always involved in choir. I started writing songs in middle school and released my first album of four in high school. My dad plays trumpet and guitar. My brother, Dean, is also a songwriter, and we recorded one album together when I was in college. Growing up, we’d all sing together with dad playing the guitar. We also traveled quite a bit when I was a kid. The most memorable vacation occurred over a Christmas break when I was in middle school. We took an epic road trip to see many of the national parks, and our Suburban broke down as we glided down a mountain on Christmas Eve. The Redwood Forest and the Grand Canyon were astoundingly majestic and took my breath away.

What ignited your interest in tourism and how did you become involved?

My desire to live inside another language is what drew me into finding work abroad. I wanted to immerse myself in another culture completely. When I was in Paris, it was easy to jump on trains and travel to different countries for long weekends, and it was not that expensive, especially since I was staying in hostels. That sense of adventure is what ignited my interest in the travel industry.   Once I moved back to Lake Charles, Jason Barnes, who is a family friend, told me about a position at the convention & visitors bureau.

I interviewed with Shelley Johnson, the executive director at the time, and the rest is history!

What do you find most rewarding about your career?

I enjoy finding local hidden gems and working with the talented team at Visit Lake Charles as we strive to elevate the destination. Developing genuine relationships with people from all walks of life, making connections, learning new things, and seeing people develop their dreams are all rewarding parts of my career.

What are the greatest challenges in the travel industry today? And how are tourism experts creating workarounds?

The most recent major event that greatly impacted the travel industry was at the height of the pandemic. For me, that highlighted how interconnected we are with the global economy. So, gas prices or inflation, all bigger picture global shifts impact how people spend their discretionary funds. It’s about looking at data to see if there are emerging markets or untapped potential. Each challenge exposes another opportunity, so it’s being creative to see how we can best position Lake Charles within any given environment.

Why do you feel it is important for people to travel?

Travel opens up new ways of thinking and gives people new perspectives. The more you travel, the more you can draw from those experiences to enrich your life or create deeper connections with people. It’s also good for your mental health to take a break! Creating memories with your friends and family will stay with you for a lifetime. Even a simple camping trip in a state park or taking a daytrip can be almost medicinal.

Of all the places you have traveled, which is your favorite place, and what do you love about it?

The Alsace region in France near Switzerland and Germany is the most colorful and charming place I have ever been. It looks like it belongs in a fairytale.

As a mom of a large, blended family who works full-time, how do you stay grounded? What keeps you smiling?

In addition to my faith, spending time in nature, walking, and practicing Yoga are all spiritual and physical practices that help me feel more grounded. I also enjoy playing music when I have the house to myself! One day, I would like to get back into performing live again more frequently. Prior to being a mom of a blended family, I was a single mom for nearly seven years. So, hats off to my incredible mom who helped me with my daughters Ariel and Rayna throughout the early years! I have a huge support system with my husband Trent and my extended family. I could not do what I do without them in the wings.

What do you do in your free time?

Any spare moment I have, I prioritize spending time with my family. I try to expose my kids (Sydney, Morgan, Julian, Jack, Ariel, and Rayna) to the arts, exhibits, theatre, dance, and catching those beautiful Southwest Louisiana sunsets! In my spare time, I also enjoy reading, journaling, creating art with charcoal or pastels, and writing music.

List your top three bucket list destinations. Sweden, Ireland, Greece. 51
Trent Peshoff
Angie and her husband


Notice how I didn’t title this Top Ten U.S. Travel Destinations. Because really, who can be the judge of that!? The United States is a vast, diverse nation, and there are a LOT of fantastic places to visit. More than we can tackle in one Thrive story! And so much depends upon a person’s interests. Does one love the beach, the mountains, the desert? Is one an adventurer, foodie, or history buff? Big cities or great wildernesses? To narrow this down, I will share ten destinations that are on my own personal bucket list. So, in no particular order . . .


Specifically, I want to do one of those deals where you take a cruise from Seattle to Alaska, then a train ride through Denali National Park to marvel at the glaciers, fjords, mountains and wildlife. While you could take a road trip, the cruise/train option allows you to see a lot in a shorter amount of time, including scenic ports like Ketchikan and Skagway.


There are plenty of beach destinations to choose from in Florida, but Key Largo is a place where people can leave the sand and enjoy the ocean. For examples, at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, visitors can grab a snorkel mask and experience an adventure below the surface.


Immerse yourself in stunning Pacific Northwest scenery in the Columbia River Gorge, an hour’s drive from Portland. The area is known for its majestic waterfalls, including Multnomah Falls. After a day of hiking or biking, unwind in the town of Hood River and experience their craft beer scene.


Step off the ferry and start to relax on this idyllic island off the coast of Cape Cod. You’ll find beautiful beaches, quaint gray-shingled cottages, and historic lighthouses. I hear the drive to get there is an experience in its own right. Explore the Whaling Museum and dine on lobster rolls.


I have yet to be in town on the weekend of the Smoke and Barrel Festival, one of Lake Charles’ newer and instantly popular events. So I’ll just have to go to Louisville! Known for famous brands like Maker’s Mark and Jim Beam, the city offers the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, consisting of 10 distilleries, each offering tours and tastings of the Bluegrass State’s signature spirit.

52 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023 Places & Faces | 2023 TRAVEL GUIDE


I’ve never been a huge country music fan, but they don’t call it Music City for nothing. Nashville is one of the country’s premier spots for music. Check out the honky-tonks along Broadway and hear anything from rockabilly to blues. Don’t forget the Grand Ole Opry!


I’ve always wanted to explore the Rockies, but I am not a skier. An hour and thirty minutes from Denver, Estes Park is known as a “summer mountain town.” Travelers can enjoy the lakes, nearby rivers, and lush forests of the valley. Estes Park also has a famous landmark – the Stanley Hotel – one of the most haunted hotel destinations in the nation, and the inspiration for Stephen King’s Overlook Hotel in “The Shining.” I will decidedly not be going there!


I love small, charming, quaint towns that scream Americana. Sure, touristy, but the locals don’t mind. Add in “college town” and that ensures there are always interesting arts and entertainment events. Added bonus – it’s only an eight-mile bike ride down the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad trail to Cumberland, Md., terminus of the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail – an experience that is high on my list.


While wilderness generally trumps big city for this outdoorsy girl, I can also appreciate the amenities of a major metropolis. Museums (the Art Institute of Chicago), architecture (the skyscraper was born in Chi-Town), musical entertainment, a plethora of dining options (deep dish pizza?) What’s not to love!


I don’t know a lot about Madison, but a good friend of mine is from there, and he’s always raving about his hometown. It sounds like it might not be all that different from Lake Charles – a Saturday farmers market, numerous lakes, plenty of annual festivals, lots of live music – except it is significantly larger and it’s cooler in the summer and colder in the winter. These facts are exciting: Madison has the most parks and playgrounds per capita of any of the 100 largest U.S. cities and is one of five communities to have received a «Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community” rating from the League of American Bicyclists!

Keep in mind, I’ve already been to numerous U.S. destinations, so many of the BEST locations are likely not on this list. Go online, do some research, and make a Ten Top Bucket List of your own! Let 2023 be the year you start checking them off. 53


Bam Arceneaux,

“Things just start to come to you,” says Bam Arceneaux, the owner and curator of this eclectic collection. “It’s like a vortex, in a way.”

In some ways, Arceneaux was born to do this, with music and history and joy seeming to radiate from his aura. His grandfather owned Zypien’s Music & Record Store from 1946 to 2001; first on Iris Street, Lake Charles, and later across from McNeese State University where Raising Cane’s Chicken is now located. In addition to selling musical instruments and sheet music and such, Zypien’s was also the exclusive retailer for Sony products in SWLA back when that was a thing. “Which means if you bought a Walkman in Lake Charles, you bought it from my grandfather,” Arceneaux explains before showing off other unique Sony products that survived and found their way to his store, such as a sound camera – an old reel-to-reel recorder worn around the neck for portability.

A few ideas floated around before Arceneaux looked into taking it over himself; and just like that, The Panorama Music Exchange was created.

Arceneaux is like that older brother you never had or a cool uncle you admire; his enthusiasm for what he does is infectious, and he is more than happy to share his wide breadth of knowledge. He says one of his favorite things is when teenagers come in looking for an album on vinyl and engaging with them.

“Teenagers are going through the renaissance of vinyl and audio appreciation,” Arceneaux says, “I have a system set up here, and I’ll have them sit down on the couch, and I’ll crank it. Then you get to experience what a record is. A lot of my job is educating these kids.”

The Panorama Music Exchange, nestled right next door to the Panorama Music House at 331 Broad Street in downtown Lake Charles, is more than just a music store specializing in the sale of vinyl. It’s a mesmerizing mix of music, memorabilia, and random, often forgotten history of Southwest Louisiana.

Music is simply in Arceneaux’s blood, so it’s no surprise that his first dream was playing music, which he did for many years in Texas alongside bands such as The Toadies and New Bohemians. When it appeared that music might not work out long term, the pull of the music shop was there. In 1995, he moved to Lake Charles to help with his grandfather’s shop until it closed. After that, he worked as a carpenter for 20 years, which actually brought him back full circle.

While working on the rebuilding of the Panorama Music House post-hurricane Laura in 2020, the question arose of what to do with the other half of the building.

In addition to music on vinyl, CDs, and even 8-tracks, the Panorama Music Exchange has everything from vintage t-shirts, to musical instruments, to artwork, to musical instruments as artwork. There are drum-head wall-lights and premium matchbooks in styles you probably haven’t seen before, or if you have, it’s been decades. There’s even a working jukebox on the floor that you can take home with you . . . if you give Arceneaux the right price. Everything at the shop is for sale.

“There’s a lot of history,” Arceneaux says, “But it’s all centered around music. Even the pinball machine. People who are into records are into pinball.”

54 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023
Places & Faces
Matt Dye, photos by Sasha Baldwin owner, the Panorama Music Exchange

If you find something in the store that’s perfect for that out-of-town friend, The Panorama Music Exchange ships worldwide, and a lot of sales are online, which you can check out yourself on their Facebook page.

Moving forward, Arceneaux hopes to have live music on his stage in the back and to host midday CD release parties for local bands, as well as find ways to get those slightly bigger bands traveling from Houston to New Orleans to stop here and play a small, rocking set. Don’t be surprised if he eventually presses his own vinyls of those shows further down the road.

With the inventory constantly changing as new merchandise comes in and old treasures go out, you’ll never know what you might find, making each trip its own adventure. It’s also a fantastic place to get lost for an afternoon, and the perfect place to score a memory to take home with you.

The Panorama Music Exchange is open daily, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, and open until 11:00 p.m. every other night (or later).

The purpose of the evening is for families to preview the upcoming grade level, meet our faculty, and learn about next year’s curriculum. Come and find out why we are “so much more than a school.”

Join us for the 2023-2024

Middle & High Preview

(Grades 7th - 12th)

Wednesday, January 11th at 5:30pm

EDS South Campus, 5665 N. Gray Market Drive, Lake Charles, LA

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. 55

Home & Family

in Calcasieu

January is National Hobby Month – the perfect time to think about taking up a new sport, craft, or activity. Clubs connect you with people who have similar interests. They provide opportunities to get out of the house and socialize.

The Calcasieu Parish community offers plenty of options, depending on your interests. This is by no means a complete list of clubs in the region. To find a local club that matches your particular interests, do a quick Google search of your hobby in Southwest Louisiana. You just might make some new friends!


Gallery by the Lake is a group of artists who create works in acrylic and oil painting, charcoal, pencil, ink on paper, photography, mixed media, and three-dimensional paper and fabric art. They exhibit their work at Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center in Lake Charles.

Calcasieu Cut-Ups Quilt Guild gather around their favorite pastime, quilting. They meet the first Thursday of each month, 10:00 a.m., at First Baptist Church in Moss Bluff in a fellowship building located at the back of the church property. Visitors and new members welcome. They have members all ages and all levels of experienced quilters. Much of their work is made to benefit cancer victims, veterans, the homebound and elderly. They have also made Safe Sleep sacs for infants and countless masks during the pandemic.


Lake Charles Yacht Club is a sailing club that meets at their clubhouse on the far west end of North Beach. During Daylight Saving Time, they host sailboat races each Wednesday. They also often host Saturday regattas and monthly social events. No boat required to join, just an interest in sailing.

You can find the Pelican Paddlers of SWLA on their Facebook page. They are a group of kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts. They host no regular gatherings, but often post meet-up and other information on the Facebook page.

Lake Charles Power Squadron hosts boating activities, social events, learning opportunities, and other get-togethers for boaters with any type of boat (power, sail, and paddlers), novices and experienced boaters alike. No boat required.

56 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023
compiled by Angie Kay Dilmore Calcasieu Cut-Ups Quilt Guild Boating Le Chien Cookers


Lake Area Runners was the original running group in the Lake Area providing a free opportunity to attend a weekly group run in downtown Lake Charles. Over time it evolved into the not-for-profit race organization that coordinates six of the local races throughout the year and one membership run.

Five years ago, RUN337 was started to continue the promotion of an active lifestyle. They host a weekly group run with another added option during the week. It is a free, unsanctioned, all-paces friendly group that meets twice per week (Mondays from Botsky’s and Wednesdays from Crying Eagle Brewing, both at 6:00 p.m.)

Bons Temps Triathletes make triathlons fun and accessible to everyone in the Lake Area – newbie or veteran, young or old, fast or slow. Whether a first timer or a Kona qualifier, you will be encouraged and supported. Bons Temps Triathlon club was created to be a supportive, social and affordable option for triathletes and aspiring triathletes in the Lake Area. Follow them on Facebook for current events!


Service clubs offer opportunities to make a positive difference in the community. Look into the Kiwanis, Rotary, The Junior League of Lake Charles.


People in Southwest Louisiana take pride in their vehicles, and there are a variety of car clubs. Look into the Contraband Corvette Club, the Cajun Mustangers, the Seven Slot Society (jeeps), and the Antique Automobile Club of America Contraband/SWLA Chapter.


The Lake Charles Duplicate Bridge Club welcomes new members and visitors. Located at 1600 McNeese (behind Nina P’s), they host regular games on Monday and Friday at 10:00 a.m. and Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. The club is sanctioned by ACBL, the national organization for duplicate clubs. Research shows many benefits for playing bridge. Among them are intellectual and social stimulation on a routine basis.

The Lake Charles Lucky Tiles Mah Jongg Club meets at this same location.


The Gulf Coast Bird Club promotes the knowledge and conservation of birdlife, other wildlife, natural habitats and natural resources; and fosters an appreciation of our natural environment and of the significance of its influence upon human life. Founded in 1983, they provide educational opportunities to the general public and other organizations regarding bird life. Anyone interested in birding and nature are welcome to attend their educational meetings and participate in their field trips September through May. The club meets September through May on the second Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. in Frasch Hall on the McNeese State University Campus. Meetings include presentations on birding and nature. Field trip itineraries are announced at the Thursday meeting. The club also hosts a monthly Beginners Bird Walk at Sam Houston Jones State Park on the Fourth Saturday starting at 8:00 a.m.

Southwest Louisiana Master Naturalists promote awareness, understanding, and respect of Louisiana’s natural resources using unbiased, accurate, scientific information provided by a trained corps of volunteers. These volunteers provide education, outreach, and services dedicated to the conservation and management of our ecosystems. The focus of the SWLA Master Naturalists Program is on the plants, animals and habitats found in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis and Vernon parishes. They host regular field trips and special Certification Classes each Spring.

Master Gardeners are members of the local community who take an active interest in their lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers and gardens. They are enthusiastic, willing to learn and help others, and able to communicate with diverse groups of people. They have special training in horticulture. In exchange for training, Master Gardeners contribute time as volunteers. Any Louisiana resident with an interest in horticulture and a desire to volunteer for community service may apply to the Master Gardener Training Program.

Other gardening club options are the Diggers and Weeders Garden Club of Lake Charles or the Calcasieu Orchid Society and the Lake Charles Bonsai Society

The Southwest Chapter of the Louisiana Dutch Oven Society (locally known as Le Chien Cookers Dutch Oven Group) use camp style black pots to cook their favorite dishes. Their monthly Dutch Oven Gathering (DOG) is held at Sam Houston Jones State Park on the fourth Saturday of each month and open to all, either to cook or to sample. 57
Orchid Club Bird Watching

ST. LOUIS CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL Buys Property in East Lake Charles

Land has been purchased for a new home for St. Louis Catholic High School — the next step in its recovery from the 2020 hurricanes. The new site is a 47-acre tract on Corbina Road in east Lake Charles.

St. Louis Catholic, the Diocese of Lake Charles’ lone Catholic high school, was largely destroyed by Hurricane Laura in 2020. It has operated as a temporary campus in modular buildings in the time since.

“We are excited to announce this purchase for several reasons,” said the Rev. Nathan Long, rector of St. Louis Catholic High School. “Practically, because this means we can begin adding structures the very moment the funding becomes available. Symbolically, because this means the future is wide open to St. Louis Catholic. We will have 47 acres on which to grow and form lifelong Saints.”

With the school’s current stormdamaged campus limited to approximately 15.5 acres, the new, larger property offers opportunities to expand.

“Curriculum development requires the right facilities; ministry opportunities call for a beautiful worship space; and reaching more students means more classrooms,” Long said. “All of this will soon be possible. We will all be blessed to have a school that truly addresses future needs: one that can navigate the tough cultural waters ahead, allow for growth over time, and honor God through worship in a full-sized chapel.”

The recovery process has taken more than two years to reach this milestone.

“Just as with our black-eyed Saint mascot, it’s not the challenges and obstacles that define us — it’s how we refuse to give up the fight,” said Mia Touchet, principal.

“That’s what makes this place so special.”

In the new year, the milestone — the acquisition of the property for the new campus — will be commemorated with a “ground blessing” and community celebration at the site.

“While this process has not been comfortable or easy, I believe that in the end it will have been worth the wait and challenges,” Long said. “No longer will we have doubts such as ‘Can we do it?’ now that we have the space. We would always much rather say yes to our students’ educational and formational needs.”

“Future Saints and their families will look back and recognize the dedication and perseverance of this school community in making this project become a reality,” Touchet said. “Like the leaders from our three founding schools in 1971 — St. Charles Academy, Landry Memorial and Sacred Heart High School — we envision a bright future for generations to come.”

58 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023 Home & Family

Foster Grandparent Program

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Louisiana is currently enrolling volunteers for the AmeriCorps Foster Grandparent Program (FGP). Foster Grandparent volunteers work in a classroom setting one-on-one with students who struggle with reading and math. The FGP program serves schools in Lake Charles, Sulphur, Iowa, Crowley, Jennings, and Westlake, and is actively expanding to rural areas.

Along with practical hands-on work, grandparents also help boost the self-esteem and self-confidence of their students by regularly praising their efforts and accomplishments, no matter how small the achievement may be. For many of the children in the program, this may be the only praise they receive throughout their day, apart from their teachers. Helping children reach their full potential and eventually realize their dreams is the goal of our teachers and parents. Foster Grandparents work beside these people, giving the extra support and help some children desperately need.

For a child who struggles to learn, it is a wonderful thing for them to have a foster grandparent sit with them while they work, not to judge but to encourage and help them to achieve their best.

Funded by AmeriCorps Seniors, Foster Grandparents receive a small, non-taxable hourly stipend that does not affect any government benefits they may already be receiving.

Foster Grandparents can work 20 to 40 hours per week, receive mileage reimbursement, and receive paid time off for holidays.

Those interested in becoming a Foster Grandparent must be age 55 or older, capable of working a minimum of 20 hours/week unless non-stipend, both enjoy and be physically able to work with children in a classroom setting, and able to pass a multi-level background check.

For more information visit their website at or contact Kathy Richard, program director, at krichard@ or call 337-478-5437 ext. 104.


5:30pm - PreK 2, PreK 3, 1st Grade & 2nd Grade 6:30pm

4th Grade

The purpose of the evening is for families to preview the upcoming grade level, meet our faculty, and learn about next year’s curriculum. Come and find out why we are “so much more than a school.”

EDS North Campus, 59
Join us for the 2023-2024
Preview Night
Parent LA
January 24th
- 3rd &
Wednesday, January 25th 5:30pm - PreK 4, 5th & 6th Grade 6:30pm - Kindergarten
Street, Lake Charles,

Make a BIG Difference

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

jeff, 12 years old

Jeff has been waiting for his big brother for over one year. Jeff would love to share his interest in locomotives with a big brother. Someone that is willing to learn with him at the DeQuincy Railroad Museum or go on an adventure and catch a train ride at the Southern Forest Heritage Museum. Jeff is also looking for his next gaming opponent. A healthy dose of friendly competition, and a loving big brother, just might be what Jeff needs to reach his biggest possible future.

gavin, 10 years old

Gavin has waited for almost one year for a big brother to take him to the best hunting and fishing spots. Gavin is a true outdoorsman and hopes that someone is interested in exploring sportsman’s paradise together. With so many local opportunities, like Sam Houston Jones State Park and the Creole Nature Trail, it doesn’t take much distance to have the perfect day inland or out on the water with Gavin. You can pass on the outdoorsman values to Gavin that will set him up for a lifetime of success.

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

60 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023
4135 Common Street, Lake Charles 1509 N Pine Street, DeRidder 337-478-5437
Apply today to become a Big.


We are proud to have been voted Best Landscape Company nine times in local polls. 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. 61
Cobra Road, Lake Charles (337) 478-3836
7am – 4pm
8am – 2pm

Style & Beauty

Pantone Names the Color of 2023 Viva Magenta!

Viva Magenta will be the shade that shapes the year of 2023, according to the experts at Pantone. Described as a color that is rich, regal and full of life, it is an “animated red that encourages experimentation and self-expression without restraint, an electrifying, boundaryless shade that is manifesting as a stand-out statement.”

The shade strikes a mix between warm and cold tones, appearing occasionally more red and other times leaning more toward fuchsia.

“In this age of technology, we look to draw inspiration from nature and what is real,” said Pantone Color Institute’s Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman.

“PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta descends from the red family and is inspired by the red of cochineal, one of the most precious dyes belonging to the natural dye family as well as one of the strongest and brightest the world has known.”

With the 2023 shade now official and average monthly searches in the U.S. on Google for ‘magenta clothing’ at 390%, ‘magenta colored dresses’ at 720% and ‘magenta pants’ at 590%, it’s likely that fashion designers will draw inspiration from this and we expect runways will be full of magenta next year.

To help incorporate this new shade into your wardrobe, luxury cashmere brand N.Peal suggests these five different ways to style it.

Tailored trousers

If simplicity is your style, invest in a pair of relaxed-fit magenta pants and team them with a fitted t-shirt. If you’re going for an everyday appearance, this is a fantastic approach to incorporate the new color as it’s more subtle. Put on your favorite coat, long or short, and boom! You have the ideal combination of smart, cozy, and stylish attire.


Knitwear in magenta is a fantastic opportunity to try out this new fad. Style over the top of an elegant dress or a pair of jeans to keep the ensemble more understated. Or wear with your favorite skirt or tailored pants to create a more bold appearance.

Magenta cashmere jumpers

As it’s the new color for 2023, you want to ensure that the clothes you wear will see you through. Jumpers can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. For a nighttime appearance, add heels and your favorite pair of trousers. For a daytime look, choose a pair of light or dark


If you’re unsure about how to wear this new color, let your accessories speak for you! You can subtly draw attention to this trend by using magenta in your accessories. Choose a pair of shoes or a bag in magenta to go with your ensembles, and you’re good to go!


Makeup on a Mission

Clever beauty gurus have long known to choose face products infused with sunscreen to protect their skin as they beautify their face. Now modern science is infusing a whole range of makeup hybrid products with skin boosting ingredients that protect and improve the skin without any extra effort as you rush to get ready in the morning. Check product labels for these skin boosting ingredients that deliver immediate results plus positive long-term benefits.


Dermatologists say it can minimize pores, brighten, reduce inflammation and redness, and reduce hyperpigmentation all while hydrating your skin. The form of Vitamin B3 is especially beneficial to those with sensitive skin. Look for it in skin loving makeup products like it Cosmetics CC+ Nude Glow Lightweight Foundation and Tarte Hydroflex Serum Foundation.

Hyaluronic Acid

Delivers an immediate plumping effect while also improving the look of fine lines and wrinkles over time. The substance occurs naturally in our bodies and is effective because it holds a thousand times its weight in water. This superstar ingredient is especially beneficial for aging skin that loses moisture. Try Ilia Super Serum – the award-winning skin tint features high levels of hyaluronic acid plus SPF 40 and other skin plumping ingredients and antioxidants. You can also pick up an inexpensive serum (The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2%, $7.50) and add a few drops to your favorite foundation for the same effect. For plumper lips, try Glossier Ultralip Hydrating Shine + Color and Ilia Lip Wrap Reviving Balm.


Derived from the babchi seed, this retinol alternative delivers all the anti-aging results with none of the harshness. In fact, a study found no difference in the efficacy of bakuchiol versus traditional retinol but significantly less irritation. It works by increasing skin cell turnover, boosting collagen production, and improving discoloration and uneven skin tone. Find it in products like Purlisse Ageless Glow BB Cream (which also includes skin loving collagen and Vitamin C).


Powered by jojoba oil and other natural oils, beauty balms are the newest product category to deliver color and hydration to our skin. They hydrate, act as an antioxidant to protect skin from environmental damage and offer antiinflammatory properties. Jones Road Miracle Balm (developed by beauty icon Bobbi Brown) soothes, moisturizes, and gives your skin a lit-from-within glow. It can be worn alone or on top of foundation and is especially great for mature skin. Chanel Lip and Cheek Balm adds a touch of color while red camellia oil protects the skin barrier and boosts hydration.


Often compared to hyaluronic acid, squalane mimics your skin’s natural oils which makes it an excellent emollient for skin and hair. Sourced from olives and rice bran, squalane also has a natural antioxidant which can slow the signs of aging. Look for it in products like Summer Fridays Sheer Skin Tint or e.l.f. Halo Glow Liquid Filter. For lips, Haus Labs Lip Oil is infused with squalane, prickly pear oil, and collagen – all ingredients which attract moisture. You can also find squalane in hair oils to moisturize dry tresses.

Brow and lash boosters

Mascara and eyebrow products do a great job of making your lashes and arches appear fuller and longer. Now they can deliver more permanent results too while promoting long-term growth. Look for eye makeup products infused with biotin, argan oil, and jojoba oil to protect against hair loss and speed up the growth process.

Try Thrive Causemetics Instant Brow Fix, it Cosmetics Hello Lashes+ Volumizing Mascara with Lash Serum, or Kjaer Weis FeatherTouch Brow Gel.

Magazine for Better Living • January 2023 Style & Beauty

Lips read my

Our lips may be sealed, but what we are saying is loud and clear. After more than two years of bare lips and record-low lipstick sales during the pandemic, lipstick is back in vogue in a big way in 2023.

The “lipstick index”, an economic indicator term coined by Leonard Lauder, Chairman of Estée Lauder, during the 2001 recession, did not hold up well during the pandemic. Historically, lipstick sales have increased during hard times, as people have opted to buy lipstick in lieu of other cosmetics. But during the pandemic, the lipstick index failed, as lipstick enthusiasts everywhere tried with no avail to wear lipstick under their masks.

Now lipstick is back, and we’re making up for lost time with bold and varied lipstick trends that have one thing in common—expression. While the latest lipstick trends are all over the color palette, they all focus on ways to highlight and luminate those beautiful smiles.

Va, Va Vinyl

As hot as vinyl records once were, vinyl lipstick is all the rage in 2023. This highly-pigmented, weightless lipstick goes on smooth with a high shine and a multidimensional look that is impossible to miss. The trend is making high-volume waves on Instagram, as makeup artists and bloggers shine bright in vinyl.

One of the reasons people love vinyl so much is that it stays on all day and can withstand a lot of wear. According to WGSN’s 2022: The Future of Lipstick trend report, people will continue to adapt the way they wear lipstick, opting for formulations that offer long wear and ease of application.

Stains and Ink

Lip stains are also trending in 2023. According to celebrity makeup artist Kate Synnott, lip stains provide a lightweight texture that is ideal for sticky situations, such as workouts or mask wearing. Stains are available in a variety of shades and provide an all-day wear look that doesn’t budge. Similarly, lip ink is becoming popular, offering semi-permanent lip color that will last all day and is 100 percent smear-proof and water proof.

and stain formulas are huge in 2023, more classic mattes and clear nude glosses are still popular as well. 65
The biggest trend for 2023 is what works for you—bright, shiny, bold and classic. We’re all smiles now!

Solutions for life The Gift of Goodbye

Welcome to 2023! I have a feeling it’s going to be a great year, and a lot of that has to do with my sense that people are starting to feel some normalcy returning. What a crazy few years it’s been! While we were all trying to deal with a pandemic and crazy weather events, I noticed people were starting to hang on to things. That panic we felt from toilet paper shortages didn’t help the situation, and some people became full-out hoarders of anything and everything.

I’m hopeful that as things settle down, we can all begin to look around us and see the things we have been blindly holding on to that no longer serve us. Initially, those things might have brought us some sort of comfort, and we were all searching for reassurance and comfort wherever we could find it. But, reaching our new “normal” means we must reevaluate how we have been living life and probably make some changes.

On that topic, one of my favorite essays is “Let It Go” by Bishop T.D. Jakes. In it, he talks about the need to stop trying to hold on to people and things that are not serving you. My favorite lines are: “You’ve got to know when it’s over. Let me tell you something, I’ve got the gift of goodbye. It’s the tenth spiritual gift. I believe in goodbye.”

So, this month’s article is all about saying goodbye to the people/places/things that are keeping you from being your best self. Let’s take a look:

People . Are there people in your life who are no longer healthy for you to spend time with? Do you feel less energetic/happy and more exhausted when you spend time with them? Do you spend more time worrying about them and checking on them than they do you? Healthy relationships are reciprocal. You both invest in the relationship, build each other up, call each other out, and support each other. If you have relationships, be they friends or family, that don’t do that, it is time to re-position them. Some of them might need to go. Others might stay, but you begin to back off on how much time and energy you are going to invest in them. Stop giving more of yourself than you are getting in return.

Places. Are you spending time in the places where your priorities lie? If your priority is self-care, family, fun, or

!from Solutions Counseling & EAP

career advancement, is that where you invest in your precious and limited time? Commit to re-balancing things. If work is not your priority, then stop letting it bleed over into your private life. Quit talking about work, ruminating about work, and generally letting work ooze into every aspect of your life.

If you have other places you must spend your time but don’t really want to, stop complaining about it and dreading it. We all have places we feel we must go but do not look forward to, such as the funeral home, hospital or nursing home. Remembering that no one wants to be in the situation of needing any of those places can be helpful. You are there because you feel it is the right place to be and to support someone you care about. Having a good attitude will help the time pass faster, help the time be more pleasant, and you will be gone before you know it.

Things. This is my favorite place to use the “gift of goodbye.” Take a look at how attached you are to the things you have. How much time are you spending coveting things you don’t have? Begin to look around you and notice how much stuff you have. Do you truly need it, or has it become something more than a “need” to you? Does the amount of stuff you have represent how successful you are? One thing many of us learned during the weather events is that stuff is not nearly as important as being safe and alive. Many of you haven’t seen your “stuff” in over two years because it is still in a storage container. Isn’t it amazing that you have been okay even though you didn’t have all those things? The acquisition of things does not make you a success. What is it time for you to say goodbye to?

Speaking of goodbyes, the time has come for me to say goodbye to you. After almost 20 years of writing this article for Thrive magazine, I feel it is time for someone else to get a turn. Thank you to the partners of Thrive for allowing me to write on whatever topic I wished and always being supportive. Thank you to you, dear reader, for allowing me to share my views, discuss uncomfortable topics, and gently nudge you to re-think some things (okay, sometimes not so gently). It has truly been an honor and a privilege. I wish you a wonderful 2023. Goodbye!

66 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023 67
68 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • January 2023 Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. Global Asset. Management Group is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. 337-419-1855 4904 Big Lake Rd./Lake Charles, LA 70605 From left to right: Keely Pastor, Client Concierege; Sasha Buxton, Director of Client Services; Chad Babin, AAMS® Investment Account Executive, RJFS; Tim Andreas, AIF® President/CEO, Global Asset Management Group, Investment Account Officer, RJFS; Tammy Andreas, Office Administrator/Marketing; Alexander Reese, Investment Account Executive, RJFS; Lauren Biven, Marketing and Graphics Director; • Financial Planning • Retirement Planning • Estate Planning • College Education Planning • 401 K & Retirement Plans • Rollovers • Traditional & Roth IRA’s • Stocks and Bonds • Mutual Funds & ETF’s • Fixed and Variable Annuities • Life Insurance • Long Term Care Insurance Your Full Service Financial Group Years Serving SWLA Years as an Independent Advisor 10 22
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