Thrive July 2023

Page 52

Back to School JULY 2023 Louisiana College Guide Alternative Medicine Options in SWLA Newcomer’s Guide to the Lake Area 2023 PREVIEW Special Sections also in this issue BESPOKE HAT CO. COOL JOBS patton's western wear family works
2 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 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 •

pandemic created

opportunity for me to get know my clients on a more personal level,” Tonya says. “It also allowed me to deepen my relationship with our clients by getting to know some of their family members. Weathering the pandemic has added a dynamic dimension to business.”

Several months after the hurricanes, Tonya other office personnel were able to enter office and obtain a few personal items from what was once their office in the tower. Her home also suffered substantial damage. She initially evacuated and temporarily relocated Florida where she stayed with relatives and remained accessible to clients.

Wealth Management | Investment Planning

Investment Planning | Retirement

phenomenal people through these challenging circumstances. This community’s spirit is so very strong in helping one another. My husband and daughter returned to Lake Charles the day after Laura came through. My daughter shared how our neighborhood came together, cleared street debris, cut trees off of one another’s homes, and just checked on one another. Helping others is what helped us to persevere and remain motivated.”


The Griffith Financial Group is Embracing Change

“As an advisor, I knew that the people I care most about were depending on me, even if to talk. I called to check on them, to listen participate in whatever conversations they needed to have at that time.”

“We are known for working side by side every day. Our relationship focused approach is based on compassion and candor, and for putting our clients first – always.”


successful as you are, we know there’s still more you to do. We’ve been helping our clients for more than 125 years, caring for more than $1.4 trillion of their hard- earned assets. Find out why so many people trust our Financial Advisors to help them manage their wealth the care it deserves. us today.

successful as you are, we know there’s still more you to do. We’ve been helping our clients for more than 125 years, caring for more than $1.4 trillion of their hard- earned assets. Find out why so many people trust our Financial Advisors to help them manage their wealth the care it deserves. us today.

A year after Hurricane Laura, and the Griffith Financial Group is still waiting for a new office space. Wells Fargo Advisors provided Tonya and office personnel a storage facility in Lake Charles, and she continues to capably and competently advise clients from her home. Yet her focus remains on moving forward. “Griffith Financial Group of Wells Fargo Advisors will continue to serve our clients, strengthen our relationships, and assist our clients and community while they get back on their feet.”


Investment and Insurance Products: NO Bank Guarantee u MAY Lose Value

Investment and Insurance Products: NO Bank Guarantee u MAY Lose Value

Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells


rights reserved.

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.

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.

reserved. 3 (337) 439-9081 2070 East Walnut Suite 101, Lake Charles, Louisiana 70601 The
Advisors Wealth Management | Investment Planning | Retirement Investment and Insurance Products: NO Bank Guarantee u MAY Lose Value
there’s still more you
clients for more than
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. © 2015 reserved. Tonya Griffith, AAMS® First Vice PresidentAccredited Asset Management One Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, LA
(337) 439-9081
Griffith Financial Group of Wells Fargo
successful as you are, we know
to do. We’ve been helping our
125 years, caring for more than $1.4 trillion of their
earned assets. Find out why so many people trust our Financial Advisors to help them manage their wealth the care it deserves. us today.
Griffith Financial Group of Wells Fargo Advisors
1424 Ryan Street, Suite
Planning | Retirement
and Insurance Products: NO Bank Guarantee u MAY Lose Value
Wealth Management | Investment
successful as you are, we know there’s still more you to do. We’ve been helping our clients for more than 125 years, caring for more than $1.4 trillion of their hard- earned
Find out why so many people trust our Financial Advisors to help them manage their wealth the care it deserves. us
Tonya Griffith, AAMS® First Vice PresidentAccredited Asset Management One Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, LA
(337) 439-9081
Fargo & Company. © 2015
Griffith Financial Group of Wells Fargo Advisors
Wealth Management
Tonya Griffith, AAMS® First Vice President Accredited Asset Management One Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles,
© 2015
LA 70629 (337) 439-9081
Griffith Financial Group of Wells Fargo Advisors
© 2015
Tonya Griffith,
First Vice President Accredited Asset Management One Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles,
LA 70629
Griffith Financial Group of Wells Fargo Advisors
Tiffany Green,
Tonya Griffith, AAMS® First
Investment and Insurance Products: NOT FDIC Insured NO Bank Guarantee May Lose Value Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo and Company. 1120-03035
Client Associate
Vice President Investment officer

Thrive is designed for people focused on living a happy, healthy life, one that is balanced, full of energy and contentment. Thrive readers want to make the most of every day and to be successful in all areas of their lives –family, health, home and career. Submitted

are welcome. Thrive assumes no responsibility for




4 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023
articles and photos
Henry Editors and Publishers Kristy Como Armand
materials and does
guarantee any submissions. Managing
Taylor Trahan
Director Barbara VanGossen
and Layout Bethany
Barbara VanGossen
Parker Austin Rains
Manager Katie McDaniel Stevenson Advertising Sales 337.310.2099 Submissions 16 28 40 @thriveswla | Contents Regular Features 22 Recovery Spotlight 27 Who’s News 54 Family Works 56 Cool Jobs In This Issue Mind & Body 6-10 SPECIAL SECTION: 12 Celebrating 30 Years of Strength and Wellness 15 World-Class Orthopaedic Center Opens in Lake Charles Places & Faces 16-20 SPECIAL SECTION: 24 LEAD Councils: SHS and WMHS Wining & Dining 28-39 SPECIAL SECTION: Home & Family 40-51 COVER STORY: 52 Just Imagine SWLA Style & Beauty 54 Family Works: Patton's Western Wear 56 Cool Jobs: Bespoke Hat Co. Money & Career 58-64 SPECIAL SECTION: Alternative Medicine Options in SWLA Newcomer’s Guide to the the Lake Area 2023 PREVIEW Louisiana College Guide 5

Mind & Body Alternative Medicine Options in SWLA

The term alternative medicine is subjective and, from doctor to doctor, can vary. Here in the United States, it generally refers to treatment options for disease that aren’t considered mainstream and typically don’t involve pharmaceuticals. Harnessing the power of natural components and the human body itself, practitioners in Southwest Louisiana are bringing new options to patients.

Dr. Parker LaVigne, Cardiologist

Imperial Health is proud to welcome cardiologist Parker LaVigne, MD, to our medical staff.

Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, Dr. LaVigne earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Mississippi in Oxford, and his Medical Degree from Louisiana State University Health in Shreveport. He completed an Internal Medicine Residency at LSU Health in Shreveport and a Fellowship in Cardiology at HonorHealth Heart Group in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology.

Dr. LaVigne will be joining Drs. Fastabend, Turner, Mulhearn, LeBeau, Foster, Goodwin and Sugathan in the Cardiology Department of Imperial Health.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. LaVigne, call (337) 312-8281. Accepts all major insurances and Medicare.

501 Dr. Michael DeBakey Dr., 3rd Floor | Lake Charles | (337) 312-8281
of our Physician Team
Meet the Newest Member
6 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023

Soak Up the Sounds for Better Health

We all know how relaxing a warm bath can be, but there’s another type of bathing that can ease stress and anxiety, bring peace of mind, and promote healing – sound bathing.

Lissee Spiller, certified sound healing facilitator says, “Sound baths allow our minds and bodies to rest and recharge so that we can function and move through life in a calm, focused, and balanced way.”

According to Spiller, sound bathing has been around for thousands of years. “Evidence of using sound for healing was found in Egyptian pyramids. Ancient cultures used different sound instruments for healing, as well as ceremonies. Native Americans used flutes and drums; the Aboriginal peoples used didgeridoos (long, large flute like instruments).”

Also called sound immersion or sound healing, this time-honored practice can have both mental and physical health benefits.

A 2020 research review sourced from the National Institutes of Health indicated that sound immersion with Tibetan singing bowls decreased tension, anger, and confusion and improved mood in study participants. Sound immersion has also been shown to reduce pain and improve blood pressure and heart rate.

Spiller says that while sound healing has long been known to help people, it has only recently been scientifically studied for its benefits and become more mainstream. “Both the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic use sound to reduce pain and lower anxiety in patients. Sound is used in hospice care and cancer survivor support groups with great success.”

Sound immersion is different from simply listening to music. A session includes guided meditation by a trained professional who uses various sound healing instruments that produce deep, overlapping vibrations such as gongs, bells, Tibetan bowls, drums, flutes, chimes, and quartz crystal bowls infused with gemstones and minerals while participants lie in a comfortable position. The key is not only hearing but “feeling” the sound vibrations. Sound bathing is a full body listening experience where the mind and body are immersed into sounds and frequencies from the instruments. Spiller uses a “binaural beats”

technique that creates an illusion in the brain by listening to two tones with slightly different frequencies at the same time. “This immersion allows all the senses to hear and feel the healing frequencies, thus balancing the body and mind into a calmer state. In this relaxed state we can respond to life’s situations instead of constantly reacting. The benefits of a sound immersion class are felt in the mind and body well after the class has ended. It is something that must be experienced in person for a full understanding and feeling of the benefits.”

Spiller adds that there is no single correct way to experience a sound bath. “Each experience is unique to and for the participant. It is about what resonates with a participant in that moment in time. Our bodies know what they need to balance themselves. By allowing ourselves to rest in the sounds, we give our body a chance to calm and balance itself.”

Lissee Spiller offers sound immersion sessions across South Louisiana and locally at Edgemont Healing Center, 1800 Kirkman St., Lake Charles. For more information on sound immersion or to check Spiller’s class schedule, go to or find her on Facebook. 7
Sara Auster, a New York based sound practitioner, leads a class. Lissee Spiller prepares to facilitate a sound immersion.

By and large, trends indicate that people are becoming more aware of their health and the impact that medical treatment options can have on it – dentistry is no exception. There’s a need for practitioners who offer specialized services that go beyond traditional dentistry and utilize safer, less invasive, and less toxic treatment options.

“Many people are aware of the tooth-body connection, and they are looking for the least toxic treatment options,” says Dr. Michelle Corcoran, owner and dentist at Peppermint Sage Dental Wellness. “I always tell my patients that God is the greatest creator of teeth. I cannot fix your teeth as well as He made them, but I can try to use the safest and most biocompatible options available to us while correcting any problems I see.”

Biological dentistry isn’t an attempt to stake out a new specialty for dentistry – it’s a philosophy that can be applied to all facets of dental health. Practitioners are always seeking the safest, least toxic way to accomplish the

Beyond Your Smile An Introduction to Biological Dentistry

treatment needs of the patient, and they’re doing so while minimizing the impact on the patient’s whole-body health. Education is a big part of that. “Biological dentistry emphasizes the prevention of oral diseases,” says Dr. Corcoran. “It focuses on educating patients about how their oral health impacts their overall health.”

Treatment options available include things like dental ozone therapy, silver diamine fluoride, BPAFree white fillings, and ICON resin infiltrate. “I actually got started down the path to biological

dentistry at a conference focused on dental ozone therapy,” says Dr. Corcoran. “My eyes were opened up to a different approach to restoring patients’ teeth and helping them maintain overall oral health.”

One of the most common assessments being performed in the office today are Airway assessments. “So many people suffer from sleep disordered breathing and it can wreck havoc on your daytime life too,” says Dr. Corcoran. “When they come in for that initial assessment, I am looking at their bite, TMJ, checking for tongue ties, swallowing patterns, and asking about snoring habits.” In children, sleep disordered breathing can cause bed wetting, mouth breathing, teeth grinding, or showing signs of ADHD. Patients who are not compliant with the use of their CPAP may also be looking for an alternative option to get a goods night rest.

Treating the health of the mouth through preventative and restorative treatments is the same as in traditional dentistry. However, advances in modern dentistry have illuminated new, more natural materials and procedures for treatment. “My kids are probably the key

8 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023 Mind & Body | Alternative Medicine

factor that led me down this alternative dental care path,” Dr. Corcoran says. “For instance, that’s how I found out about the incredible benefits of silver diamine fluoride, and its use in treating early cavities. As a mother, I want the best care for my family. And as a dentist, I want the best care for your family, too.”

Peppermint Sage Dental Wellness is located at 632 W. McNeese St. in Lake Charles. To learn more about their services or schedule an appointment, visit or call 337-478-2960. 9 2023 American Press People’s Choice of SWLA Award Best Bank VOTING OPEN JULY 15 – AUG 14. one vote allowed per day.

COUNT ON CANNABIS How Medical Marijuana is Treating Patients

In 2019, Louisiana legalized and began allowing for the dispensing of medical marijuana under the recommendation of physicians. Nine pharmacies were awarded a license from the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy to distribute and dispense medical marijuana to qualified patients. Medicis Pharmacy, located in Lake Charles, was awarded the license in the Southwest region which includes Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jefferson Davis parishes.

Later, in August of 2020, medical marijuana cleared another hurdle when physicians became able to recommend cannabis for any illness that they considered debilitating to their patients. Dr. John Condos, owner of Medicis Pharmacy, says while there were misconceptions in the beginning, the Lake Charles based pharmacy has grown to be a trusted and needed resource for the community. “Our facility is safe, clean, and staffed with knowledgeable people,” he says. “There isn’t a stigma, as many assume, around this type of treatment. If you think it may be for you, try it out.”

While cannabis is not able to cure illness, its expansive properties have proven to help patients become less dependent on harsher medications and provide a higher quality of life with the relief of debilitating symptoms. “We are seeing patients be able to remove several or all pharmaceuticals from their regimen and replace it with cannabis,” says James Thibodeaux, pharmacist at people get their lives back – better sleep, pain relief, increased appetite, reduction

There are many reasons a


Some common ailments include chronic pain, glaucoma, Parkinson’s, cancer, seizure disorders, PTSD, and muscular dystrophy. Just as with regular medicines, medical marijuana is dispensed under recommendation of a physician and through a licensed pharmacist and pharmacy techs. “When you go into the pharmacy, there is someone available to speak with you regarding dosage, drug interactions, and any other questions you may have,” Dr. Condos says. “The products being dispensed are tested and safe.” Cannabis, CBD, and THC are available in various formats – including but not limited to flower, oils, creams, edibles, and vapes.

The battle for legalization of medicinal marijuana wasn’t a short one and, even after passing, still contained a huge educational component for the public. “We are seeing more and more local physicians recommending usage because they believe in it and their patients are inquiring about it,” Dr. Condos says. “It’s not taboo, it’s not dirty. It’s something in the treatment toolbelt that is impacting lives in a meaningful way.” Telehealth evaluations are even available for those wishing to consult with a physician.

Medicis Pharmacy is located in at 1747 Imperial Boulevard in Lake Charles. Recently announced plans will also bring them to Jennings. For more information, visit or call 337-420-8420.

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Thirty years ago, the concept of a hospitalowned fitness center was unconventional. However, West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital (WCCH) sought a new, proactive approach to wellness, one that embraced traditional medical interventions and sought to adopt a holistic approach to health alongside disease management and treatments.

In 1993, Dynamic Dimensions Fitness Centers of WCCH was born, embarking on a journey to empower patients and the community to focus on their health and fitness. This idea has driven Dynamic Fitness’ unique identity in the local wellness landscape and is a key differentiator among other facilities in the community. Exercise has long been recognized as a cornerstone of good health and longevity. Additionally, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being are just as important when focusing on one’s overall health.

“At Dynamic Fitness, we want to help you train for life,” says Suzy Trahan, LDN, RDN, ACSM certified exercise physiologist, ACE certified personal trainer, and director of Dynamic Fitness. “We know that everyone is on their own journey, so we approach health and fitness in a unique, personalized and transformative way. Our model is to establish a deep, meaningful connection with our members that empowers them to create change wherever they are in the process.”

Over the past three decades, the hospital fitness center has embraced innovation and adapted to the ever-evolving landscape of health and wellness. Staying at the forefront of advancements, the center has introduced cutting-edge fitness equipment, such as their Cybex equipment that’s designed with biomechanics in mind for all age groups and functional training equipment that allows for three-dimensional training. They’ve incorporated the latest wellness trends, such as the popular addition of MOSSA® professional group fitness programming in 2004 and demonstrated their commitment to members’ ongoing success in the gym and on their personal health journeys by having a muscle activation technique specialist, strength and conditioning specialists and a medical fitness specialist on staff who work closely with full-service members. Dynamic Fitness has programming for the kids too — at any time throughout the year, there are various youth training and education programs available to get kids and teens moving and excited about their health and wellness.

Christi Kingsley, chief human resources officer of WCCH, says the team at Dynamic Fitness have continued to honor the early goals of the fitness center — establishing and providing a well-equipped facility, recruiting highly trained professionals, and offering an

inviting and family-centric space that allows people to pursue their path to wellness with ease.

From its inception, Dynamic Fitness has placed a strong emphasis on wellness and health, rather than a particular size or shape. “Every individual’s wellness journey is unique. People have varying capabilities and starting points,” says Trahan. “Some prefer group classes, while others thrive on individual workouts. Some thrive in high-energy atmospheres, while others seek a calm and quiet space. We cater to all these preferences through our diverse group

12 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023 Mind & Body

Summer Color is Hot!

If the summer heat is making your landscape look a little drab, our fully-stocked retail nursery is blooming with color. Stop by to pick up trees, shrubs and bedding plants. If you need help with planning and installation, our team can help. We’ll even deliver!

VOTE FOR US IN THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS for Best Landscape Company and Best Plant Nursery:

fitness offerings and wide range of standalone equipment.”

Trahan, who has been with WCCH since 1998, Dynamic Fitness since 2003, and has been the director since 2010, exhibits unwavering dedication to wellness and fitness. Her commitment to helping members achieve their fitness goals is evident. “One of the most rewarding aspects of being part of the Dynamic Fitness family is assisting individuals in finding their motivation for wellness,” says Trahan. “It’s the key element that drives discipline and fosters a desire to make time for exercise amidst busy schedules. Once someone discovers their motivation, there are no limits to what they can achieve!”

Ensuring that the fitness staff is trained and certified is of utmost importance. Trahan emphasizes, “Since the beginning, we have prioritized having credentialed and certified instructors and trainers to offer the highest level of fitness instruction. By maintaining these certifications and continuously meeting their requirements, we ensure that we provide up-to-date techniques and wellness information supported by solid research.”

The team at Dynamic Fitness is eager to partner with individuals on their journey to wellness, promoting a healthier and more vibrant life. For more information, visit 13
5005 Cobra Road, Lake Charles | (337) 478-3836 M-F: 7am – 4pm | Sat: 8am – 2pm (Seasonal Hours)
Call us today at (337) 990-5621 or visit our website to find out more information. 4141 Common St., Lake Charles, LA 70601 (337) 990-5621 TODAY'S THE DAY! Over 100 Five Star Reviews On Google! • All Orthopedic Needs • Pelvic Health Specialists • Dry Needling • Facial Pain/TMJ • Free Discovery Visit
Co-Owner: Katherine Stewart, PT Co-Owner: Ashley Hornsby, PT

Only 50% of U.S. men say they consider getting an annual checkup.


Physical Exam

Blood Pressure Screening

Cholesterol Test

EKG Diabetes Screening

Lung Screening (depends on individual risk factors)

Prostate Exam

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Bone Density Test

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Imaging

U.S. Men Ages 18 and Older:

• 13.2% are in fair or poor health.

• 30.9% report drinking 25 drinks in one day, at least once in the past year.

• 28.3% men meet the federal physical activity guideline for aerobic and muscle strengthening activity.

• 13.1% currently smoke cigarettes.

U.S. Men Ages 20 and Older:

• 40.5% are obese.

• 51.9% have hypertension.


14 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023
Talk to your doctor. It may be time for a screening. To find a doctor, visit or call 800.494.5264
20+ 30+ 40+ 50+ 60+ MEN: Take control of your

Joint Replacement Center of Louisiana AND Compass Surgical Partners

Surgery Center in Lake Charles Open World-Class Orthopaedic

The Joint Replacement Center of Louisiana, the first and only ambulatory surgery center (ASC) in Southwest Louisiana to focus exclusively on joint replacement surgery, celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 20. The new 8,580-foot medical facility was designed to provide patients in the region with access to world-class orthopedic surgical care in a safe and convenient outpatient setting.

The Joint Replacement Center of Louisiana is a collaboration between local board certified orthopaedic surgeons, Dr. Jonathan Foret, Dr. Steven Hale, and Dr. George J. Trappey IV, and Compass Surgical Partners, an independent, fullservice ASC management partner. Dr. John Noble Jr. and Dr. Michael Garitty, board certified orthopaedic surgeons, also have surgical privileges at the Center.

“Our ultimate goal in opening the Joint Replacement Center of Louisiana is to ensure patients have access to the highest standard of orthopedic surgical techniques and equipment,” said Dr. Hale. “Being able to provide this level of patient care in a comfortable, cost-effective setting is a meaningful advancement for our community.”

Located at 5150 Robotics Lane in Lake Charles, the facility has three operating suites, all highly customized for patients undergoing same-day joint replacement surgeries. The center features the Mako™ Robotic-Arm Assisted System for total hip and partial knee replacements. The latest innovation in surgeon-controlled robotic arm system total hip and total knee replacement surgery is performed using OrthoMap® software that enables the precisely accurate alignment and positioning of implants for improved outcomes. Other procedures performed

at the Center include sports medicine and a full scope of orthopedic surgeries.

“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to partner with the local physician community to open the Joint Replacement Center of Louisiana,” said DJ Hill, chief executive officer of Compass Surgical Partners. “Establishing this surgical center of excellence will expand access to orthopedic surgical care for patients in Southwest Louisiana.

The Joint Replacement Center of Louisiana is a fully licensed ASC and is certified by Medicare. The facility is accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). Learn more at 15

Places & Faces

Newcomer’s Guide to the Lake Area

If you’ve always called the same place home, you may take for granted that favorite coffee shop, your local gym, or even the leisure activities in your area. When you move, it’s quite the task to re-establish yourself and develop a sense of community. The Lake Area is an increasingly attractive option for those looking to put down roots - centrally located to Interstate 10, an abundance of industry and workforce opportunities, and no shortage of outdoor activities and night life. It’s no wonder families are looking to call it home, sweet home!

16 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023

Local Industries Have a Positive Economic Impact

Local industries have a positive economic impact in Southwest Louisiana. Their tax dollars are used to improve our roads and parks, upgrade equipment for area law enforcement, and to better our educational system. Local industries are an important part of the economic region in Southwest Louisiana, producing opportunity right here at home.

$1.2 billion in payroll and benefits


$178 million in property and sales tax

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All statistics are from 2022.

Moving to a new community comes with many decisions. Finding the right job, deciding on the perfect house for your family, and the list goes on and on. Once those decisions are made though, it is time to make your new city a home.

Making decisions on things like schools, medical care, and more can be overwhelming when you are unfamiliar with an area. This helpful list narrows down some of the key first steps to settling into your new hometown.


For a family with children, this is likely one of the biggest decisions to make. Private, public, charter, and home schooling are all options. Some easy ways to research which school might be the right fit for your family include reviewing school websites and social media accounts. Check out the courses and extracurricular activities offered and take a look at school testing data and other key student success factors to determine the right fit for your family.

If you have older children, nearing high school graduation, or have ambitions of your own to further your education, be sure to look into university and technical/trade offerings in the area.

Medical Service Providers

Following closely behind choosing the right educational path, selecting your family’s medical service providers is another top priority.

First and foremost, selecting a general, family practice doctor and pediatrician, and getting a new patient appointment scheduled is key. From there, look into other specialty needs such as a cardiologist, internal medicine, OB-GYN, ENT and others that may be

Getting Settled in Your New Community

necessary to your healthcare needs.

Don’t forget the importance of routine dental care and eye exams. You will want to do some homework and select a provider for those services as well.

Just in case of an emergency or an after-hours need, it is always helpful to know where the closest emergency room and urgent care facilities are located.

Selecting a preferred pharmacy is also a necessity when it comes to medical services.

Faith-Based Organizations

For families active in their faith, selecting a new place of worship is also a high priority decision to make when relocating. The church home you are leaving may be able to help connect you with a church of the same denomination in your new city. Visit websites, look at service times that fit your family’s schedule, and don’t be afraid to move around a bit until you find the right fit. For many families, church is the foundation of their community. Check into options for bible study groups, youth activities, and any other ways to get to know new people.

Extracurricular Activities

It cannot be all work and no play. Knowing what to do for fun is what makes life in any city fun and meaningful.

If you’re an avid gym-goer, look for an option that suits your workout vibe. Choose between 24-hour access, group classes, small group, or individual training. If you are more of a runner, cyclist or walker, look into local social groups who regularly gather for those activities. Many of these have Facebook groups established. These groups are a great way to find information about group activities, routes of varying lengths and more.

For the kids, you’ll likely be looking for some type of extracurricular

18 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023
Places & Faces | Newcomer’s Guide

activity. Options like gymnastics and cheer gyms and dance studios are all open for consideration. Sport leagues may be top of mind, too. Soccer, baseball, football, softball, volleyball, and more are all available to keep the kids active. Participation in these activities is also a great way for the whole family to meet new people.

If your family has more of a taste for the arts, check into music, art, and theatre activities. Look for options that involve both the young and young at heart so the entire family can join in on the fun!

Financial Institutions and Other Services

When it comes to financial institutions, you may have accounts with a bank that has branches in your new city, but if you want a local connection, check for smaller local banks and credit unions. You may also want to select a new financial advisor and even an attorney to ensure you are established with these services should a need arise for your family.

Quality of Life

In a place like Southwest Louisiana, sometimes just walking out your front door is the best way to meet people. Look for website and social media content from your local governmental agencies, visitor’s bureau, and chambers of commerce to keep up with what is happening the area. Festivals and events help you explore and learn your new community in a fun way. You’ll meet new people and enjoy new cultural experiences. Check into museums, galleries, parks, and more to keep your family active and on the go.

Finally, social media and web-based content like Google and Yelp Reviews can be great resources to help you start your list, but be sure to keep these reviews and comments in perspective and be willing to form your own opinion. 19
CARE THAT IS PERSONAL Lake Charles • Westlake GOSOUTHSTAR.COM “Awesome service and staff!” KATIE S.

Networking in Your Neighborhood

Whether you are new to a neighborhood or moving to a brand new community, a number of apps are available to connect you with what is happening near your new home. While technology is handy, when it comes to safety, these apps should not be a replacement for getting to know your neighbors, according to Lake Charles Police Chief Shawn Caldwell.

“There is no doubt that being able to click open an app on your phone is helpful in terms of getting an overall picture of what is happening in your neighborhood and the surrounding area,” Caldwell says. “But this should not be your sole source of information. Real life connections and neighbors looking out for neighbors is still one of the best deterrents to crime in the community.”

More eyes keeping watch on the neighborhood is a powerful tool for law enforcement.

“Knowing what is ‘normal’ in your neighborhood and what may be a bit suspicious is a tremendous asset to law enforcement,” explained Caldwell. “Knowing your neighbors and what is typical on your street will help things out of the ordinary stick out.”

One great way to make headway in getting to know your neighbors is through joining a Neighborhood Watch Group.

“This concept may seem like an idea from a bygone era, but there are several active watch groups within the City of Lake Charles that our officers regularly interact with,” Caldwell says. “These groups are a great way to put names with faces within your neighborhood. Our visits

to these meetings help us keep a pulse on what concerns residents may have and we are also able to share information about resources our department has available for residents.”

One such resource being the Safe and Secure Program.

“Safe and Secure is a proactive effort where, at the request of the property owner, our officers schedule a visit to provide a security assessment,” Caldwell says. “We are able to make suggestions on lighting improvements, security camera placement, and any other simple ways a property owner can take extra steps to increase security in and around their home or business.”

While on these visits, officers also provide a checklist and instructions on how to properly inventory personal property.

“While we want to do everything we can to help prevent theft, we also want to educate property owners on how to be prepared if the unfortunate should occur,” added Caldwell. “These property inventories, with things like serial numbers recorded, can help increase the odds of items being recovered.”

If you would like to learn more about Neighborhood Watch Groups in your area and other community safety initiatives, the Lake Charles Police Department is teaming up with a number of local agencies to host a Community National Night Out event on Tuesday, August 1. The event will be held at the Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Drive, from 6:00-9:00 PM Learn more by calling (337) 491-1456.

20 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023 Places & Faces | Newcomer’s Guide

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 risky behaviors and accomplish educational success.

Big Brothers Big Sisters currently has over 35 littles, like these two, ready to be matched with a Big. danny,11 years old • Waiting for 15 days

Danny is on a mission to find a Big who can participate in a variety of fun activities! He loves archery, games, drawing, and Pokemon! What could be more fun than taking a walk downtown to catch Pokemon and discuss the latest and greatest video games? He would also love to have a Big who can throw a football with him. If you have a pet, that’s a plus!

aydin lacombe, 12 years old • Waiting for 98 Days

Aydin is an intellgient, strong-willed kid who is looking for a Big who can relate to his love of all things outdoors, including hunting and fishing. He also enjoys tinkering with technology. This Little would like to make a connection with someone who understands him, who can also connect to him through his various hobbies.

Apply today to become a Big.

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

4135 Common Street, Lake Charles 1509 N Pine Street, DeRidder 337-478-5437 21


The double whammy of the pandemic followed by the hurricanes of 2020 hit SWLA businesses hard. Pumpelly Tire, with locations in Lake Charles and Sulphur, was no exception.

“Like everyone, COVID had a big impact on our business,” says Company Spokesperson, Claire Pumpelly. “Fewer people traveling to and from work meant fewer cars on the road and, consequently, less tire and engine degradation. Still, we were able to remain open and provide necessary services, from a safe distance, to keep everyone’s vehicles up and running.”

Hurricanes Laura and Delta added insult to injury. The Lake Charles location received significant damage from the hurricanes throughout the interior and exterior of the building. “The roof was leaking throughout the store, the bay doors were ripped out, and many of our electrical components were compromised,” Pumpelly says.

“The team worked hard to clear out utility power lines that fell in front of the store and clean up

debris from the surrounding businesses and infrastructure that either fell onto or landed on our property,” she says. “They also had to clear out an inch of water in our showroom by using buckets or vacuums. We purchased large generators for each location that enabled us to regain power and operate our equipment to work on cars.”

Pumpelly says they’re proud to claim that, despite the damage to the Lake Charles store, they were one of the first tire and auto shops in the area to reopen. “It was important to us to continue serving the community by getting people back on the road so they could continue their own repair efforts,” she says. “During that first week, we were repairing customers’ cars free of charge.”

Fortunately, in contrast to the Lake Charles location, the Sulphur store mainly experienced cosmetic damages and was also able to open shortly after both hurricanes.

As time went on, it became evident that the Lake Charles building needed an overhaul. The showroom was completely renovated from floor to ceiling with all new furniture. “I wanted to create a more modern, comfortable waiting area for our customers,” Pumpelly says. “Now, customers can enjoy a complimentary beverage and take advantage of our new tables and charging stations if they’d like to get some work done while their car is being serviced. We offer complimentary shuttles for those that prefer to wait off-site, a 24-hour drop-box if a customer needs to drop off their vehicles after hours, and, recently, we’ve started offering full-service fleet management for local businesses.”

Pumpelly says they were able to remain open throughout the remodel. “We’re fortunate enough to

have a building that allowed us to move the sales team and waiting area to the middle section of the building, so we had to redirect customers to a side door while we renovated the showroom.” The business held their grand re-opening in May of this year.

In addition to selling tires, they have full-time mechanics at both locations who are trained to work on everything from state-of-the-art wheel alignments and suspension/front end services to batteries, brakes, and routine auto services and fluids.

“We’ve always offered ancillary auto services, but we initially began primarily as a tirefocused business,” Pumpelly says. “Our auto services capabilities have expanded over time; these days, we’re closer to a 50/50 tire business and auto services business.”

Pumpelly Tire has been serving the community for over 50 years. They are located at 3406 Ryan Street, Lake Charles (337) 477-9850 and 1500 Ruth St., Sulphur (337) 527-6355. Check them out at and find them on Facebook.

22 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023 Places & Faces 23 YOUR LOCAL TIRE DEALER & AUTO SERVICE PROVIDER Lake Charles 3406 Ryan Street (337) 477-9850 Sulphur 1500 Ruth Street (337) 527-6355 OPEN MONDAY-FRIDAY 7AM-5:30PM

Students at Sulphur & Washington Marion High Schools Take the LEAD in Community Involvement

Tellurian’s LEAD Program Cultivates Next Generation of Community Leaders

Five years ago, the LEAD program launched by Tellurian Inc. began creating a positive impact across Southwest Louisiana by helping high school students gain valuable leadership skills while identifying and addressing a critical need in their community.

According to Heather Hohensee, director of government and public affairs for Tellurian, the LNG company invests in leadership development in Southwest Louisiana through several programs and partnerships. “Our goal with LEAD, which is an acronym for Leadership, Enrichment and Development, is to identify and cultivate the next generation of leaders in our neighboring communities. We’ve been so impressed with the community projects implemented by these high school students over the past five years and look forward to many more years of LEAD graduates continuing on their leadership paths.”

High School LEAD Council members at partnering schools, Sulphur and Washington Marion,

are selected through a competitive application process and given $20,000 with one guiding directive: “Do good in your community.” LEAD participants solicit input from elected officials, non-profit organizations, and business leaders to identify pressing community needs. They are then challenged to design and execute projects to address them. Past projects include free little pantries, a traffic safety initiative around schools, scholarships to Tech Camp for younger children, J.D. Clifton Park Refurbishment, CARE Help COVID response fund and Epps Memorial Library post-hurricane rebuild.

The 2022-2023 LEAD Councils were equally successful at completing their projects.

Sulphur High LEAD Council: St. Nicholas Center for Children’s STEPS Program

The SHS LEAD Council knew from the start they wanted to use their project funding this year to help children on the autism spectrum. They selected to partner with the St. Nicholas Center after learning about the successful programs

offered by the Center and hearing a testimonial from one of their own council members of how the St. Nicholas Center helped her own brother. Students volunteered at the Center throughout the year to gain a better understanding of the needs of the program.

“Our members were unanimous in our decision to help St. Nicholas Center,” says Lily Boyd, SHS LEAD Council member. “Working together to help other kids get the education they need was very

rewarding. I learned so much about communications skills, time management and working with other people toward a shared goal. I gained an awareness of the community outside of my school that I never had before. I know what I learned through this experience has helped me prepare for any challenges I face.”

Their funding is helping to launch the Center’s new STEPS Program (Simulated Teaching Environment Preparing Stars), an

The 2022-2023

SHS LEAD Council members were Cilicia Caesar, Lily Boyd, Ryley Byrd, Neveah Barriere, Cameron Hinson, Autumn Buck, Olivia Hanks, Gabi Eyde (Karter Sonnier not pictured).

24 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023 Places & Faces

Hear from each of the five Republican candidates in the 2023 Louisiana governor’s race and then cast your vote in the 2nd Iowa Straw Poll.

Sharon Hewitt

Jeff Landry

Richard Nelson

John Schroder

Stephen Waguespack

Ticket includes admission to the event, lunch catered by Inlaws Cajun Specialties and one ballot.

This event is hosted by the Republican Parish Executive Committee and the Republican Women of Southwest Louisiana. Must be 18 years of age or older to vote.

26 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023 4845 Ihles Road, Lake Charles (337) 312-0972 | image matters. Make yours a Healthy one. advertising public relations graphic design media relations social media copywriting photography strategic planning video production website development event planning corporate communication TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Louisiana’s Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Face Off in the IOWA STRAW POLL
August 19 | Noon – 4 pm Iowa High School Gym 401 W. Miller Ave., Iowa, Louisiana
Price: $30
of 10 Tickets per Person Purchase tickets at

Movers and Shakers in Southwest Louisiana...


WCCH Foundation Welcomes New Board Members

The West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital (WCCH) Foundation welcomed two new members to the board – Richard R. Roe, IV, MD, anesthesiologist/ medical director of WCCH and Colleen Desselle, chief marketing officer for CSE Federal Credit Union.

Dr. Roe is a graduate of the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport and completed his anesthesiology residency at Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans. He is board certified in anesthesiology by the American Board of Anesthesiology and is a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Louisiana Society of Anesthesiologists and currently sits on the board of the Louisiana Society of Anesthesiologists PAC. Dr. Desselle serves as the chief marketing officer for CSE Federal Credit Union, where she has worked for more than 30 years. During her time at CSE, Colleen has been involved in operations, member services, consumer lending, mortgage lending, and loan processing. She is a graduate of McNeese State University. Colleen currently serves on the board of directors of the West Cal Chamber of Commerce and is the incoming Chairperson for the 2025 term.

For more information about the WCCH Foundation, visit

Ian Tauzin Joins AdSource Outdoor as Account Executive

AdSource Outdoor has announced that Ian Tauzin has joined its sales team as account executive. Relocating from Tennessee, and a former Louisiana native with over 10 years of sales, leadership and management experience, Tauzin has the proven skills to enhance, promote and advertise in the out-of-home network.

Tauzin’s primary goal at AdSource Outdoor is to manage customer accounts creating advertising opportunities that help grow and enhance businesses through out of home advertising.

Alliance for Positive Growth Announces 2023 Board Members

The Alliance for Positive Growth has announced the appointment of its new 2023 officers and board of directors.

They are president, Ryan Hess with CSE Federal Credit Union; vice president, Jeff Kudla with Kudla Architecture; secretary, Krystle Blue with Home Builders Association of SWLA; treasurer and ex-officio, Trey Hays with First Federal Bank of Louisiana; officers Bart Yakupzack with Jack Lawton Companies; Joseph Banks with Liberty Plaza Properties; Tommy Eastman with Flavin Realty; and board members Louie Barbe, IV with Charvais Company; and Hardtner Klumpp with Investors Group.

APG is an organization of professionals in the fields of real estate, development, construction and all other interested parties, working together to promote strong, beneficial growth in Southwest Louisiana. The group conducts regular meetings and events for its members and has active committees addressing the most critical issues affecting business growth in the region.

For more information about APG and membership opportunities, visit or call 337-602-6788.

Cardiologist Parker LaVigne, MD, has joined the Imperial Health Medical Staff

Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, Dr. LaVigne earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Mississippi in Oxford, and his Medical Degree from Louisiana State University Health in Shreveport. He completed an Internal Medicine Residency at LSU Health in Shreveport, where he was appointed Chief Resident. Dr. LaVigne completed a Fellowship in Cardiology at HonorHealth Heart Group in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he served as Chief Cardiology Fellow in his final year.

Dr. LaVigne has participated in and presented multiple research projects, and he also served as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Louisiana State University Health in Shreveport. He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology.

Dr. LaVigne’s office is located in Imperial Health’s main office complex at 501 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive in Lake Charles. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (337) 312-8281 27
Ryan Hess Dr. Parker LaVigne
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Ian Tauzin Dr. Richard Roe Colleen Desselle

Wining & Dining RougeBlanc et

The reds, the whites, the sun sinking into the October evening sky – everyone’s favorite evening is on the books and this year, Rouge et Blanc is shaking it up. As tickets go on sale, Thrive caught up with Banners at McNeese for the rundown on what wine lovers can expect for this year’s event and how to make the most of the Rouge experience. Imbibers and patrons alike can look forward to changes that only make Southwest Louisiana’s premiere annual wine and food event better than before. Familiar faces and elevated experiences await. Read on to learn more about the who, what, and why of vino and good times!

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023
2023 Ticket Purchase Information: Visit Until July 13 – Imbibers Only July 14 – On Sale to Public October 7, 2023 McNeese State University
Writing by Taylor Trahan Henry Photos by Chad Moreno
team is
(337) 474-3766 |
Kala Kuhlthau | Twenda Hanson | Aimee Gilmore | Bryan Armentor Dillan Rainwater | Jonathan Boudreaux | Aaron LeBoeuf | Roy Raftery | Bobby Broussard

New to Rouge

Since 2006, Banners at McNeese has presented Rouge et Blanc annually to patrons from all across Southwest Louisiana and East Texas. Organizers are constantly seeking ways, both big and small, to elevate the attendee experience and make Rouge an afternoon you’re not soon to forget.

Going Green!

Previously, paper tickets were given to Rouge patrons. To simplify the process for both purchasers and volunteers assisting with entry, all tickets will be handled electronically in 2023. Tickets can be purchased online and please select E-Ticket as the delivery option. Your E-ticket, on your mobile device or printed, will be validated at the gate for your 2023 Rouge et Blanc lanyard. A physical ticket will no longer be required for entry.

A Familiar Face Returns

Republic National Distributing Company is making a return as a wine distributor for this year’s event. “We could not be more thrilled to announce the return of Republic,” says Dr. Brook Hanneman, Executive director of Banners at McNeese. “I cannot over articulate how much our distributors mean to us. They supply the product that fuels the entire fundraiser and so they have a direct hand in raising the quality of the experience for our patrons.” Their high praises continued to be sung. “For the first several years, they donated every single bottle we tasted at Rouge,” says Banners at McNeese and Event Founder Mary Richardson. “Their personnel were in the room when Banners was first discussing the idea of a wine and food festival in Lake Charles. Rouge et Blanc would never have come into being without Republic's generosity, so it's a great treat to have them back.”

Rouge distributors are key for this event. Companies like Southern Glazers, Neat Wine, Southwest Beverage, Republic, International Wine and Spirits, Mystic Vine, Fleur de LA Imports, Select Wines, and Uncorked Fine Wines contribute mightily to the product necessary to make this fundraiser a success.

Imbiber Upgrade

Imbibers and Imperial Imbibers are Rouge supporters who have previously purchased over $250 and $500 of wine, respectively, at the event. These purchases add income to the fundraiser proceeds which underwrites the Banners Spring Cultural Season and helps support year-round free outreach and programming for our youth, seniors, educators, and first responders. “Because of their vital support, we wanted to really let these philanthropists feel our gratitude,” says Dr. Hanneman. “So, this year, for the first time in Rouge history, Imbibers will be given exclusive access to the main tasting from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM, one hour prior to the official event start time. Then, we will kick up the entertainment into full gear and welcome our other valued supporters to join in the revelry.” All Gold Ticket holders may enter at 2:00 PM and Red Ticket holders may enter at 3:00 PM.

30 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023 Wining & Dining

Top Prize for Good Eats

What pairs perfectly with great wine? Great food, of course! Each year, Rouge hosts a battle between vendors for the best dish. Several longtime favorites mark this event on their calendar annually and, at the time of print, the number of vendors registered had almost topped last year’s total. “This year there will be a $1,000 cash prize to the winner of our food judging competition sponsored by Lake Area Adventures,” says Dr. Hanneman. “Chef Amanda Cusey will be our star judge.”

Discover even more ways to support McNeese at
We have some amazingly talented chefs in this town. This is our way of showing our appreciation and incentivizing them to really bring their A-game to this event.” – Chef Amanda Cusey
To all of the Sponsors & Patrons of the 2023 Rouge et Blanc —
We raise a glass to you all!

Patron The

Imbibers are Rouge et Blanc

Supporters who have previously purchased $250 worth of wine at the event. These philanthropists are key to the fundraising mission and to the incredible work Banners at McNeese does throughout the season. Perks include early access to ticket sales in the year following, a party before the party, Savour du Lac, and, new this year, a one hour pre-entry into Rouge et Blanc Grand Tasting. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a first time Rouge patron, you may be wondering if the Rouge experience is for you. Thrive caught up with a few generous donors to \get the information straight from the source, and we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.


tMary Richardson

Founder, Banners at McNeese and Rouge et Blanc

“There is a whole world of wines out there, and at Rouge we have a chance to taste wines we might never have tasted on our own. At the event, we can talk to people who care passionately about their wines. Then, there is the magic of pairing these wines with foods from the

Victor Wukovits

Imbiber and Sponsor

“As a resident of Southwest Louisiana, I am thrilled to have an organization like Banners to provide cultural enrichment throughout our community. I have been able to witness some extraordinary performances thanks to this program, which derives all its funding from Rouge et Blanc, the seminal wine and food event in SWLA. This amazing, fun event fuels some of the best performances.”

Willie Mount


“I absolutely love this event! My favorite part is seeing everyone enjoying themselves and supporting Banners! The best part about Rouge is the opportunity to taste very special wines in a great environment. I highly recommend you take this opportunity to enjoy exceptional wines with your investment in Banners.”

Angela Queenan

“As far as being an Imbiber goes, that is an easy one. You get to taste great wine and buy great wine all while supporting a great cause – being able to buy a gold ticket for the next year is just icing on the cake. Rouge et Blanc has always been one of my favorite local events. It was the first of its kind when it started. There was no other local event where one could taste so many different wines and eat great food while visiting with everyone you know in Lake Charles. The beautiful fall weather, the wine, the food, the friends – it’s my favorite!”

32 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023
Wining & Dining | Rouge et Blanc


Imbibers: Purchase $250-$499 in wine (pre-tax) from the previous cycle of Rouge events.

Imperial Imbibers: Purchase $500+ in wine (pre-tax) from the previous cycle of Rouge events.


- Exclusive access to the Main Tasting for Imbibers from 2pm to 3pm.

- Access to two gold tickets during pre-sale.

- Large wine glass during Main Tasting VIP entrance

- Opportunity to purchase one VIP Parking Pass and VIP tables while supplies last

Note: Imbiber totals are calculated on the pre-tax total and attributed to the name on the order form. 33


with a Purpose

Everyone knows that Rouge et Blanc is one of the best annual events in the Southwest Louisiana social scene. But do you know WHY organizers work so diligently to plan it, year after year? The answer is a simple one – so Banners can do what it does. Except that what Banners does is anything but simple.

“It really isn’t possible to adequately express the profound impact that Rouge fundraising dollars have on our community,” says Dr. Brook Hanneman, executive director of Banners. “The proceeds benefit a staggeringly diverse group of beneficiaries, including our local youth, first responders, educators, and area seniors. I wish all the fundraiser’s supporters could experience the magical moments they help to make possible."

With the help of the Banners team, Thrive is bringing you those

Notes of Nostalgia

In the aftermath of the pandemic and the string of natural disasters that hit Southwest Louisiana, our local senior homes were some of the last communities to return to normalcy. “Some of our most touching moments came from artist visits to places like Rosewood and Landmark of Lake Charles,” says Dr. Hanneman. “Steinway Pianist Robin Spielberg played twice for senior home residents. Her last visit featured classic standards from the silver screen and Broadway and it was glorious to witness residents lifting their voices and filling the room with the strains of nostalgic favorites from their youth.” Many in the audience were confined to beds or unable to travel for other reasons. The outreach wing of Banners provides these seniors with an opportunity to see live music again.

A Casual Choral Encounter

Amorahh Wesley, a recent Music Education graduate of McNeese State, was another musician who shared a particularly magical experience with area seniors when she visited a wander-risk wing of a Lake Charles senior home which houses dementia and Alzheimer’s residents. “She had accompanied me to simply play casually in the common area,” says Dr. Hanneman. “And, at the first strains of her violin, the residents

34 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023
Wining & Dining | Rouge et Blanc

organically turned their bodies towards the music.” Wesley’s final song was a well-known holiday carol, and without prompting, the residents began to sing along. Many of these residents were so far advanced in their various conditions that they spent their days without speech at all, and yet music had given them back their voices. “I had visited that hall many times and knew most of them had not spoken a full sentence for months if not years, and yet there they were smiling and singing the lyrics fully,” says Dr. Hanneman. “I had to sit alone in my car to compose myself after that visit because the power and the beauty of the experience was overwhelming."

Bold and Brave

Sons of Mystro, a violin duo that plays over ten genres of popular music, visited Chris Gunter’s high school and middle school strings performance group at S.J. Welsh Middle School. During that particular visit, they introduced a room of young musicians to musical improvisation for the first time. “They set down a base beat and the room was filled with forty to 50 kids who supported with a foundation beat while one by one children were chosen to weave their own music into the whole,” says Dr. Hanneman. “Most of the kids had never heard of musical improvisation, and though it took great bravery to jump in with these lauded professionals, they experienced for the first time what it felt like to play from the heart.” Later that evening, those same children took the stage with Sons of Mystro to fill the Banners audience with joy at the sounds of Pharell’s “Happy.”

Inspiring the Next Generation

Leo P., the baritone saxophonist with shocking technicolor hair who went from busking in New York subways to being a featured artist at the Royal Albert Hall, conducted a jazz clinic for university students. They performed for him and were treated to hands-on direction and feedback. “Later that night, in the lobby before that show, the mother of a nine-yearold music student came to me to tell me that Leo P. was her son’s idol,” says Dr. Hanneman. “He had no idea he was about to see him on stage. His mom saw he was playing and got them tickets as a surprise. Immediately after the show, I saw them again. The boy was over the moon. He begged his mom to speed them home to get his saxophone so Leo could sign it after.” Rouge et Blanc fundraising benefitting Banners programming brought this young boy face-toface with one of his idols.

Every dollar from ticketing, wine orders, sponsorships, and donations go towards advancing the mission of Banners at McNeese State University to elevate the cultural exposure and artistic offerings available to Southwest Louisiana.

Everyone can be a philanthropist.

Join us and party with a purpose!

We are proud sponsors 35
Advertising Business Branding Website Development Social Media Marketing Search Engine Optimization 430 Alamo St, Suite 100 Lake charles, Louisiana

is TastefulEtiquette

Wine Tasting Etiquette goes beyond social rules. These guidelines can help you know what to expect at the Grand Tasting and how to make the most of it.

It's a Taste

The wine offered at each booth is a tastingsize pour, which is about one ounce. It’s poor etiquette to ask for more than you are served, or to quickly drink your serving and request a refill. If you want a second taste of a wine you enjoyed, you can return to that vendor later.

Drink Water

Alcohol dehydrates the body, so sip water in between wines to hydrate. Water is provided at several locations throughout the event.


There’s a reason Rouge et Blanc brings in incredible food vendors. Alcohol enters the bloodstream quickly and you’ll feel the impacts quicker on an empty stomach.

Move Aside

Show consideration for fellow patrons. After getting your sample, step away to enjoy it. Vendors and those next to you in line will appreciate this courtesy.


Pour out wine after you’ve had a sufficient taste if it’s one you don’t want to finish. Your pourer will not be offended! Residuals can be poured onto the grass or into the landscaping. There is also water located at each table to rinse out your glass.

36 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023 Wining & Dining
25 Years of Fighting & Winning for Victims 330 ALAMO STREET LAKE CHARLES | 477-8782 | Rouge et Blanc
The Louisiana Food & Wine Festival is a showcase of Louisiana’s unique culture and cuisine, from its culinary superstars and beverage experts to its artisans and live music. Enjoy a variety of all-inclusive food and drink tasting events with celebrity guest chefs and hundreds of varieties of wine, beer and spirits. Louisiana’s Best Week of Food & Drink September 14 - 17, 2023 Lake Charles, Louisiana Make Your Plans to Attend Now! Celebrity Chefs ParticipatingMore to Come! John Currence City Grocery Restaurant Group Meg Bickford Commander’s Palace Edgar “Dook” Chase IV Chapter IV David Rose Television Chef/Author Ryan Hacker Brennan’s Amanda Cusey Louisiana Seafood Queen Hosted By PARTNERS PRESENTED BY

Behind Rouge Faces

An event of this magnitude doesn’t succeed without the hard work and commitment of staff, volunteers, vendors, and so many more. As a patron at Rouge, you can expect a seamless experience as you flow through the incredible wines and delicious eats. Every detail has been thought of! Thrive caught up with the core team to get a behind the scenes look at Rouge and the many moving parts it takes to make it the success that it is.


What is your main role in preparation and on the day of Rouge?

“In preparing, it’s necessary to solicit and confirm restaurants and menus, inventory and order glassware, create a site layout, schedule tents, tables, chairs, tablecloths, entertainment, apply for permits and licenses, and assist with wine distributors, volunteers, security, signage, ticketing, marketing, patron communications, and hospitality. The work starts in May and has some level of activity every day thereafter until seven days post event. My goal on the day of the event is doing anything required to help the patrons enjoy themselves.”

What is the most exciting part of your job?

“The reward for me is knowing the pay-off for all the work and effort. The pay-off is that the community will have multiple opportunities to experience art and creativity in many different forms; and those who take advantage of the opportunities will forever remember those moments, broaden their perspective, experience the diversity of art forms, expand their cultural exposure, and have growth in the humanities.

Passion for the arts and the betterment of people are my driving forces and motivate me. Rouge et Blanc has happened in the past, and will at some point in the future, without my input but I am hopeful that my influence on the event is positive in making it more enjoyable for everyone involved.”

Dr. Brook Hanemann Director of Banners at McNeese YEARS WITH ROUGE: 5

What is your main role in preparation and on the day of Rouge?

“Randy and I are tasked with overseeing all aspects of the event, helping to set the space physically, assisting in providing staff, performers, and volunteers with support as needed, greeting patrons, troubleshooting, and attempting to anticipate needs as the day unfolds. When the last patrons leave, we are there to help clear the space and break down the footprint.”

What is the most exciting part about your job?

“We log about 30,000 steps on the day of the event which doesn't account for the pre-staging and administrative duties that ramp up in the weeks and months before Rouge. So, the work itself can be taxing. but the strain all melts away the second I look out over the mass of patrons and support staff enjoying the event. I know that while Rouge looks like a beautiful party, it is a fundraiser that makes a significant impact on our community. Whenever I have a second to catch my breath and just look out over folks reveling at Rouge, I always feel a wash of deep gratitude. I am blessed with knowing how electric it feels when an auditorium full of children burst into applause because they just witnessed a show, were empowered through a workshop, or had their appreciation for art expanded through direct interaction with world-class practitioners that came to them in large part because Lake Charles loves and supports Rouge et Blanc. I deeply wish somehow that I could share that electricity with each and every supporter of Rouge.”

38 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023
Wining & Dining | Rouge et Blanc

Brittany Menard

Volunteer Coordinator


What is your main role in preparation and on the day of Rouge?

“As my title states, I work with our many incredible volunteers in getting all supplies ready. We organize, set the tables, hang signs, and handle all the details! On the day of the event, all volunteers serve the patrons by running the entry tables, check in, serving wine, and assisting throughout the event as needed. We are there to help and make sure everything runs smoothly.”

What is the most exciting part about your job?

“Is it possible to say everything? I love meeting new people and being surrounded by such amazing, creative people! From the vendors, the volunteers, the entertainment, the patrons, and everyone I encounter in between. It's such a fun time! I pride myself on bringing those smiling faces to the event that are ready and willing to serve Rouge and the community.”

Claire Bankston

Certified Sommelier


What is your main role in preparation and on the day of Rouge?

“I am the ‘Wine Handler’ and ‘Wine Mediator’ - I help with distributor and retailer management, direct all handling of product, and help us design the event in a way that focuses on enhancing the Rouge experience for wine lovers. The path you walk through Rouge is designed in detail, taking into account the various acidities, bodies, and types. Historically, Rouge et Blanc has been managed solely by Banners staff. So, it’s been exciting to come on board as their wine expert and assist this great event in that role.”

What is the most exciting part about your job?

“My favorite thing about Rouge? Watching the interaction between the guests and wine representatives, especially when there are questions about the wine being tasted. As a sommelier, I love hearing people wanting to learn more about the wines they drink

It’s true, you can’t get enough of the delicious wines at Rouge et Blanc! A sip here and a sip there can add up quickly. Banners at McNeese urges all patrons to utilize local rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. Be on the lookout for signs throughout the event with rideshare information. Other ways to ensure your safety include:

- Designating a driver in your group.

- Hiring a driver. Having someone who is not attending the event drop you off and pick you up is a sure way to stay safe. A group of friends can pitch in for this cost!

- Make it fun by asking friends to join you in hiring a limo service.

- Utilizing rideshare or taxi services. Vouchers for Uber and Lyft will be available on-site for patrons of the event (limited quantities). 39 SERVING UP FINGER-LICKING FOOD FOR THREE DECADES (337) 474-3651 | Friday & Saturday: 11am-11pm & SPORTS BAR DARRELL’S TO-GO NEW DELIVERY AVAILABLE
“I encourage everyone to come out and enjoy this important fundraising event! Just remember to do so responsibly. If you need to, take advantage of the rideshare partnerships available at Rouge.”
– Chief William Schuefens, McNeese Police Department

Home & Family

Back to School

The smell of freshly sharpened pencils, crisp uniform collars, and exciting adventures are just around the corner for our students. Some will be walking the halls for the first time and some for the last, but regardless, it's going to the best.year.ever! This month, Thrive tips our hat to the Education Superheroes who make the everyday things extraordinary and brings you advice for smooth sailing in the school year. Get your notebooks out, we're going to school!

Magazine for Better Living •
July 2023
1430 West McNeese Street Lake Charles, LA 70605 Dr. Erin Moore Seale & Dr. Collin Seale 337-474-0212 ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS SEALEFAMILYDENTISTRY.COM Looking for a Healthcare Provider for your Teen? We offer adolescent-centered care, ages 11-18 501 Dr. Michael DeBakey Dr., 2nd Floor | (337) 419-1958 Guillermo Family Medicine Clinic Guillermo Family Medicine Clinic • general care • school & sports physicals • risk assessment • wellness & preventive education Our goal is to empower kids to take the lead in their own healthcare as they transition to adulthood. Two Years Through 12th Grade Now Enrolling 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. NORTH CAMPUS Two Year Olds - 6th Grade 803 N. Division Street Lake Charles SOUTH CAMPUS 7 th to 12 th Grade 5665 N. Gray Market Drive Lake Charles Bishop Noland Episcopal Day School provides academic excellence to a diverse student body in a Christian environment. 337-433-5246 41

The Leadership Center for Youth (TLC), a Division of Family & Youth, helps teens develop the skills they need to succeed in all aspects of their lives. They explore careers, get involved in their communities and learn leadership skills to help them to be successful community leaders of tomorrow.



“Our youth are our future, we need to help them to develop positive leadership knowledge, attitudes, skills and aspirations to become effective and skillful leaders,” says Miranda Booth, TLC Director. “At The Leadership Center for Youth, we provide an environment of growth and opportunities for positive development to help teens find their purpose and build their strength.”

TLC is comprised of four components that are stand-alone but work together to help youth develop a leadership toolbox.

Leadership deveLopment: navigating Life ChaLLenges

Students will benefit from experiential groups to promote self-respect and responsibility, leading to a healthy and responsible way of life. They will learn soft skills-communication, boundaries, cooperation, leadership and more.

Career expLoration: BuiLding Career pathways

In collaboration with area businesses and industry, high school youth participate in programs which offer them a chance to explore career options in experiential settings. They will have the opportunity to interact and network with professional in various career fields to help them determine their desired career trajectory. It can reaffirm interest that was already present, or it could peak their interest in a field that they were not familiar with.

CiviC engagement: promoting advoCaCy

Young people are a powerful force for change. As future reformers, they have innovative ideas on how to solve the political, economic and social problems facing their communities. Students will have the opportunity to advocate for themselves and their beliefs through the development of their own voice and learning how to effectively use it.

serviCe Learning: giving time and taLent

Students will learn about the importance of serving their community through programs and activities that emphasize volunteering their time and talents to give back.

These components are open for high school students; however, TLC can offer leadership development workshops for area middle school students.

Home & Family | Back to School Guide 42 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023

TLC is also accepting applications for its Youth Advisory Council from high-school students in the five-parish area for the 2023-2024 school year. Students will build authentic leadership skills while impacting their school and communities by addressing real-world issues. The council meets the second Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. Interested individuals can pick up an application at Family & Youth. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2023.

If any student or their parent/legal guardian is interested in registering for one or more of TLC’s components, they can register at or for more information on The Leadership Center for Youth, call our office at 337-436-9533. Applicants can select as many of the components as they would like, and a member of our team will reach out to you with more details based on what activities and events are occurring now and in the future.

Upcoming Sessions:

> Leadership Development sessions begin at area schools in September. This program is available to sports teams, clubs, organizations and individual classes. Interested educators or sponsors may contact our office at 337- 436-9533 for more information or to schedule a series for the upcoming school year.

> Career Exploration will kick-off in October. Meet & Greet is scheduled for September 11, 2023 from 6-7 p.m. at the Family & Youth office at 220 Louie St., Lake Charles, La 70601. Parents are strongly encouraged to attend.

> 1:1 Career Guidance sessions are always available by appointments.

> Service Learning opportunities are scheduled monthly at various sites within our community. Those interested may sign-up via our website. We are currently scheduled to feed more than 1,000 area homeless in collaboration with a local church organization, just one example of Service Learning we provide. 43

When it comes to our children, we’ll do anything to keep them safe from the dangers of the world. From the time they are born, parents are looking for the best and safest products and resources all the while knowing that one day, they won’t be babies anymore. As they grow into young adults, the dangers change, and knowledge truly becomes their best defense. The Southwest Louisiana Youth Foundation (SWLAYF) is teaching just that and making strides at empowerment through informed decisions.

At the inception of the program seven years ago, the statistics were startling. According to SWLAYF, by the age of 18, one in four girls and one in six boys have been sexually abused; one in three teens in a dating relationship is being abused and only 33% of victims ever disclose the abuse to anyone; 92% of teens go online daily, and the average teen sends out an average of 3300 text messages each month. SWLAYF and education administrators knew the program was needed. “The data has changed, the name has changed, and the outreach has changed,” says Robert Pete, Administrative Director of High Schools for Calcasieu Parish Schools and SWLAYF board member. “The single, biggest change that Calcasieu’s school system is proud of is the increased number of students, parents, and community members exposed and educated to these facts because of this partnership. Their commitment and service has been invaluable to our 8,000 plus high school students the district serves.”

SWLA Youth Foundation Empowerment through Knowledge

Through this partnership with the school board, students across Calcasieu Parish are receiving SWLAYF programming in their health classes. By encouraging student participation in a safe and confidential environment, the students truly take ownership of the information and gain confidence discussing what are often taboo subjects. This empowers them to become educators of other students while also learning to diffuse or stop conflict and poor decision making among their peers.

When you see the outcome of programming, it’s easy to see why both volunteers and educators are supportive of it and why it’s vital to the classroom. “The mental and social health of our young people dictates the mental and social health of this community’s future employees, leaders, and volunteers,” says Angela Queenan, board president and classroom facilitator with SWLAYF. “Seeing the faces of the students when they “get it” is the ultimate reward– you can tell when they realize that these situations apply to them.”

While SWLAYF provides several different units of instruction, Unfiltered Facts is what is widely taught throughout the district. Unfiltered Facts is a six-session educational program designed to provide youth with knowledge that promotes healthy life decisions and interactions with others. Committed to preparing youth to be community leaders, future employees, and volunteers for a healthier community. The Unfiltered Facts curriculum covers decisionmaking; boundaries and values, social media safety, dating and relationship abuse, conflict resolution, mental health, human trafficking

To learn more about SWLAYF, visit or visit them on Facebook.

and online solicitation, the teenage brain and addiction, and Louisiana law as it relates to consent and sexual abuse. SWLAYF also offers My Generation RX. It is a one-session program designed to educate teens about the importance of using medications safely, as well as teaching teens key skills to turn down invitations to misuse and positive alternatives to cope with the demands of life.

We are so fortunate that CPSB has approved us to be in all health classes in Calcasieu Parish. Unfortunately, we currently do not have enough volunteers to be in every classroom,” says Queenan. “Our upcoming Margarita Bingo fundraiser helps to partially fund our normal operating expenses. However, we have a goal of raising an additional 15 thousand dollars this year. That goal will allow us to hire a part-time facilitator, which will allow us to fulfill that goal of being in more classrooms and impacting more students.”


For sponsorship information visit or
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Home & Family | Back to School Guide in 5th grade Active Parent Teacher Committee 44 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023

St. Margaret extends warm wishes for a delightful summer break to all members of our Viking Krewe, both past, present, and future. If you’re interested in learning about grade level opportunities, we invite you to visit our website or get in touch with us via phone.

We look forward to seeing you in the Fall!

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• Pre-K 3 – 8th Grade • Extended Day Care Excellent Student/ Teacher Ratio Participant in Education in Virtues Program • Diverse Student Body • Morning, Noon, Afternoon Prayer & Weekly Liturgy • Special Education Services • Spanish enrichment to all grades • High School Credit opportunities in 8th grade • Sports beginning in 5th grade • Active Parent Teacher Committee CSEFCU.ORG Simple card. Great low rate. *Visit our website for current annual percentage rates. TIME FOR SCHOOL SUPPLIES! No worries — CSE has you covered. We’ve got a BlueRoof Credit Card solution that fits. Subject to credit approval. Membership and Eligibility Required. Some restrictions may apply. • No Balance Transfer Fee • No Annual Fee • Low Introductory Rate 45
St. Margaret Catholic School welcomes all children regardless of race, creed, or nationality.

healthy and happy

A Quick Guide for Back to School Wellness

Get it on the Books

“As summer wraps up, it’s a great time to schedule all those well-child visits,” says Dr. Lyle Stephenson, pediatrician with The Pediatric Center. “Make appointments with the pediatrician, dentist, and eye doctor now, while kids are out of school.” Not only does it avoid interrupting instructional time, but it’s also an opportunity to ensure any issues that could hinder success are noticed and, if possible, corrected.

Get Guidance

As parents, we are ever conscious of our kids’ developmental milestones and always wondering if we’re on track. “As physicians, we’re using something called anticipatory guidance,” says Dr. Stephenson. “This lets parents know what is age appropriate, what to be expecting in terms of development, and what to be looking for to spot a deficit.”

Sports Physicals

Many students returning to school will also require a physical to participate in athletics. Physicals allow for a brief but comprehensive exam. “Our office does a lot of sports physicals this time of year,” says Dr. Stephenson. “One of the main things I’m looking at is the heart and the potential presence of a congenital heart defect. Keeping these kids safe on the field is always top of mind.”

As schools prepare to get back session next month, now is the time to ensure your student is ready for a safe, healthy school year. There’s undoubtedly a checklist of todos and a visit to your child’s pediatrician should be on it. Kids who are healthy, happy, and well-rested have an increased chance of success in the classroom and overall. So, what should you be doing to ensure that?


As summer wraps up, now is the time to ensure your child is up to date on immunizations. Regular pediatrician visits should keep you on schedule but it’s possible, and normal, to miss something. “One of the things to be on the lookout for this year is the Hepatitis A vaccine,” says. Dr. Stephenson. “The legislature recently required it for attendance to school and I believe many parents got letters. It’s usually given around 18 months old. You’ll just want to ensure that your child received theirs.”

Safety First

Safety is paramount to any parent. But, did you know that wellvisits provide an avenue for your pediatrician to help teach some important lessons? “Another thing we’re addressing is age appropriate safety talks,” says Dr. Stephenson. “We’re covering things like how to handle interactions with strangers and what kids can do to spot and report abuse or neglect.” It truly takes a village to raise children, and having a trusted doctor to advise is an added layer of protection.

Hygiene Habits

“Along with those age-appropriate safety talks, we’re also advising on age-appropriate hygiene and routines,” says Dr. Stephenson. “One of the things we address across all ages is good hand hygiene. Of course, the little ones are more challenging, but good habits start early. Washing hands is one of the best ways to slow the spread of germs once kids are back in school.”

46 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023

With all these preventative measures, it’s still incredibly likely your child will catch the illnesses being spread around school. “Little kids are notorious for passing around common colds, coughs, and gastrointestinal illnesses,” says Dr. Stephenson. “Then, as we move into those winter months, strep throat and cold weather illnesses are more prevalent.” Sickness is inevitable, but a healthy body, balanced diet, and good sleep routine provide the best defense against it.

We all know the balancing act of scheduling appointments once kids are in the classroom, always making sure to interrupt instructional time as little as possible. So, at what point do these common illnesses warrant a trip to the pediatrician? “The short answer is, whenever you want or need,” he says. “Big things to look for are fever, not eating, and not having regular urine or bowel movements. But, we exist to take care of sick kids and worried parents. Bring your child

Start your school year off right with stylish strides and comfortable soles! 4459 Nelson Rd. Suite #110 | 337-990-5175 3113 Ryan St. Suite #3 | 337-421-1485 BACK TO SCHOOL 47
The Pediatric Center has locations in Sulphur, Lake Charles, and Moss Bluff.


What’s your favorite thing about being in education?

“To watch students learn new activities and grow into their own individuality. I get the unique opportunity as a band director to teach them for all four years of high school. I am always proud to see the success these students bring to the door each and every day.”

What’s one way you go above and beyond for your students?

“For me, I find that all of my workdays extend beyond normal hours. I have the chance to spend time with anyone who might need additional help or be looking to improve their musicianship. A lot of what I teach is not just band, these students are learning life lessons like organization, communication, goal setting, and many other things in and out of my class. Whether its student leaders wanting to better the environment for their peers or just the everyday member wanting to improve, I will always find the time to assist”

What’s your favorite thing about being in education?

“Having the opportunity to support my students in being the best that they can be is my favorite part. Seeing them succeed and do great and wonderful things brings me substantial joy.”

You were named Teacher of the Year last year, what did that mean to you?

"Receiving teacher of the year at my school was an absolute surprise. There are so many great teachers that I work with, and it was a real privilege to be recognized in that way.”

Hunter Lambert
Home & Family | Back to School Guide 48 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023
Gifted ELA, F.K. White Middle School

ally conner

Teacher, vinton elementary

What’s your favorite thing about being in education?

“My favorite aspects of being an educator are the relationships you build with your students and coworkers, seeing the students “ah-ha” moments, and seeing the overall growth in each student. Building a rapport with students to teach, love, and support each one is an amazing feeling.”

What are you hoping to bring back to your students from The Recharge Academy you were selected for?

“This weeklong experience will allow me to learn more about wind energy and wind technology by creating wind turbines then testing them at the beach. I am looking forward to learning new lessons, different instructional strategies, and collaborating with educators around the country. I am very excited to see what this journey entails! I hope to bring more knowledge on STEM activities with wind turbines and implement these projects with my students.”

What’s your favorite thing about being in education?

“I’m beginning my 44th year here at OLQHS. My favorite part is having a front row seat in watching children develop to their greatest potential, becoming the leaders that God intends them to be.”

You have the unique opportunity to be involved in faith formation and advising the student council, what does that mean to you?

“In my role as Director of Religious Education, I am privileged to serve in a community that is dedicated to learning and living the Good News. We all share the same mission - providing children with educational and spiritual opportunities that will help them grow and develop to their greatest potential.

When it comes to student council, our students begin their development in leadership from the time they enter our school in Pre-Kindergarten through the eighth grade. As they grow up around us, seemingly overnight, they continue to enhance those leadership qualities. As a result, many of our alumni go on to become contributing members of our city to include small business owners, healthcare workers, lawyers, first responders, and public servants.” 49

What’s your favorite thing about being in education?

“It’s all about the kids! I love seeing the smiles on their faces and being able to share in their successes no matter how big or small the accomplishment.”

What do you enjoy most about teaching athletes on and off the field?

“Athletics is an opportunity to develop the student as a whole. I enjoy teaching athletes about the game and watching their skill level improve but, most importantly, I enjoy teaching them life lessons along the way and helping to build their character. That has an impact far beyond athletics.”

What’s your favorite thing about being in education?

“I really enjoy building relationships with my students and watching them grow both socially and academically.”

A little birdy told us you have a passion for teaching students to read, why is that?

“The growth of students from beginning of the year first graders to students going to second grade is unprecedented. I strive to develop grade level, fluent readers because statistics show that if a student is not reading on grade level by 3rd grade, they are less likely to graduate! I take my job very seriously and make teaching all students to read my top priority. The curriculum has changed over the years but the one thing that stays the same is students need opportunities to practice and develop their reading skills. I have no plans on leaving 1st grade anytime soon and hope to continue to motivate and support students on their journey of learning to read.”

Shawn Stubblefield P.E. Teacher, St. Margaret Catholic School Candice Plummer
Home & Family | Back to School Guide 50 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023
Teacher, MJ Kaufman

What’s your favorite thing about being in education?

“Every school year is a new journey. The yearly academic goals remain the same but how I guide a group of students on that journey might look very different from the year before. It has amazed me over the years how my students begin each school year as a group of individuals and slowly grow into this fascinating little community of learners"

What was the best part of the most recent school year?

“This past school year was a great year for parent involvement. It was great to welcome parents back into the classroom as guest speakers and demonstrators during our Community Helpers week. The students are so proud to introduce their parents to the class and I love that our parents are so excited and willing to be a part of the learning process."

Stephanie DuRousseau Teacher, Immaculate Conception Cathedral School 51


Following the storms of 2020, housing has been a challenging issue for many residents and business owners.

The Resilient Housing for Southwest Louisiana project seeks to expand resilient and affordable housing for the region to help find solutions to this pervasive problem. One element of the project is a toolkit with practical strategies to help homeowners, builders, and organizations build new homes and retrofit existing homes to make them stronger. The Resilient Housing Toolkit takes a wider look at regional housing challenges, including strategies to mitigate flood insurance costs.

The LSU AgCenter’s LaHouse Research and Education Center Director, Dr. Carol Friedland and Extension Associate Emery DeSonier provided insights for homeowners who are interested in fortifying their homes or building a new weather resistant home. Some of the top takeaways relate to securing the home when it comes to windows, doors, roofs, and garage doors. For example, a sealed roof deck can reduce water intrusion by 90%, and small changes like investing in window and door

protections, like storm-rated hurricane shutters, can make a home more resilient and potentially save money in the long run for an initial investment upfront.

“Damage done by recent storms highlights the need to invest in protecting the home and to consider building beyond the minimal code,” says Dr. Friedland.

“The resources in the Resilient Housing Toolkit, especially when used as a system, result in structures better suited to face highspeed winds and driving rain.”

The FORTIFIED standard is an optional building standard that prevents damage from high-speed winds and can help keep a home intact during a storm. In August of 2021, Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon,

outlines many of

that lead to building back better or retrofitting existing structures to higher standards. A downloadable copy can be found at

52 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023
Home & Family
The resilient housing toolkit by Just Imagine SWLA the tips Photo courtesy of The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety

Louisiana, devastating Grand Isle. However, homes in the area built to the FORTFIED standard maintained their structure and roof, weathering the storm and demonstrating the benefit of building to the FORTIFIED standard.

Another example of FORTIFIED homes being put to the test is when Hurricane Sally hit Coastal Alabama and the Florida Panhandle in 2020 with 100 mph winds, 2.5ft rain, and surge of seawater. According to an article in Business and Tech, Smart Home America President Julie Shiyou-Woodard reported that while the hurricane was devastating to many homes and families, of the nearly 17,000 FORTIFIED homes in the wake of the hurricane, 95% had little to no damage, had no insurance claims, and the FORTIFIED homeowners were able to reside in their homes unlike their neighbors.

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. 53 | (337) 721-7236 | Lake Charles | Moss Bluff WE’RE AROUND YOU CENTERED
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Style & Beauty

Family Works: Patton’s Western Wear

The Patton family opened their first western store in 2007 in Ruston, Louisiana and things grew at a rapid pace from there. By the end of 2009, this now iconic Louisiana family business expanded operations into the Lake Charles market followed quickly by a second Ruston location and a large shop inside the Pierremont Mall in Shreveport. This summer marks their 16th year in business. Throughout this quick growth, two themes were peristent: God and family.

Patton’s is owned and operated by five of the seven Patton brothers: Harvey, twins Robert and Thomas, Patrick, and David. Three of the brothers worked previously for several western retailers and had the idea of opening their own store, and thus a family business was born. The brothers take a hands-on approach to every aspect of the operation with a focus on quality and diverse products. Their business achievements come from a combination of hard work and God’s grace. In fact, you’ll find faith closely intertwined in their business practices and even the company motto – “God is good! Shop at Patton’s!”

Harvey Patton handles accounting, marketing and Southern Lifestyle buying for the company. “We’re Christians and we try every day to show the love of Jesus Christ to those we come into contact with,” he says.

“Our faith guides every decision that we make and shapes our approach to our employees, vendors, and customers. We get to enjoy running a business that allows us to meet people from all walks of life and different cultures; it always comes back to the people for us!”

Patton’s growth has come so quickly that several times they’ve had to move to a larger facility in the same city to meet growing demand. For example, they outgrew their Lake Charles location in 2009 and relocated to their current location, increasing their retail space by 9,000 square feet. In the fall of 2020, Patton’s filled a huge need in the community following the retirement of Jim Cotton. They acquired all his equipment and added an in-house shoe and boot repair facility to their already thriving Lake Charles store.

The Patton brothers owe their love of the western lifestyle and dedication to faith to their father. Harvey H. Patton III was an accomplished rodeo cowboy all the way back to his college days. However, it’s a focus on modern business practices that has guided them to success. The stores carry not only almost every major western brand, but also a mix of popular fashion brands that cross over traditional lines - there’s something for

54 Thrive Magazine
Better Living • July

every customer. Patton’s was the first western store in the country to expand into non-western brands like Drake and Columbia, and one of the first western retailers to hold brand relationships with Southern Marsh, Patagonia, and North Face.

The emergence of online shopping has created some unique challenges for the brothers. The very vendors they represent in their stores have now become one of their largest competitors, as most brands now operate direct-to-consumer websites of their own. Patton’s stays competitive by focusing on diverse inventory, personalized service, and curating an assortment of products that appeal to people in the communities they serve. Mixing brands from different areas of distribution has been well received and keeps customers coming back for more. The company also supports countless local organizations through sponsorships of youth rodeos, fundraising banquets, and other events.

Patton’s is located at 3620 Ryan Street in Lake Charles and is open Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and weekends from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. There are additional locations in Ruston and Shreveport. Visit for more information or find them on Instagram and Facebook. 55 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 We offer billboard artwork free of charge! Our experienced team of graphic designers will create one-of-a-kind visual content to fit your business needs. With our designs, you can quickly and easily spread the word about your business or event. Contact us at 337-477-4470 to get started!


Kashia Spears, Bespoke Hat Co.

A Career to Hang Her Hat On

As a young girl, Kashia Spears would pop a hat on her head, look in the mirror, and love the way the timeless accessory would complete her outfit and frame her face. She always wanted to capture that joy and bring it to others. So, when she left the healthcare field, but still desired the one-on-one interaction that position offered, she found a new way to connect with people. Spears began by opening a small space in a local hair salon and styling customers with the hats she loved so much. Those humble beginnings grew into a successful brick and mortar boutique in downtown Lake Charles and an online store with a personal touch.

“We have the opportunity to really get to know our customers and provide not just a transaction, but a memorable experience to boost their confidence,” says Spears. “We work to find just the right shape, brim size, and crown for the perfect fit.

If we don’t have something, we’ll order it from our vendors, so our clients get exactly the fit and style they’re looking for.”

The thing that surprises Spears the most about her job is that so many people think they can’t wear hats. “They let their lack of confidence get in the way and are hesitant to try something new,” says Spears. “Everyone looks sharp in a hat! But, for those who aren’t sure, we recommend starting with a smaller brim size like a fedora then work your way up to larger flat brims and just try on several

styles to see what you like.” Her team will even steam and shape hats for the perfect fit whether you purchase them from Bespoke or bring in one you’ve had for years. She wants her customers to walk away happy – and with a hat on their head!

Like many small businesses, Spears has faced challenges in recent years related to the pandemic, rising shipping costs, inventory shortages, and the hurricanes. That’s why it’s even more special to have her sister, Christin, a former nurse, working alongside her now. She’s even able to travel with other family members to local markets and rodeos. There they work together to fit customers personally, so they have the perfect finishing touch to their outfits for the exciting events and adventures they have planned. Custom hat bars are a huge hit right now, allowing people to choose trims, bands, and even feathers to personalize their hats into a one of a kind fashion statement. Spears will be adding even more trims and band varieties in the fall and will also offer hat branding, which is popular in Texas and making its ways across the state line.

While Bespoke Hat Co. carries classic hats that stand the test of time, Kashia encourages customers to venture out of their comfort zones and try donning more trendy styles too with bright

56 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023
Style & Beauty

colors and flat brims. A priority for the business is to make sure styles are available in all price points so every customer can walk out wearing the perfect accessory to express their individuality. Bespoke has also expanded to carry leather shoes and accessories, handmade leather bags, and even hats and sunglasses for kids.

Bespoke Hat Co. is located at 725 Ryan Street in downtown Lake Charles.

Open Monday-Friday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM and weekends from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Learn more at www. , call (337) 436-5454, or visit @bespoke.hat on social media. 57 THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19 LAKE CHARLES CIVIC CENTER 8:00am - 4:00pm 2023 Keynote Speaker Korie Robertson Featuring Various Inspirational Workshops Save the Date! SkinExpert CONCERNED ABOUT AGING? MEET YOUR Dr. Kerri Davis-Fontenot MEDICAL • SURGICAL • COSMETIC DERMATOLOGY Board-certified Dermatologist 1936 SOUTHWOOD DR, LAKE CHARLES, LA 70605 | (337)564-SKIN WWW.GALLERYDERM.COM

Money & Career

Louisiana College Guide

Applications, scholarships, and essays – oh my! The journey that officially begins after high school graduation actually starts well before that celebratory day. As with most things, preparation is key and timing is everything. Fortunately, for students in Southwest Louisiana, resources and incredible education opportunities are close to home. In this special section, Thrive brings you expert advice and updates from local institutions to ensure the path to postsecondary education is off to a great start this school year.

Living • July
Thrive Magazine for Better

Louisiana Colleges Updates from Southwest Louisiana Campuses

McNeese State University

New Concentrations

The McNeese State University College of Business is offering several new concentrations, or options, for students. Accounting students can focus on managerial accounting and finance students can concentrate on financial services. Business administration students can focus on business analytics and international business. Mass communication students can choose sport and entertainment communication, and political science majors can concentrate on environmental policy. The College of Business now offers a certificate in Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) business in which students take six additional LNG business specific courses to earn the certificate.

Agreements for Students to Continue After

Earning an Associate Degree

McNeese recently signed new articulation agreements with South Louisiana Community College and Lamar State College Orange. Students who graduate with an associate degree in business can apply all their credits towards a bachelor’s degree in the College of Business at McNeese. Another recent agreement between SOWELA Technical and Community College and McNeese College of Nursing and Health Professions clears the way for students who have earned an associate degree in nursing and have their registered nursing (RN) license to transfer their credits to McNeese to earn a Bachelor of Nursing degree.

Student Health and Counseling Services

Student Health Services and Student Counseling Services have moved to 4100 Ryan Street along with Oschner CHRISTUS Urgent Care. Students will see the McNeese Student Health staff during regular business hours and Oschner CHRISTUS staff for after-hours care. Students will continue to receive free acute medical care and health and wellness visits as costs covered in the student fees. Counseling services are also available in the same location.

McNeese Full of Excitement in the Fall Campus is an excellent place to be in the fall! Tailgating before a football game, listening to the Pride of McNeese Band during the games, and cheering on the volleyball and soccer teams are just some of the exciting activities happening at McNeese. Students can get involved in Greek life, student government and other social and major-specific organizations. Everyone looks forward to Homecoming Week! Students can get muddy during the annual ooze-ball tournament, ride a float in the parade and watch fireworks after the pep rally. It’s a wonderful time to be a McNeese Cowboy!

“We can’t wait for the fall semester to welcome the new freshmen and returning students to campus. It’s going to be a great year!” 59
First Day of Class for fall semester is Monday, Aug. 14, 2023.

Nursing (RN) Program Expansion

According to estimates by the Louisiana Board of Regents, there will be a shortfall of approximately 6,000 registered nurses, which is 40% of the current workforce by 2030. To help address this shortfall, SOWELA is expanding its Nursing program during the next academic year to include two start dates, one in the fall and one is the spring.

"The College recently graduated 44 Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN-RN) students during the June commencement ceremony. Soon, this number may significantly increase with the addition of a spring cohort," said Dr. Paula Hellums, SOWELA Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. "Since the program’s inception in 2016, students have been accepted into clinical coursework each fall. Beginning in spring 2024, qualified students will have the option to enter clinical courses each spring semester as well. Increasing capacity will allow more students to be served, graduate, sit for their licensure exam, and ultimately enter the healthcare workforce in our region."

85th Anniversary/Enrollment

SOWELA marks 85 years of educational excellence this year and recently graduated 333 students, surpassing pre-COVID-19 and hurricane graduation numbers. “Over the last 85 years, SOWELA has grown from a vocational/ technical/trade school to a comprehensive community college. We pride ourselves on our ability to produce a skilled and qualified

SOWELA Technical Community College

workforce for SWLA, the State of Louisiana, and the nation. We have truly become a major part of the economic engine for the SWLA region,” said SOWELA Chancellor Dr. Neil Aspinwall. “Our great successes over the years (ranked the #1 community college in LA for 6 years and recognized as a “Great College to Work For”) have been made possible because of the dedication, support, and focus of our faculty and staff and their understanding that the students are our most important asset and the sole reason the institution exists.

New Financial Aid Opportunity

Eligible new and current students at SOWELA Technical Community College can take advantage of Louisiana's "M.J. Foster Promise Program," a financial aid award given on a first-come, first-served basis. Funds from the program are available to students over three years to cover their tuition and fees. Qualifying students are eligible for a maximum of $3,200 per award year, which covers most tuition and fees, with a maximum lifetime benefit of $6,400. Students must be 21 years or older to qualify.

New Short-term Training

Due to the construction of a new $50 million fiber optic network in Lake Charles, Sulphur and Westlake, SOWELA is now offering Fiber Optic Technician training. Tuition is currently half-off for all fiber optics courses, ranging in cost from $450-$500. Fiber

Optics Technicians are considered four-star jobs based on job market demand, salary and educational requirements, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. The average salary is $33/hour or more with experience. Training leads to certifications for Fiber Optic Technician, Testing and Mainten`ance and Splicing. Primary responsibilities include installing and repairing fiber optic cables, a technology that uses threads and glass as a means of transmitting data.

60 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023 Money & Career | Louisiana College Guide

South Louisiana Community College

New 2+2 Agreement with McNeese State University

South Louisiana Community College (SLCC) and McNeese State University have signed a new 2+2 agreement that will allow students to seamlessly transfer from SLCC's associate degree program in business to McNeese’s bachelor's degree program in business. The new agreement was signed May 17, 2023, on SLCC’s Lafayette Campus. It will allow students to complete their first two years of coursework at SLCC, then transfer to McNeese to complete the final two years of their bachelor's degree. This new initiative will allow more students to further their education, enriching both communities. “Students deserve a straight path to transfer from the community college to their chosen university," said Dr. Crystal Lee, VC for Academic and Student Affairs. “This transfer agreement between South Louisiana Community College and McNeese State University, provides students majoring in Business, exactly that, a clear path to success.”

2023 LAIR Conference

The Louisiana Association for Institutional Research’s (LAIR) 2023 conference will be held at the SLCC Lafayette Campus July 25 and 26. This year the conference aims to bring the institutional research community together for collaboration, and professional development. LAIR is a non-profit organization that promotes institutional research in higher education. Its mission is to foster communication and cooperation among institutional researchers, to promote the continued professional development of its members, and to advance the field of institutional research in Louisiana."We are thrilled to welcome the Louisiana Association of Institutional Research to our campus for their 2023 conference. South Louisiana Community College is dedicated to promoting educational excellence and

providing opportunities for professional growth, and hosting this prestigious event is a testament to our commitment to these values,” said Dr. Vincent June, SLCC Chancellor. “We look forward to engaging with colleagues from across the state to share best practices and advance our collective knowledge in the field of institutional research."

TANF Navigator Position Launches

Robin Winston, Interim Financial Aid Director at South Louisiana Community College, says SLCC is breaking the mold with a transformative addition to the staff, a new TANF Navigator. Tanya Martinez joined SLCC in January 2023 and has been busy changing lives since. “This position of a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Navigator is new; it’s never been done at a college in Louisiana before. This is about changing the lives, changing the mindset of people who may not have considered furthering their education.” The TANF program is designed to help low-income families with children achieve economic

self-sufficiency. States use TANF to fund monthly cash assistance payments to those families, as well as a wide range of services. Now part of those services includes navigating a better education through SLCC. “There is a real need,” explains Martinez. “I’ve been here since the start of the year, and in that time, I’ve received around 40 referrals. I’ve been able to help people understand what SLCC offers and how it’s achievable in their lives.” 61 CFP®, 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.

Money & Career | Louisiana College Guide

Top Tips to get to the Tip Top THE




Gone are the days of colleges simply checking the boxes on their applicants – good GPA, high test scores, coursework completed. Now, admissions departments at colleges across Louisiana and the country are looking at students as a whole before deciding. Sure, they want to know you’re a good student who is dedicated to their studies, but they are also looking for who you are outside of the classroom as a factor.

“The academic resume is imperative now,” says Tracey Churchman, owner and consultant with Churchman College Consulting. “It includes things like your GPA, rank, and ACT or SAT score, but it also includes honors, awards, involvement

inside of school in clubs or sports and outside of school in religious, civic, or volunteer organizations.”

This approach looks at students as a whole and allows them to show off the best parts of themselves. Community service and volunteerism are a vital piece of the application process. “I like to tell my students, it’s quality over quantity,” says Churchman. “Don’t focus on building a laundry list of brief experiences, look to get involved in something consistently. Show colleges what’s important to you, where you’re willing to invest your time.”

Juniors and seniors and their parents should begin work now to prepare for 2024 and 2025 postgraduation plans. That day in May might seem far away, but it will creep up quickly. Being prepared and asking a few key questions can help everyone involved feel confident come the spring.

Make your Wish List

“One of the first things I do with students is make their wish list of schools or programs,” Churchman says. “We want to make sure we’re on track for each of those top choices.” Knowing admission requirements like standardized test scores, high school curriculum, and if an essay is required can aid in goal setting, class scheduling, and time management of

those senior year tasks. It’s important to note that application deadlines differ from school to school, but November 1 is a good rule of thumb for completion of forms and essays needed.

Things to Consider

Of course, in making your wish list, it’s important to remain realistic. “There are a few questions you should be asking yourself (or your student),” says Churchman. “Do they have the major or pathway you’re considering? What are the statistics on graduates in the profession you’re considering? Are there housing rules and where will you live if you attend? And probably the most important question, is the cost feasible for me?”

Safety and Student Life

When trying to decide if a campus is right for you, the best thing to do is to take a tour. Since the pandemic, virtual tours remain a popular option available at many

62 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023

schools. “Of course, parents and students are looking for different things on a tour,” says Churchman. “Students want to know about student life, social activities, and just the overall feel. Mom and dad are looking, first and foremost, at safety. They’re also considering things like access to needed services – medical care, resources, tutoring.”

Success in Scholarships

One of the biggest tasks for seniors is applying for scholarships. Most school applications also double as their application for consideration of scholarships from that particular institution, but there are a wealth of local and national scholarships available to students. “My best advice is to research local scholarships first,” says Churchman. “Local businesses and industry organizations typically offer scholarships. Checking with your parents’ employers can be helpful as many offer a scholarship for children of employees. My best advice is to apply early and apply often!”

The number one thing to remember about the college application process is that time management is crucial. “That’s where my work comes in,” says Churchman. “Working with a dedicated consultant ensures individualized attention and an added layer of accountability for the student and an extra set of eyes on all applications, forms, and essays.”

To learn more about Churchman College Consulting, visit them on Facebook or call 337-513-2084.

Storm ready means being future ready

At Entergy, we prepare for storm season year-round – and for years to come. Our Future Ready resilience plan will not only strengthen Louisiana’s power grid with storm-hardened lines and towers, but also reduce recovery costs while accelerating recovery times. We’re also incorporating more renewable and sustainable power sources into the power grid. Entergy is committed to a brighter future for generations to come. Learn more and get storm prep tips at 63
A message from Entergy Louisiana, LLC ©2023 Entergy Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Save for College the Smart Way

College costs — tuition, fees, room, and board — continue to rise. While grants, TOPS, and scholarships still play an important role in funding higher education, it’s largely left to students and parents to cover the bills. Families often use multiple sources to pay for college like funds from savings accounts in credit union and bank accounts, current income, and loans.

Southwest Louisiana Credit Union, which offers savings accounts and other products, says it’s important that parents and students save money for college expenses.

Louisiana’s Student Tuition Assistance & Revenue Trust — the START Saving Program — notes that the cost of a college education has been rising dramatically for several years. By the time an infant is 18, it could cost the parents

of that infant as much as $174,000 to pay the costs of attending a Louisiana public university just for an undergraduate degree. In the past, parents relied on family income, grants, scholarships, and loans to pay expenses for postsecondary education — but these resources can no longer be counted on to solely cover all educational needs. Today, planned savings are necessary to cope with rising educational costs. A NerdWallet survey found that 20 percent of parents of minor children haven’t started saving for their kids’ college despite also responding that they want to. It offers these tips:

• Consider opening a tax-advantaged account. It may a 529 account, a Roth IRA, which is traditionally used as a retirement account, with earnings that grow tax-free, or some other instrument.

• Start putting something away consistently, no matter how much. It will get you in the habit of saving.

• Make a plan for extra money in your budget. A tax refund or a merit raise are good examples. Also, consider that childcare costs will also likely diminish or go away as your child ages, lowering your fixed expenses. Make a plan early to use some of these funds to save more for college — before the money is in hand. Otherwise, extra funds have a way of allocating themselves.

• Look into ways to cut costs before applications start. Talk to your child early about how much you can afford to

contribute to their education and the steps they can take to limit student loan debt. This could mean starting out at a two-year college, choosing an in-state school, and applying for scholarships.

With that in mind, Southwest Louisiana Credit Union says the options include:

• Both parent and youth savings accounts.

• Financial education and counseling, such as that offered free of charge by Southwest Louisiana Credit Union, whose team members are Certified Financial Counselors (CFCs).

• The START Saving Program offered by the state. Parents, grandparents, and others can establish an education savings account for a child. Account owners may select one or more investment funds.

• A Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (CESA), formerly known as Education IRAs, which allow you to make contributions to a tax-advantaged investment account to be used for qualified K-12 and/or college expenses.

• A 529 College Savings Plan, which offers higher contribution limits, no income eligibility limits and no age restriction. For information about saving money for college, visit

64 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • July 2023
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