Thrive March 2023

Page 44

MAGAZINE FOR BETTER LIVING March 2023 years ECONOMIC UPDATE SPECIAL SECTIONS: Brush Up on Dental Care Basics Dealing with Death Family Works: Don’s Carwash first person
JASON FRENCH Principal, French Strategic Partners,
2 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 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 an 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 our business.”

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.”

Wealth Management | Investment Planning | Retirement

Several months after the hurricanes, Tonya and 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 | Retirement

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.

“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.”

The Griffith Financial Group is Embracing Change

successful as you are, we know there’s still more you want 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.

“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.”

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.”


LA 70629 (337) 439-9081

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. rights reserved. 3 (337) 439-9081 2070 East Walnut Suite 101, Lake Charles, Louisiana 70601
Advisors Wealth Management | Investment Planning | Retirement Investment and Insurance Products: NO Bank Guarantee u MAY Lose Value
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 rights reserved. Tonya Griffith, AAMS® First Vice President Accredited Asset Management One Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, LA 70629 (337) 439-9081
Griffith Financial Group of Wells Fargo
successful as you are, we know there’s
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
Management | Investment Planning | Retirement Investment and Insurance Products: NO Bank Guarantee u MAY Lose Value
125 years,
successful as you are, we know there’s still more you to do. We’ve been helping our clients for more than
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.
Tonya Griffith, AAMS® First Vice President Accredited Asset Management One Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, LA
(337) 439-9081
Fargo & Company. © 2015 rights
Griffith Financial Group of Wells Fargo Advisors
Tonya Griffith, First Vice President Accredited Asset One Lakeshore
Lake Charles,
Griffith Financial Group of Wells Fargo Advisors
© 2015
Griffith, AAMS®
Vice President
Asset Management One Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, LA 70629 (337) 439-9081
Griffith Financial Group of Wells Fargo Advisors
Tiffany Green, Client
Tonya Griffith, AAMS® First Vice
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

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 unsolicited materials and does not guarantee any submissions.

It feels great to be back on board with the incredible team at Thrive Magazine! Though I’ve since transplanted a few miles east on Interstate 10, Southwest Louisiana is home, and I can’t wait to work to show her off. I’ve had an impressive precedent set by Angie and I look forward to continuing to work with all of the incredible contributors to produce the best magazine for our readers.

-Thrive’s new editor, Taylor Trahan Henry

Managing Editor Taylor Trahan Henry

Creative Director Barbara VanGossen


4 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 years
articles and
Editors and Publishers Kristy Como Armand Christine Fisher
and Layout Sarah Bercier
337.310.2099 Submissions @thriveswla | Contents Regular Features 48 Who’s News In This Issue Wining & Dining 6 Louisiana Seafood Cookoff Coming to LC 8 Think Outside the Shell: Crawfish Dishes Ccross SWLA 10 CHRISTUS: Taste of SWLA Mind & Body 13-21 SPECIAL SECTION: Brush Up on Dental Care Basics 22 Colon Cancer 24 QuickTake Health Nationally Recognized Money & Career 26-40 COVER SECTION: ECONOMIC UPDATE 28 first person with Jason French 44 Just Imagine Coastal Flood Risk Reduction 46 Secure Document Handling for Businesses Home & Family 50-55 SPECIAL SECTION: Dealing with Death 59 Family Works: Don’s Carwash 60 Lake Area Adventures 61 Descendants Style & Beauty 62 Red Light Therapy: Professional & at Home 64 Spring Fashion Trends: Local Boutiques 59 64
Business Manager Katie McDaniel Stevenson Advertising
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Wining & Dining

Headed to Southwest Louisiana SeafoodShowdown

The culinary scene is heating up with news of the 16th Annual Louisiana Seafood Cookoff heading to Lake Charles. The stage is set for a showdown on Tuesday, June 27.

Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser announced the move at a mid-January press conference. The Cook-off originated in New Orleans where it stayed for several years before competitors suggested the event move about the state.Lafayette would become the Cookoff's next home for several years and after 2022, the idea to move to Lake Charles took flight.

“To move this event here, to show and highlight this area coming back stronger than ever, that’s a great way to show our appreciation for the hard work of all the people of this great community,” said Lt. Governor Nungesser. “This gives us the great opportunity to highlight chefs from all over the state and to highlight the great seafood.”

The Louisiana Culinary Trails website lists Southwest Louisiana as part of the Seafood Sensation Trail, making Lake Charles a prime host for this event. Local officials view it as a way to show the progress made since a string of natural disasters devastated the area in 2020 and 2021.

“We have come quite a ways. These events matter and help us make sure America and our neighbors to our west and east understand that Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana are bouncing back,” said Mayor of Lake Charles, Nic Hunter. “Hosting this event, the Louisiana Seafood Cook-off, is an honor. I do not know of anything that brings people together more than food.”

When considering the size, logistics, and notoriety, hosting the Louisiana Seafood Cookoff is no easy feat.

“I have actually had the opportunity to attend the Louisiana Seafood Cook-off in both New Orleans and Lafayette,” added Kyle Edmiston, President and CEO of Visit Lake Charles. “I fully understand the competition and grandeur that comes with hosting the crowning of the Louisiana Seafood King or Queen.”

According to Edmiston, 2023 will be a year in which Southwest Louisiana celebrates a number of culinary celebrations.

Chuck Eats Restaurant Week enjoyed a successful debut at the end of January with more than 30 locally owned restaurants participating in the event meant to celebrate the area’s unique culinary scene. The summer will feature the Louisiana Seafood Cook-off and the Louisiana Food and Wine Festival will make its debut September 14-17.

In conjunction with the Cook-off, Edmiston announced Chuck Taste, which will be a separate event running at the same time as the Cook-off in the Golden Nugget Ballroom.

“Chuck Taste will be a tasting event with over 20 of our local restaurants providing some of the best food they have available,” added Edmiston. “Tickets will be available for $50 each and, most importantly, the proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit the SOWELA Gaming, Hospitality and Culinary School.”

The Cook-off’s move to Lake Charles created a buzz to start the year, but the area has been receiving attention surrounding the event for the last several months. Lake Charles’ very own Chef Amanda Cusey is the reigning Louisiana Seafood Queen and is now turning her

6 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023

“Chefs, I encourage you, if you have the opportunity to compete in this cook-off, do it! You won’t regret it.” Samantha Carroll, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion Board, is encouraging everyone to get involved in the fun surrounding the cook-off.

“This event has become known as a culinary catapult. Past winners have gone on to grace the covers of magazines, star on Food Network, and more. It makes dreams come true.”

The Board is hosting sweepstakes to go along with the Cook-off. The winner and a guest will have VIP seats during the event, attend a tour of a local brewery and will be treated to a private lunch prepared by Chef Amanda Cusey.

Learn more about the Louisiana Seafood Cook-off and enter the sweepstakes at

Whether that call is the siren’s song of the big catch or the lure of big deals at cute boutiques and antique shops, big adventure awaits in Toledo Bend Lake Country. Come fish, swim, golf, dine, shop, and relax, enjoying the new Toledo Bend Family Adventure Park or the newly renovated Cypress Bend Resort. You’ll find your kind of adventure when you answer the call! Plan your visit now! 7
photos by Lance Leblanc 318-256-5880 Adventure is calling!

Thinking Outside the


As we get full on into Crawfish Season, the question you often hear asked on social media is “Who has the biggest and juiciest mudbugs this week?” But sometimes you want crawfish without the hassle and the mess - and the accidentally stinging eyes hours later - and for that we went in search of some of the best crawfish meals in town that don’t require you to pinch any heads or squeeze any tails.

When it comes to crawfish appetizers, few things in SWLA are better than Nina P’s crawfish bread. It is the perfect mix of nicely toasted French bread, baked with mozzarella, and then covered in their divine crawfish cream sauce. If French bread isn’t on your palate, you can also get their fried green tomatoes with the crawfish cream sauce, or go full out decadence and try an order of their Bourbon Street Beignets!

Nina P’s is located at 1600 W. McNeese St. in Lake Charles.

TaD’s Louisiana Cooking on Ryan Street offers up another fantastic combination of crawfish and cheese to start your meal with their crawfish queso. Made with white queso and loaded with crawfish tails, you might be tempted to ruin your main meal

scarfing down this appetizer, it’s best when shared with friends. For something a little more traditional, try their creamy crawfish bisque, a perfect way to warm up on a cold day.

TaD’s Louisiana Cooking is located at 3624 Ryan St. in Lake Charles. Another incredible starter currently on the market lives at The Villa Harlequin in the crab & crawfish arancini. For those unfamiliar, arancini is similar in some ways to a boudin ball, but with a little more class. Fried risotto filled with crab and crawfish over a jalapeno corn cream sauce is perhaps the perfect bite of food before the main course, or if you’re looking for a lite Sunday brunch downtown.

The Villa Harlequin is located at 324 Pujo St. in Downtown Lake Charles.

Staying on the lighter fare, Pujo Street Café offers up a crawfish spinach and bacon salad. For this dish, the crawfish are lightly fried, giving them a satisfying crunch that contrasts with the lightness of the baby spinach base. Served with Roma tomatoes, purple onion, and bacon bits, you won’t have any hesitations about ordering this salad. The only question is going to be which dressing to go with!

Pujo Street Café is located at 901 Ryan St. in Downtown Lake Charles.

Staying downtown, Buffi’s Peaux Boys slings a number of gourmet dishes to satisfy your hunger pangs. Their boiled crawfish can be served over a baked potato or on top of a salad, but the best way is doing it in the namesake Peaux Boy. Pilled full of crawfish, corn, potatoes, and a seafood

sauce, eating a Buffi’s Crawfish Peaux Boy is like holding a weekend boil in the palm of your hand, and only half as messy.

Buffi’s Peaux Boys is located at 354 Broad St. in Downtown Lake Charles. Hollier’s Cajun Kitchen is no stranger to most of SWLA, having been around for over 40 years, and they’ve got a good feel for crawfish after all those years of experience. While they’ve got their own crawfish po’boy and some incredible fried crawfish on their dinner menu, perhaps the hidden gem on the menu is the crawfish burger. If you haven’t ordered one of these at Hollier’s before, you’ve got an excuse to make a return visit.

Hollier’s Cajun Kitchen is located at 1709 Ruth St. in Sulphur.

8 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 Wining & Dining
Nina P’s crawfish bread TaD’s Louisiana Cooking crawfish queso Buffi’s Peaux Boys Pujo Street Café crawfish spinach and bacon salad

One place you might not think of when you’re looking for crawfish is Chinese, but Yank Sing and their crawfish fried rice is the right change of pace if you’re looking for a new feel for crawfish. With fried rice being like a jambalaya, the Chinese

Finally, Pat’s of Henderson serves crawfish in several of their dishes, from etouffee to gumbo, or even fried or in a tart. But the consensus best crawfish item on their menu is their Cajun pasta, with fettucine, Pat’s famous sauce, and a good amount 9
Buffi’s Peaux Boys Crawfish Peauxboy Hollier’s Cajun Kitchen crawfish burger.
Pat’s of Henderson Cajun pasta. Yank Sing crawfish fried rice

Green Hat

Taste of SWLA 2023

You’ll be seeing green and saving some green with this CHRISTUS Oschner Health Southwestern Louisiana Foundation fundraiser.

Find a green hat and enjoy this self-guided tour of local restaurants throughout the entire month of March! This tasty tour of Southwest Louisiana will have your taste buds dancing an Irish jig. The $50 registration fee grants participants a t-shirt, complimentary small bites or beverages at over a dozen local restaurants, and opportunities to win prizes.

The Green Hat Taste of SWLA will benefit CHRISTUS Ochsner Health SWLA’s Access to Care Innovation Fund focused on providing state-of-the-art medical technology for our community.

To register and for more information, contact the Foundation office at 337-430-5353 or visit

Green Hat Taste of SWLA is brought to you by the following sponsors: Golden Nugget, CITGO, JD Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Merrill, First Federal Bank of Louisiana, Cornerstone Specialty Hospitals of SWLA, Dr. Eddie Hebert, KPLC, Digikast, Lamar Outdoor, Shearman Foundation and PS Promotions.

For more information or to register for this year’s event, visit


121 Artisan Bistro: $4 off the Green Mint 121 Mule

The James 710: Complimentary Brussel Sprouts & Cucumber Spice Martini

Calla: Special deal with a meal

Pujo Street Café: Complimentary appetizer and a Green Drink

Dragos at L’Auberge: 10% off of your meal

The Chart House at Golden Nugget: Special deal with a meal

Area 337: Complimentary Mojito and 20% off all chicken dishes

Casa Manana: 20% off of your meal

Que Pasa: 20% off of your meal

Crying Eagle Brewing Company: Special deal with a meal

Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp: Special deal with a meal

Coffee:30: Free cup of coffee or free beignets

Bodega Wine Dive: Complimentary Pot O Gold cocktail and stuffed mushrooms

10 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 Wining & Dining
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 11 Our team is READY TO LEND (337) 474-3766 | Kala Kuhlthau | Twenda Hanson | Aimee Gilmore | Bryan Armentor Jonathan Boudreaux | Aaron LeBoeuf | Roy Raftery | Bobby Broussard VOTED BEST BANK! 2022 AMERICAN PRESS PEOPLE’S CHOICE OFSWLA AWARD


If you are age 45+ or have a history of colorectal cancer in your family, talk with your doctor about scheduling your screening colonoscopy. It’s quick, painless, and it’s the only test to prevent colorectal cancer, with its unique ability to remove polyps before they turn into cancer.

Lake Charles Memorial is on the front lines in the fight to defeat this all-too-often silent killer.

Although a colonoscopy is the preferred method to screen for colon cancer, an at home Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) can detect hidden blood in the stool, which can be an early sign of cancer.

FREE Colorectal Cancer Screening Kits are available for pick up at:

Lake Charles Memorial Health System Radiation Oncology Department

March 13 - 17

9:00 am - 3:00 pm

For questions call: 337.494.2121 A Gastroenterologist for you.

Sarpreet Basra, MD Frank Marrero, MD Eric Fontenot, MD Khaled Nour, MD


on Dental Care Basics

You know the saying, you’re never fully dressed without a smile! Dental health is essential to your overall health and well-being. Not only can poor dental health lead to gum disease and cavities, but it has also been linked to heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Maintaining a healthy routine for your teeth and gums is a lifelong commitment which should start early on. Thrive has teamed up with local professionals to share expert advice on keeping your smile bright and healthy!

Dr. Effat Rasul is Accepting New Patients

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

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

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

All major insurances and Medicare accepted. 13 Mind
Body 771 Bayou Pines East | Lake Charles | (337) 433-1212

STRAIGHT TALK about Dental Care with Braces

Braces may present unexpected challenges when brushing your teeth, but orthodontist Craig Crawford, DDS, with Crawford Orthodontics, says general dental care is a top priority during orthodontic treatment.

“Braces trap food very easily, which contributes to plaque formation,” says Dr. Crawford. “Plaque is a mixture of bacteria, debris and food particles. The bacteria feed on sugars and produce acids that if not carefully removed from teeth and braces, can lead to gum disease, dental decay and bad breath.”

He says when you have braces, it’s best to brush within five minutes after eating, even if you’re just snacking. It’s a good idea to carry a travel toothbrush in a backpack, purse, or briefcase to clean your teeth when you are away from home.

Dr. Crawford recommends choosing a toothbrush that’s soft and approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). The brush size, shape of the handle and other variations are up to you.

He offers these additional recommendations:

• Use a fluoride toothpaste that has the ADA seal of approval.

• For more fluoride, try an over-thecounter fluoride rinse to help protect and strengthen teeth during orthodontic treatment. Talk to your orthodontist or dentist about the best option.

• Brush between wires and gums to loosen any food particles that may have lodged in your dental braces.

• Start on the outside of your upper teeth, positioning the bristles at a 45 degree angle, toward the gum. Brush two to three teeth at a time using a circular motion.

• Next, brush the inner surfaces in the same manner.

• Brush the chewing surfaces.

• Repeat the same process for the lower teeth as for the upper ones.

• Rinse your mouth and your toothbrush. Check your teeth in a mirror to make sure you’ve brushed all tooth surfaces.

• Floss daily between dental braces using a floss threader. A water oral hygiene device maybe used to remove food particles that the toothbrush may not reach, but this should not be used as a substitute for brushing and flossing.

“If you have a retainer or other removable orthodontic appliance, it also needs to be cleaned regularly,” adds Dr. Crawford. “After all, it spends a lot of time in your mouth.” He says it is not recommended that you use toothpaste, which can be too abrasive, drying out the acrylic or scratching the plastic. You can use a non-alcohol based mouthwash or retainer cleaner to keep your retainer tasting fresh and looking clear and translucent.

“The main thing I tell my patients is to not use braces as an excuse to neglect your dental hygiene,” says Dr. Crawford. “It’s actually more important than ever. Visits to the orthodontist to adjust your braces don’t take the place of visits to your dentist. You still need to have regular dental exams and cleanings. When your braces come off, we want you to have a beautifully straight – and healthy – smile.”

For more information about orthodontic treatment, call Crawford Orthodontics at 478-7590 or visit

14 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 Mind & Body | Dental Care Basics

The Window to the Body:

How Oral Hygiene Impacts

Whole-Body Health

We all know brushing and flossing are essential for a healthy smile, but you might be surprised to learn that dental hygiene isn’t just about keeping your teeth pearly white. Oral health impacts the whole-body health, which means problems with the teeth and gums can lead to a host of other health concerns. Local dentist, Dr. Michelle Corcoran Swift, DDS, explains the connection between oral health and the rest of the body and best practices for oral hygiene.

"Because the mouth is where your digestive tract starts, it is a window into the health of the body. There is a synergic relationship between oral health and overall health,” says Dr. Corcoran. “Poor dental hygiene can lead to gingivitis and then periodontal disease if left untreated. This increases your body’s overall inflammation levels, leading to diabetes, heart disease, or strokes, to name a few.” Gum disease is the most common chronic inflammatory condition, and the mouth can act as a portal of entry for infection. “Ongoing inflammation in your mouth can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream,” warns Dr. Corcoran.

The good news is, like most adverse health conditions, routine care can help prevent periodontal disease. Brushing twice daily and flossing are essential, but your diet plays a big role as well. “Eat a balanced diet and limit processed foods,” says Dr. Corcoran. “A whole foods diet is ideal. Processed foods can wreak havoc on your mouth.” It’s also important to maintain regular cleanings and check ups with your dentist.

Another important indicator that is just now catching traction is the prevention of mouth breathing. “Nasal breathing is good for you on so many levels,” says Dr. Corcoran. “It helps prevent dry mouth, which greatly reduces the risk of cavities, helps maintain a good pH, and increases your nitric oxide levels naturally.”

For patients who maintain a diet low in sugars and processed foods, but who still have cavities, mouth breathing is typically the culprit. It’s harmful all around but mouth breathing at night can severely impact sleep. “I see so many signs of obstructive sleep apnea in my chair,” Dr. Corcoran says. “I then refer them to have a sleep study done by a sleep medicine doctor to evaluate the severity of sleep discorded breathing.” Dr. Corcoran says some mild cases can be treated in office with an oral appliance, but some are too severe and need a CPAP. Obstructive Sleep Apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, ADHD, depression, and anxiety.

As you can see, poor oral health goes beyond the superficial and opens the door to much more chronic and severe health concerns. With healthy habits and a routine of care, your radiant smile can be a reflection of a healthy inside as well. 15
Peppermint Sage Dental Wellness, the Lake Area’s first dental boutique, is located at 632 W. McNeese Street in Lake Charles offering an elevated client experience while continuing to deliver high quality dental care.


Helps Relive Dental Anxiety

If you are afraid to go to the dentist, you are not alone. Research shows that up to 20 percent of Americans avoid dental care due to anxiety or fear. These feelings can stem from past negative experiences, history from their family or friends, or feeling a loss of control.

Everyone understands that regular dental visits are important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums, yet dental anxiety still keeps some people from receiving the recommended preventive care. They may never seek dental care until there is a serious – and painful – problem, a situation that only ads to their negative feelings about seeing a dentist. Choosing a dentist who offers dental sedation may help break this cycle of anxiety regarding this important aspect of your health.

“It’s always better to view dental care as preventative, not just reactive,” explains Dr. Sara Phillips, with Robinson Dental Group. “Putting off routine dental exams and cleaning leaves patients much more susceptible to tooth decay, infections and early tooth loss. Poor oral health can also impact your overall health, putting you at greater risk of heart disease and other serious conditions. We’ve made it a top priority in our practice to ensure the patient experience is as relaxing and stress-free as possible by offering IV Sedation to ease both pain and anxiety during dental treatments.”

March 26, 2023 from 11:00am-1:00pm

This course is for women who are in their third trimester and want to know what to expect during birth.

You Will Learn About:

• Your Pelvic Floor and its Role in Childbirth

• The Stages of Labor and What to Expect

• “Pushing” and How to Reduce Tearing

• Post-Partum Care

• C-Section Recovery

Whether you want to birth naturally or know you’ll have an epidural, knowledge is powerful when it comes to labor and birth.

*Partners are encouraged to attend.

Dr. Phillips explains that IV Sedation enables a sedative to be administered intravenously so the medication goes directly into the vein, making this a very fast-acting sedation option. The level of sedative can be controlled by the dentist, so the patient can be comfortable and relaxed, or for more extensive treatment or to address more extreme anxiety, it can be used to put the patient into more of a dream-like, but still conscious, state. Patients generally have very little to no memory of the procedure and must have a friend or family member drive them home following their appointment.

“Our sedatives are safe and effective, and we determine the best option for each patient by taking the treatment and the patients’ physiology into consideration, as well as discussing options with them so they are comfortable with their sedation plan,” Dr. Phillips adds. “Don’t let anxiety stop you from taking care of yourself. The greater risk comes with not doing anything.”

To find out more about sedation dentistry options at Robinson Dental Group, call 337-474-3636 or visit

16 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 Mind & Body | Dental Care Basics
“A course aimed to empower families to navigate birth with confidence.”
Stewart, PT, DPT and Alex Feagin, PT, DPT
(337) 990-5621 • 4141 Common St., Lake Charles, LA 70601
Owner: Katherine Stewart, PT, DPT Alex Feagin, PT, DPT

Dental Care Basics for KIDS


Kid’s diets can easily be filled with processed foods, high sugar snacks, and gummy candies. While those things are fine in moderation, they can wreak havoc on the teeth if incorporated as part of a regular diet. Take care to develop healthy eating and snacking habits that protect the teeth and improve overall health.

Little smiles are a big deal! Usually around the age of six months, babies’ teeth begin to erupt through the gums, it’s off to the races from there. By age three, most have made an appearance and keeping them healthy is important. Like any healthy habit, oral hygiene routines are formed over time. Having kids used to and even excited about tooth-brushing time will keep their smile healthy for years to come.

You may catch yourself wondering why primary teeth are so important if they’re going to fall out and make way for adult teeth. The American Dental Association reminds parents that healthy teeth are essential for chewing, proper speech development, and even determining the placement of adult teeth.

We’ve rounded up the basic tips for keeping those little smiles bright and healthy!

ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS Codie Lee Guidry Nurse Practitioner

Codie Lee Guidry, APRN, FNP-BC, is a boardcertified family nurse practitioner with Dr. Jason Morris’s family practice.

Even before your baby’s first teeth break through, you can use a damp cloth to wipe down gums after meals or bottles.

As soon as teeth appear, brush them gently twice a day with a soft bristle brush and a rice grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

This is also the best time to schedule their first dental check-up. No worries, the dentist is unlikely to perform any invasive procedures. It’ll acclimate your child to the dentist and allow for the early discovery of any prominent issues.

Between the ages of three and six, begin to teach your child how to brush and floss. Children should brush just like adults – twice a day, two minutes each, using a fluoride toothpaste. Don’t be afraid to make it fun! Colorful toothbrushes and sticker charts are a great way to get busy toddlers and kids excited about oral hygiene.

After working as a licensed practical nurse for 10 years, she attended McNeese State University where she received a Bachelor of Science in nursing in 2009 and a Master of Science in nursing in 2015. She has been employed with Imperial Health since 2015 and has experience in the fields of Gastroenterology, Hospitalist Medicine, Family Practice and Urgent Care.

She will continue working in urgent care and is currently scheduling new patient appointments for the family practice clinic.

These tips can help you develop a solid routine for your family, one that will have your whole family smiling ear-to-ear! 1 2 3 4 17 Walk-ins Welcome
277 Hwy 171, Ste. 8, Moss Bluff • (337) 312-0030
Same-day Appointments Available • Walk-ins Welcome

Smiles & Smiles of Success: DR. ERIC SANDERS

30 years ago, Dr. Eric Sanders graduated from dental school and began, what would grow to be an incredible career, at a small practice in DeRidder, Louisiana. What came in the three decades to follow is something Dr. Sanders attributes to success, teamwork, and clear communication. A thriving pediatric dentistry practice in Lake Charles and a beautiful family have taken shape from years of work and faith. Thrive caught up with Dr. Sanders to learn a little bit more about his practice and the man behind it.

What influenced you to become a dentist?

During my time at McNeese, I was a member of Kappa Sigma. My big brother in the fraternity was Greg Robertson. He went to dental school and encouraged me to apply. The rest is history! He practices in Alexandria and we’re still close friends today.

What drove your decision to focus on pediatric dentistry?

When I graduated from dental school in 1993, I went to work at Dental Plus in DeRidder, Louisiana. While there, I met Dr. John Hendry who is a pediatric dentist in Lafayette. I worked for him one day a week and that’s where I found my calling. I realized I was much better at treating kids than I initially gave myself credit for. With Dr. Hendry's encouragement, I applied to residency, was accepted, and upon completion in 1997, I opened my own practice. In 1999, I became a board certified pediatric dentist, the first one in our area.

What lessons have you learned along the way that led to the success of your practice today?

Our practice has been successful beyond anything I could have imagined, and I really have to attribute that to an amazing staff. I believe in keeping good people – pay them well, make them part of the team, and treat them fairly. I’ve had several employees reach the 20 year mark in our office, including Kim Barnes, who has been with us since near the beginning. She’s a huge part of our success. I always say, I can train people to be good but I can’t teach you to be nice and nice is always what we’re striving towards.

What makes your practice stand out?

Our focus is excellent communication with our patients and their parents. I’ve always been a proponent of parents in the back office and parents playing an active, informed role in their child’s dental care. We understand kids’ fears and work with parents to provide comprehensive and comfortable treatment in a non-threatening environment.

Tell us a little bit about Dr. Sanders, out of the office.

My beautiful wife, Sheila, and I are coming up on 20 years of marriage and we have two daughters, Maya (17) and Megan (15). I invest my time in local boards and causes. I love to run and play golf though, admittedly, I’m not great at either. But I’ll do them both until I can’t anymore! I am blessed to still be working and running. I love to travel alongside my family and when the day for retirement comes, Sheila and I will see what’s left of the world we haven’t seen yet. I also hope I can continue to be a mentor to patients and staff that have chosen to pursue pediatric dentistry.

Sanders Pediatric Dentistry is located at 2620 Country Club Road in Lake Charles. You can learn more about Dr. Sanders, his staff, and his practice by visiting

18 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 Mind & Body | Dental Care Basics 19 We provide specialized dentistry for children and adolescents in a “child-friendly” environment and where parents are more than welcome to accompany their child to the treatment room. Helping little smiles grow up to be big, healthy smiles! 2620 Country Club Road • Lake Charles, LA 70605 • (337) 433-kids (5437) WWW.SANDERSPD.COM
Dr. Eric A. Sanders
We’re your people. Being local means supporting great things close to home—and being part of something bigger. At Red River Bank, we don’t just appreciate your commitment to the community. We also share it. Kane Mitchell 337-656-6530 Barry Brown 337-656-6511 Fil Bordelon 337-656-6520 Katelynn Vaughn 337-656-6551 Lesley Warren 337-656-6521
Dr. Saima Khan

Screens are Vital for Preventing

Colon Cancer

It may be surprising to learn that colon cancer is the third leading cause of death in US men and women – and it is largely preventable.

“Colon cancer is often initially asymptomatic, which is why screening and early detection are critical,” explains Matthew Ayo, MD, general surgeon with Sulphur Surgical Clinic and medical staff member of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital.

“Colonoscopy is considered the gold standard screening test because it is the most sensitive for identifying colon polyps and cancer,” he says. Polyps are small growths within the colon; and are the precursors for colon cancer. If allowed to go unchecked, polyps have around a 30% chance of turning into cancer.



Number of new cases of colon cancer estimated for 2023




3 to 10 years

Frequency for subsequent colonoscopies, depending on the findings


Deaths due to colon cancer estimated for 2023 Recommended age for averagerisk adults to have their first colonoscopy


in cancer deaths among people who get a colonoscopy

March is Colon Cancer Awareness month. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and scheduling your colonoscopy.

Make a BIG Difference

Create a lifetime impact with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Big Sisters. has over 35 littles, matched with a Big.

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

Make a BIG Difference

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

Mikiria, 12 years old | Days waiting: 149

149 social, mature, wise and family-orientated. He enjoys spending friends and family. He video games and basketball. like a Big Brother who likes who is funny and can share another’s sense of humor. He has with getting his hair dyed his Big Brother to get his hair him! 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


Mikiria is very outgoing, direct and not afraid to tell it how it is. She is also bubbly and a big helper. She enjoys dancing, listening to music and loves animals. She likes seafood and would enjoy horse-back riding. She would love to know what her future Big Sister’s favorite color is, favorite food and what she likes to do! She would like a Big Sis to go shopping with, to talk to, and to dance with her.

sean, 12 years old | Days waiting: 87

Big Brothers Big like these Mikiria, 12 years

Sean is very social, mature, wise and family-orientated. He enjoys spending time with his friends and family. He also likes video games and basketball. He would like a Big Brother who likes video games, who is funny and can share one another’s sense of humor. He has a fascination with getting his hair dyed and wants his Big Brother to get his hair dyed with him!

Mikiria is very outgoing, to tell it how it is. She is helper. She enjoys dancing, and loves animals. She enjoy horse-back riding. know what her future Big is, favorite food and what would like a Big Sis to go to, and to dance with her.

sean, 12 years old

Create a lifetime impact with Big 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 21
today to become a Big.

National Recognition for QuickTake

A Southwest Louisiana company has been recognized by LG NOVA for innovative and transformative digital health concept.

QuickTake Health was selected out of 752 applicants one of the start-up companies chosen by LG Electronics’ North American Innovation Center (NOVA), for its “Mission for the Future,” a global search for companies with innovative concepts and transformative solutions that provide a positive impact on people and planet, to come explore collaboration opportunities with LG NOVA.

QuickTake Health was founded in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 2021 by Dr. John Noble, orthopaedic surgeon and Chief Medical Officer, and Rand Ragusa, Company President. During the pandemic, Ragusa worked for a company that provided digital thermal temperature reading kiosks at medical office entrances across the state after the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020.

This seamless process led him to consider how other vital sign data, such as height, weight, and blood pressure, could possibly be collected in the same automated, efficient way. At the same time, Dr. Noble was frustrated with the time it took his staff to take vital signs. Ragusa approached Dr. Noble to discuss a solution, and the vision behind QuickTake Health quickly took shape.

“Our goal was to build a quicker, smarter way to document vital signs and improve the patient experience,” said Dr. Noble. “We have put a lot of processes in place at Center for Orthopaedics to increase our personal interaction with patients, but we were often delayed waiting on vital signs to be entered into the patient record.”

Research shows that 56% of a health workers’ time in a normal work week is spent on administrative tasks rather than caring for patients.

Mind & Body

“The idea of creating a digital, onestop station that could capture the health data we – and all medical offices – need seemed long overdue,” says Dr. Noble.

The QuickTake system is powered by advanced camera technology, biometric sensors, and EHR (electronic health record) integration. A patient simply steps onto the QuickTake platform and their vital signs are instantly collected and transferred directly to their medical record, including:

• Temperature

• Height

• Weight


• Heart Rate / Pulse

• Facial Recognition

The entire process takes less than a minute and can be completed as part of the patient check-in, immediately when they enter the office.

QuickTake features the advanced LG Display OLED touchscreen that delivers a memorable patient experience, featuring physician welcome messages, educational content and QR code intake forms and communication. “For example, if a patient’s blood pressure is high, QuickTake can send a video or article link to them about lifestyle changes to help lower it. The system is completely customizable to allow a medical office or hospital to enhance personal communication with their patients,” said Dr. Noble.

The QuickTake proof-of-concept technology has been in place and tested at the Center for Orthopaedics’ offices since May 2022.

According to Dr. Noble, the feedback from patients and staff has been very favorable. “It’s really exceeded our expectations for the digital transformation of vital sign data collection. It’s seamless, time-saving and accurate.”

The QuickTake team may work with the LG NOVA’s team to explore a business plan.

“We are excited about this opportunity to collaborate with LG NOVA to achieve our mission of improving the lives of healthcare workers and accelerating positive outcomes for patients,” added Ragusa.

Learn more about QuickTake at

Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in the United States. A vital key to preventing colon cancer is early detection. Many screening options are available for colon cancer, but the best option is a colonoscopy. Colonoscopies are low-risk, outpatient procedures that allow our general surgery physicians to both diagnose colon cancer and remove colon polyps before they can become cancer. If you are over the age of 45, have a family history of colon cancer, or have noticed blood in your stool, you should consider scheduling a colonoscopy.

Convenient appointments with shorter wait times are now available. Get on the fast track for your screening colonoscopy today. To learn more or schedule an appointment, please call (337) 527-6363.

527-6363 701 Cypress Street, Sulphur
Colonoscopies Save Lives (337)


Southwest Louisiana continues to boom! New and familiar faces are leveraging technology, an ever-advancing workforce, and innovation to adapt and keep our area on the global stage for business and industry. Airports and ports are expanding and adding new services, our higher

Anchor here

the minute. It’s back to business as usual in our corner of the boot – growth!

Each year, our annual Economic Update celebrates this success by sharing a little bit with our readers about who and what has been moving and shaking the framework of Southwest Louisiana. Thrive applauds

24 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023
The Cameron Parish Port, Harbor and Terminal District boasts a superior mid-Gulf Coast location for companies in the maritime industry.
Anchor here at The Cameron Parish Port. Kim Montie - Port Director • Cameron Parish Port, Harbor & Terminal District • 337-775-5206 or
The Cameron Parish Port offers ideal positioning at the mouth of the Calcasieu Ship Channel, with access to both shallow-water and deep-water connectivity to inland and global markets. PHOTOS: CHENIERE LNG 25

first person

Jason French grew up in rural area just south of Louisville, Kentucky and, by all accounts, he had his path pretty well figured out. He was a student who excelled in the classroom and an athlete who spent his time on both basketball and tennis courts. His interest in politics and government became evident early on and he dove headfirst into it.

Opting to stay close to home, Jason attended the University of Louisville where he majored in political science. During his senior year, he was elected student government president.

Shortly thereafter, he was offered a full scholarship to attend law school. Still not knowing quite where he wanted his career to go, he jumped on the chance. After one year, he would make a decision that would open a world of opportunity.

Nearly 20 years later, Jason has opened his own consulting firm, French Strategic Partners and was recently named the Executive Director for McNeese State University’s LNG Center of Excellence. His resume includes other giants like BP, Cheniere Energy, and Tellurian.

Jason is the proud dad of Jackson (10) and Sutton (7).

Money & Career | ECONOMIC UPDATE

You’ve had a bit of an unlikely path to your current job. Tell us a little bit about your education and your initial career goals.

I majored in political science at the University of Louisville, but I was still unsure about how to change that political interest into a career. In law school, I was a decent student but I knew I didn’t want to be a practicing attorney. So, after my first year, I dropped out and went to work as the political director on a United States Senate campaign. I had finally found my path into the political arena I’d been searching for.

At this point in your life, you’re still in Kentucky. How’d you make it down to Louisiana?

At 25 years old, I waned a change; to see new places and have new experiences. I packed up and moved to Washington D.C., not sure what the future would hold. In 2009, after my first corporate job working for a major railroad, I moved to Oklahoma City to serve as the Government Affairs Director for BP. Then, on April 20, 2010, my career took an unexpected turn. The Deepwater Horizon explosion and the resulting oil spill brought me to Louisiana – I never left. I served as the Chief Public Information Officer at the response headquarters in Houma and later as the Community Liaison in Grand Isle. That was, without a doubt, the most challenging and interesting chapter of my career. I learned so much about Louisiana, its people, its leaders, and how to engage with communities in crisis.

You now own your own business. Tell us how that came about and what French Strategic Partners is all about.

I’ve always wanted to build something of my own. After nearly two decades of working inside companies and working with countless government affairs consultants, I felt I had a strong grasp on what distinguished the good consultants from the bad, and how to create real value for clients. So, in 2021, I finally took the plunge and formed French Strategic Partners. We have a diverse group of clients and offer a wide range of services: lobbying, crisis communications, business development, and community engagement. Our specialty is helping clients meaningfully engage with local communities and leaders. This also marked my return to Louisiana. While I am not a native son, it has always been like home to me. I love the place and was so excited to return after a brief break during the pandemic.

The McNeese LNG Center of Excellence is an exciting development. How did you get involved there and what does that job look like?

What are you most looking forward to at the LNG Center of Excellence?

The LNG Center of Excellence represents an important next chapter for the LNG industry and its relationship with Southwest Louisiana. The industry has spent over $35 billion in this region, with billions more expected in the next few years. But now they have an opportunity to help Southwest Louisiana grow alongside the industry – to create job opportunities for Louisiana students and to establish Southwest Louisiana as a leader in the new energy economy. I am most excited about the opportunities this center can provide for local students who want to work in and advance in the LNG industry.

What’s next for Jason French? Hopes, dreams, plans.

My professional goals right now are ambitious, but simple. I want to build a world-class LNG Center of Excellence that this community can be proud of and one we can leverage for economic growth and opportunity for years to come. I also want to build my company, French Strategic Partners, into a leading government and public affairs firm that can help clients as they work to create more economic opportunity for Louisianans. I’m eager to see where both these ventures are in a few years. It’s going to be a fun ride!


got a strong background in the LNG industry. When did that start?

In late 2011, I was recruited to head up government affairs efforts for a then littleknown company called Cheniere Energy. At the time, Cheniere was the first company planning to export LNG from the United States. Today, just 12 years later, they are an undeniable success story. They’ve helped establish the United States as the world’s leading exporter of LNG. In 2016, I went to work as Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for Tellurian, who is now building Driftwood LNG in Carlyss.

President Burckel, LAIA President Jim Rock, and then-dean of the School of Engineering Tim Hall asked my advice on candidates to lead the center. I offered my suggestions, however after a few weeks, they came back and asked if I would consider the position myself. I was humbled by the request and I was honored to be chosen to lead the effort. The LNG Center of Excellence will be transformative for the University as we establish a pathway for local students to work in this globally important industry and establish Southwest Louisiana as a thought leader in LNG. It is exciting to lead such a substantive project that will bring together universities, stakeholders, and the industry itself.



Cyberattacks are constantly evolving, but businesses should be aware of the most common types:

• Malware—software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server, client, or network.

• Viruses—harmful programs intended to spread from computer to computer (and other connected devices), giving access to your system.

• Ransomware—infects and restricts access to a computer until a ransom is paid.

• Phishing—uses email or a malicious website to collect sensitive information; usually appear as though they’ve been sent from a legitimate organization or known individual.

Businesses can no longer afford to place cybersecurity at the bottom of the budget— cyberattacks can target any business, regardless of size, strict security, and privacy regulations surrounding data.

“Every year marks another ‘worst year ever’ for cyberattacks,” said Joshua Tannehill, Senior Manager of Trust and Safety for Lumen. “The good news is that it is estimated that 93 percent of all breaches can be avoided if simple processes are put in place. From regularly updating software, training employees on the ins and outs of email phishing campaigns, and implementing multi-factor authentication, there are many effective ways of preventing cybercriminals from getting what they want. But, these are what I like to call the ‘first line of defense.’ Businesses need a full cybersecurity strategy to protect themselves, their customers, and their data from growing threats. That’s where the SWLA Cybersecurity Summit can help.”

28 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 Money & Career | ECONOMIC UPDATE

The 2022 SWLA Cybersecurity Summit and Expo event hosted nearly 120 local business owners, managers, IT professionals, government officials, and other attendees who needed to enhance their knowledge base in this critical area of today’s business environment.

“This is the only event of its kind for our area,” said Brett Dering, Chief Technology Officer at AOP Inc. in Lake Charles. “Its purpose is to provide education about the latest cybersecurity threats and trends, including government resources available to help ‘level-up’ protection, detection and response.”

This year’s event is slated for July 12th and 13th at the Lake Charles Civic Center in partnership with AOP Inc. and will include sessions with presentations from national experts in the cybersecurity field, along with vendor booths from related software companies, allowing attendees to speak directly to company representatives.

“AOP was founded on bringing together business and technology,” said Dering. “First, it was copiers and printers, then networks, managed services, cloud infrastructure and now fiber internet. As cybersecurity becomes paramount to a business’s success and sustainability, we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can, so our community is prepared for what they will inevitably face. The question is not if you will be a victim of a cyberattack, but when. Being proactive when it comes to cybersecurity is the only way to protect what you’ve worked hard to build.”

For more information about the 2023 SWLA Cybersecurity Summit and Expo or to become a sponsor, please email 29 P R OV I DING NG LIVES. 22-0002_33 © 2022 Phillips 66 Company. All rights reserved. @Phillips66Co
At Phillips 66, supporting our people, our environment and our communities guides everything we do.




For starters, The Port of Lake Charles is the nation’s 14th-busiest port district, based on tonnage. It’s the anchor of “America’s Energy Corridor” — both as the world’s No. 1 liquid natural gas (LNG) export area and as a major mover of petrochemical industry materials. It’s also a port of choice for breakbulk, specialty, and project cargoes — ranging from international lumber shipments to global industrial needs.


The port district and Calcasieu Ship Channel generate significant economic numbers both locally and nationally. Here’s a sample:

• The Ship Channel supports $39 billion of total economic value to the U.S. economy annually, according to a 2021 economic impact study commissioned by the port.

• About $12 billion of that value was in


A new milestone last year paired the Lacassine-based Southwest Louisiana Rail Facility with the port-owned Industrial Canal. The SLRF loaded its first barge of rough rice at the port property — a diversification that can open new international markets for locally grown unmilled rice. Other cargoes handled at port sites include:

Money & Career | ECONOMIC UPDATE



Chennault’s achievements in the past year have already flowed into a just-as-busy 2023. The east Lake Charles aerospace/manufacturing complex is an economic powerhouse for Southwest Louisiana.

Here’s a small sample of some big numbers:

• Chennault generates $410 million in annual economic impact, according to economist Dr. Loren Scott.

• Chennault creates $177 million in annual sales at Calcasieu Parish businesses.

• Its tenant partners — firms such as Northrop Grumman, Citadel Completions, LandLocked Aviation, Million Air, CDL Mentors, Jeff Davis Electric and Masonite/ Louisiana Millwork — employ more than 1,000 people

32 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 Money & Career | ECONOMIC UPDATE


In the past 12 months at Chennault:

• A major step was taken toward the entering the air cargo sector. The chief enticement is a new $4 million facility that’s ready to be leased by an air cargo enterprise.

• Lousiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has opened its new administrative office.

• The Emergency Operations Center has been completed to protect Chennault personnel who routinely ride out storms.

• Heads of state worldwide chose Chennault’s tenants to perform a top-to-bottom renovation and makeover on their aircraft.


Aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) work remains the biggest source of jobs among Chennault’s tenant partners. However, other initiatives are under way now, or upcoming:

• The Louisiana National Guard is building a regional readiness center.

• Planet Construction, which builds Planet Fitness gyms, intends to put its home base here.

• Formal announcements are expected that will produce up to 200 jobs and lead to significant additional work at Chennault. The construction is expected to drive even more interest from maintenance repair organizations.

• The push to build new hangar space and grow job creating capacity will be boosted by strengthened bond capacity, which was brought on by voters approving a millage renewal at the turn of the year.

• Chennault has developed a five-year master plan to develop the former Mallard Cove Golf Course, which it bought from the city. The plan calls for utility and road access development. Hangars, warehousing and manufacturing are the intended development.

• The airport will host the Chennault International Airshow May 19-21.

For more information about Chennault, visit and follow its LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook platforms.


Chennault is an essential source of jobs and economic growth in Southwest Louisiana.

Here’s what Chennault delivers in Southwest Louisiana:

► $410 million in annual economic impact.

► More than 1,000 jobs — people hired by our tenant partners, not government jobs.

► $136 million in local household earnings.

Chennault is the choice of world-class leaders in aerospace and manufacturing like Northrop Grumman, Citadel Completions, LandLocked Aviation, Masonite/ Louisiana Millworks, and Million Air. We’ve also diversified by adding an air cargo facility.

That’s why Chennault is a centerpiece of the Southwest Louisiana economy. 33

Approximately $ 81 MILLION

2022 property taxes paid by local industries


Lake Area Industry Alliance has released the amount of property taxes paid by industries in Calcasieu Parish in 2022. According to figures obtained from the Calcasieu Assessor’s office, local industries paid approximately $81 million in property tax. Nine of the top 11 property taxpayers were local industries.

This tax revenue is divided among several local entities, mainly the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, Calcasieu Parish School Board, and the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. Over $50 million went to parish taxing districts

including the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, the Calcasieu Parish School Board received almost $20 million, and the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office received almost $10 million.

“Local industries are a strong economic benefit to Southwest Louisiana,” explains Jim Rock, executive director of Lake Area Industry Alliance. “In addition to property tax, local industries pay even more in local and state sales tax annually, which is a major contributor to the government revenue. The tax dollars benefit our community by going towards infrastructure upgrades for roads, bridges, stormwater systems, and other facilities, funding for law enforcement equipment and school improvement projects to make our region better. The impact to our region is significant.”

In 2022 local industries also paid over $1.2 billion in salaries to employees and donated over $200,000 to the SOWELA Foundation. One local industry has donated over $200,000 to the McNeese State University engineering department over a five-year period for enhancing engineering education. Additionally, these industries donated millions to other charitable causes and their employees volunteered over 25,000 hours to area events, including Partners in Education, Paint Recycling, E-Recycling and Chem Expo.

Lake Area Industry Alliance is made up of 24 members of local industries. Member companies and other information can be found at

Money & Career | ECONOMIC UPDATE
Source: Calcasieu Assessor's Office


Jim Rock, executive director with Lake Area Industry Alliance, announces the 2023-2024 LAIA executive board.

Mark Peters, site executive director with Lotte Chemical, was appointed chairman. Greg Gray, plant manager with Grace, was appointed vice chair. Greg Defrates, executive director with Firestone Polymers, was appointed secretary/treasurer.

“I work closely with the executive board on strategic planning for LAIA as well as

leadership for our various committees and community outreach involving local industries,” explains Rock. Each position is a two-year term.

LAIA was formed in 2000 to provide a collective voice for industries in Southwest Louisiana. It is a channel of communication between industries and the community, civic leaders, elected officials, educators and non-profit organizations.

For more information, visit

Lake Area Industry Alliance is Proud to be Part of the Southwest Louisiana Community

Southwest Louisiana is home to a thriving industrial community.

Lake Area Industry Alliance is proud to be a channel of communication between industries and our community, offering education about the industrial processes, working with area schools to meet present and future needs of the industrial community, and lending support to local leaders for the continued positive growth of Southwest Louisiana.

Beginning with supporting the World War II efforts with refineries to produce fuel, to current production of hydrazine to assist spacecraft landing on Mars, the companies represented by LAIA continue to produce products that consumers depend on and demand.

The taxes paid by industry including property, sales and state income tax, have enabled the parish to improve our schools, enhance our sheriff’s office facilities and supplies and improve area roads and drainage. Donations to charitable causes and educational institutions such as McNeese University, SOWELA and the parish school system improve the educational foundation for those in our area. Annually, thousands of volunteer hours of have helped those in need to build a better life for themselves and their families.

Lake Area Industry Alliance members produce products that we need every day while improving the quality of life in the community where we work and live. 35
Mark Peters Greg Gray Greg Defrates



Made in Louisiana - true of each of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes that depart Cheniere’s Sabine Pass liquefaction facility. Located in Cameron Parish, Cheniere began exporting LNG in 2016 and has exported approximately 2,000 cargoes to date. LNG is a cleaner and more affordable source of energy used in lighting homes, powering factories, and more. Exports from both of Cheniere’s facilities travel around the world to help. One LNG cargo can provide heat for about one million Europeans for one month. In fact, more than 65% of all of Cheniere’s production in 2022 was exported to Europe during a time where more reliable sources of energy were needed.




Program following its postponement in 2020. The Internship Program demonstrates Cameron LNG’s commitment to education by supporting the development of local students. Throughout the 10-week summer program, students will learn about Cameron LNG’s business and gain advanced knowledge on how to safely transform natural gas into LNG. Assignments are designed to be challenging yet rewarding and mirror the responsibilities of industry professionals. We aim to provide college-level students with hands-on experience to support career aspirations. Students interested in participating in the program must apply by March 31st at CameronLNG. com > Careers > Jobs at CLNG.

Money & Career | ECONOMIC UPDATE
LNG announced the reintroduction of Internship


Tellurian made significant progress on its lowcost, global natural gas business in 2022. Initial construction began for the first phase of its approximately $15 billion Driftwood LNG export facility located in Carlyss. This was made possible, in part, by their integrated business model. With over 20,000 acres of upstream natural gas production assets in Haynesville, Tellurian is producing critical revenue as it works on securing equity partners for Driftwood LNG. In the meantime, Tellurian continues to demonstrate its commitment to be a Good Neighbor. To date, Tellurian has invested over $2.5 million in Southwest Louisiana - from neighborhood infrastructure improvement projects to local schools to area non-profits and more. 37


Industry in Southwest Louisiana is a leading provider of employment for the local workforce. Industry relies on help from companies like ReCon Management Services Inc. for assistance with engineering consulting, technical expertise, and industrial staffing.

ReCon’s Louisiana corporate office houses 200 employees that support local industry with engineering consulting. In addition, ReCon provides contract staffing, project management, and inspection services to a wide range of industries across Louisiana and Texas. The company was founded in Sulphur, Louisiana, in 1995, and has since expanded significantly to meet the growing demands of industry. ReCon now employs over 600 people, with offices in Sulphur, Lake Charles, Beaumont, Baton Rouge and Houston.

“There have been a lot of changes in industry over the past 28 years,” says Roger Boyette, President/CEO of ReCon. “Our willingness to adapt to changing needs, along with what I call our ‘do what it takes’

attitude have been the keys to our success. We take pride in providing a full-service approach to any project, from start-up to modernization or expansion of existing plants.”

On average, ReCon has over 300 employees working on-site in area industry. Boyette says this number fluctuates based on construction and maintenance projects taking place in the region. “Our employees have direct operating experience within industry, so we understand our client’s needs. We are also constantly recruiting people to ensure we have a database of qualified candidates ready to go to work when needed.”

Using contractor services like ReCon is a very useful tool for many different types of industrial  companies where flexibility and specialized skills are needed on a long or short-term basis. Boyette says the benefits include:

Cost Saving:  If a company doesn’t have the resources to hire a full-time employee but needs someone with specific skills and/ or experience to fill in a position or help with a project, ReCon’s team members are able to step up and help out for the limited amount of time they’re needed.

Employment Qualifications: ReCon provides pre-qualified workers who have been thoroughly vetted to make sure they meet the qualifications required for the job. This saves the company the expense of recruiting and qualifying the workers.

Training: When industry needs workers on short notice, one of the biggest hiring challenges is the lengthy training process before the new hire will be ready to fully take on the necessary workload. ReCon’s experienced contract staff has already received the necessary training and won’t need extensive guidance.

Specialization: In addition to workforce staffing, there are times industry requires additional expertise in critical areas, such as engineering, inspection, and surveying, just to name few. This is more common during start-up, expansion and maintenance turnarounds. ReCon has skilled, experienced professionals in these and other fields who can quickly supplement a company’s team when and where they are needed.

38 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 Money & Career | ECONOMIC UPDATE

Flexibility: Industry work and job demands are unpredictable. Working in diverse locations in small increments of time, or going through periods of rapid expansion followed by periods of relative stagnation create the ideal circumstances for contract workers, who can step in at short notice, and can be hired to fill in for short periods of time. Another part of this challenge is requirements for specialized skilled workers to lend expertise at different phases of a project. ReCon has qualified, experienced staff in a variety of fields, including engineering, drafting, construction, project management, inspection and more, to assist when needed.

“With workforce shortages an ongoing problem across many industries, we are proud to provide much needed staffing and technical support services to help Southwest Louisiana industry continue their growth and success,” adds Boyette.

For more information about ReCon, visit

RECON SNAPSHOT 39 | 888-301-4662 | 1907 Ruth St, Sulphur, LA
Approximately 98% customer retention rate 5 locations in Louisiana and Texas and growing Professional engineers average experience greater than 25 years 600+ employees 750+ Projects per year $80 million in average revenue ReCon has provided high quality professional contract staffing, engineering and inspection services to a wide range of industries across Southwest Louisiana for over 25 years, building a reputation for energy, innovation and quality.




When Hurricane Laura unleashed her fury on Southwest Louisiana in August 2020, SOWELA Technical Community College’s Lake Charles campus suffered catastrophic loss. All 13 buildings on site were affected, ranging from moderate roof damage to total loss, resulting in $45 million in damages. SOWELA implemented the fastest rebuild schedule to date with the State of Louisiana. Work began almost immediately on all 13 buildings.

“The SOWELA campus suffered massive destruction from Hurricane Laura and Delta, and at times the destruction seemed to jeopardize the future of the College,” said Chancellor Dr. Neil Aspinwall. “However, with great support from the State of Louisiana, the institution has been totally rebuilt, and I am pleased to say the College is thriving again and enrollment is increasing.”

Classes at the Lake Charles campus were paused for a time in the Fall of 2020 but they restarted virtually on Sept. 25, 2020. By the Spring 2021 semester, most classes returned to on-campus instruction where applicable. Construction took place in four phases. Phase I – December 2020 through April 2021 – saw the repairs of the Transportation Technology Building; Phillips 66 Process Technology Building; H.C. Drew Nursing and Allied Health Building; Regional Training Center; and the Sycamore Student Center and Gerstner Building. Phase II, completed in August 2021, included the Charleston, Magnolia, Pelican, Chennault, and Cypress Buildings. Phase III of construction, which included the Arts & Humanities Building, was fast-tracked due to the vital classroom capacity role this building serves. It reopened to students, faculty, and staff for the Spring 2022 semester.

The Calcasieu Building comprises phase IV of rebuilding efforts. After engineers assessed this facility, they determined it would be less expensive to tear down and rebuild it than to undergo repairs. Final approval from FEMA

for total replacement is anticipated sometime this year. New features include state-of-theart chemistry/biology labs; an expanded information technology area; HVAC labs; and additional classroom/labs for the Workforce Solutions department.

An exciting new Culinary, Gaming, and Hospitality Center had been underway when Hurricane Laura hit. Construction was originally set to be completed in March 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic and numerous natural disasters repeatedly delayed the timeline. SOWELA is pleased to report that they opened this $10.8 million facility earlier this year. The 28,000 square foot facility provides high demand education and handson training for students seeking a growing number of careers in culinary arts, business administration, and information systems technology along with a dealer school and custom training opportunities for Louisiana’s booming hospitality industry.

40 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 Money & Career | ECONOMIC UPDATE
HC Drew Nursing Post Laura Regional Training Center Post Laura Charleston Post Laura

According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, Louisiana is expected to see a 14.9% increase in hospitality employment opportunities by 2026. The goal of the Culinary, Gaming, and Hospitality Center is to help fill Louisiana Workforce Commission rated four-star hospitality occupations in Louisiana’s economy.

“Even through all the destruction of the hurricanes, the progress on the Culinary, Gaming, and Hospitality Center continued,” said Aspinwall. “Though there were obstacles due to material and labor shortages, the contractor, architects, and project managers delivered a state-of-the-art facility and probably one of the best of its kind in Louisiana.”

Paid for with Perkins V Funds - FY22-23. SOWELA Technical Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, or age in its programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies: Compliance Officer, 3820 Sen. J. Bennett Johnston Ave., Lake Charles, LA 70615, 337-421-6565 or 800-256-0483, Learn more about SOWELA’s Culinary Arts program. • Choose from online or on-campus classes. • Scholarships and financial aid available for those who qualify. • Study in the new, state-of-the-art Culinary, Gaming and Hospitality Center! FIRE UP YOUR CAREER with a CULINARY DEGREE 337-421-6550 • WWW.SOWELA.EDU 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


Tellurian Inc. is developing a low-cost, global natural gas business to provide consumers world-wide with a more reliable, cleaner energy supply. At the heart of this business is our proposed liquefied natural gas export facility, Driftwood LNG, to be located in Carlyss, Louisiana along the Calcasieu Ship Channel. This ~$15 Billion-dollar project will create over 6,500 construction jobs and over 400 permanent jobs in Southwest Louisiana. We are proud of the economic benefits and new employment opportunities that this can bring to the region. Working with and investing in our local neighbors is important to us.

We invite you to become part of this project – learn more at

For vendors and suppliers, please visit the Questions & Connections tab at

Learn more at


Sasol’s Lake Charles Chemical Complex is positioned to create economic growth and pave the way for a clean energy future in Southwest Louisiana

Reducing GHG emissions 30% by 2030

• Increasing renewable energy use

• Optimizing energy efficiency

• Pursuing carbon capture use & storage 43

Just Imagine SWLA

Coastal Flood Risk Reduction

The Coastal Flood Risk Reduction catalytic project as identified through public input for Just Imagine SWLA has 92% support from residents as being a priority for the future of Southwest Louisiana. As underscored by land loss from hurricanes, it is imperative to take measures to preserve the coastline which protects not only Cameron Parish but also Calcasieu Parish, in addition to parishes farther north, from damaging impacts caused by storm surge and loss of land resulting from it.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, between 1932 and 2016, Louisiana’s coastal parishes lost more than 2,000 square miles of land. Collectively, this is an area larger than the state of Delaware. When a major hurricane hits, a football field of land can be lost in minutes. The Just Imagine SWLA team is working alongside the Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority (CPRA) in finding viable solutions to this critical issue.

Laurie Cormier, Board Member for the CPRA, explains that the eastern part of coastal Louisiana is a delta with the southwestern side being a chenier plain, one of only three in the world. This was formed by the back flow of the Mississippi River over time, creating wetlands and estuaries for wildlife. She emphasizes that protecting land in Cameron Parish is equally critical for the future of Calcasieu Parish.

“Protection of the chenier plain and coastal Louisiana is direly needed to protect the citizens of Calcasieu Parish and the wetlands of the chenier plain because when you protect the wetlands, you lower the storm surge from hurricanes resulting in less damage falling on the citizens of Calcasieu Parish. Protecting and restoring the chenier plain is simply the most important work many of us may do in our lifetime,” said Cormier.

Cameron Parish has tremendous economic value for the entire world with the rich natural resources available in this area. Southwest Louisiana as a whole is described as the tip of the spear when it comes to coastal land loss, protection and restoration as well as the global export of liquified natural gas, according to Clair Marceaux, a Cameron Parish native and a Just Imagine SWLA champion for Coastal Flood Risk Reduction.

“Cameron Parish now exports more natural gas than Australia and Quatar, helping to make the United States the largest exporter of LNG in the world. These projects have injected an estimated $50 billion dollars into our economy with more than $40 billion additional under development. We are also home to one of the two Strategic Petroleum Reserves in the US. In addition, Cameron Parish is now home to the once endangered Whooping Crane, 669,000 acres of vitally important wetlands and a commercial fishing industry that helps to feed

our nation, not to mention three federal and one state wildlife refuge,” said Marceaux. Multiple lines of defense in the forms of rocks, berms, levees and other protective measures are critical as is securing funding of these projects to mitigate loss of land.

“Gulf shoreline protection is our first opportunity to reduce erosion, protect existing land, grow new land, and enhance fisheries habitat in areas that were previously open water.  Fortifying the coastline provides mother nature and our stakeholders with a chance to make more improvements further inland. Further structural protection in the form of berms or levees provide a reduction in the power of a storm. Collaboration amongst our locals is the key to developing these projects and receiving the necessary state and federal dollars for construction,” said Louisiana State Representative Ryan Bourriaque.

To view the Coastal Risk Reduction portion of masterplan for Just Imagine SWLA, go to

44 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 Money & Career
photography by Lindsey Janies 45 L a f a y e t t e • C r o w l e y • B a t o n R o u g e • H a m m o n d • M a n d e v i l l e • N e w O r l e a n s • H o u m a L a k e C h a r l e s • DeRidder • Monroe • Shreveport • Alexandria • Natchitoches • Tyler & Beaumont, TX Louisiana Owned • Customer Focused • Results Driven 1.800.737.2847 JJEXT.COM NOW OFFERING! - New or Over Existing InsulationEXTERMINATING

Secure Document Handling for Business

Protect Your Information & Your Reputation

Even in the digital age, a wide array of documents containing confidential information are produced every day. Employee records, client records, bank statements, receipts, insurance policies, vendor invoices, tax returns, credit card bills, and even junk mail contain information that can be used to steal an individual’s or business’s identity and money.

“In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to overlook all of the documents that contain personal and financial information,” says Marwa Vicknair, co-owner of Reliable Document Storage & Shredding, a full service records and information management company based in Lake Charles. “Developing a records retention policy helps your employees understand what is considered confidential information, what documents should be filed, and what documents should be shredded. Having this policy in place is a cost-effective way to protect your business from fraud and sets an expectation for how employees manage company data from creation through destruction. Tax season is a good time to review your policy and securely purge document you don’t need to keep on site.”

What’s the Risk of Not Having a Retention Policy?

Information Security

Storing records away for an indefinite period or keeping information that isn’t being used can increase the risk of a privacy breach. Destroying outdated business records keeps your reputation intact by relieving customers and employees of any security concerns.

Space & Time

Traditional efforts to maintain onsite paper-based records storage creates issues like space conservation, accessibility frustrations and work inefficiencies. When creating your plan, consider an offsite document storage option to help you keep your important business documents secure, organized, and protected from unexpected damage.

Legal Ramifications

Many of the documents your organization produces have a period of retention before they can be destroyed. Several federal agencies set document retention policies as well some state and local groups for different types of businesses. Therefore, it is a good practice to categorize your files and then find out how long you need to keep each set.

Reliable Document Storage & Shredding is located at 2925 Industrial Avenue in Lake Charles. For more information, call (337) 307-5327 or visit

Develop a Records Retention Policy

To develop your policy, start by implementing these five questions, if the answer is yes to ANY question, then the document should be shredded.

1. Does it have any personally identifiable information?

2. Does it contain information protected by privacy laws?

3. Does it violate any privacy laws?

4. Does it share any confidential corporate information?

5. Does the document list any financial information?

46 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 Money & Career 47 for 12 months or 3.5% APY* for 6 months (337) 433-3611 | | SPECIAL CD RATE 4.0 % APY* $2,500 minimum deposit required; offer may end at any time, with or without notice *Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is accurate and effective as of 2/22/23 and may change without notice. Not available to commercial/business accounts. Penalty will be imposed for early withdrawal.

Money & Career

Movers and Shakers in Southwest Louisiana...

Dr. Steven Hale Inducted as First Vice President of the Louisiana Orthopaedic Association

Dr. Steven Hale, orthopaedic surgeon with the Center for Orthopaedics in Lake Charles, Louisiana, was elected First Vice President of the Louisiana Orthopaedic Association (LOA) at their 2023 Annual Meeting in New Orleans on February 4.  He will ascend to the role of President next year.

Dr. Hale specializes in joint replacement surgery, including robotic-assisted hip and knee replacement; sports medicine; knee surgery; shoulder surgery; hip surgery; fracture care; orthobiologics and arthritis treatment.

Hess & Desselle Appointed to Executive Board Officers

West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce appoints CSE Federal Credit Union’s (CSE) Chief Marketing Officer Colleen Desselle and CSE Chief Lending Officer Ryan Hess to its Executive Board Officers for the 20232024 business year

Desselle and Hess’s addition to the West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce Executive Board Officers allows them to provide a voice for the West Calcasieu area on matters of economic, educational, social and public concerns and promote actions that develop pride in the community.

Desselle’s years of experience in Marketing and service to the Southwest Louisiana community will be beneficial in helping West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce achieve their mission of making a real impact in the West Calcasieu community through her position as Chair Elect.

Hess’s experience in Lending and service to the Southwest Louisiana area with volunteer efforts with non-profit organizations will be valuable in assisting West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce’s growth through his position as Treasurer.

His experience in the financial industry and service to the area will be beneficial in helping the Chamber of SWLA achieve their mission of making a real difference in Southwest Louisiana through networking with business professionals.

The Chamber of SWLA is a coalition of businesses and organizations working together to make Southwest Louisiana a better place to live and work. Visit for more information about the Chamber of SWLA.

If you would like more information about CSE, please contact Morgan Martel, Marketing Communications Specialist, at 337.562.3161.

CSE Federal Credit Union Announces New Branch Manager in Sulphur, LA

CSE Federal Credit Union (CSE) is pleased to announce the selection of Kyle Witt as the Sulphur location’s new Branch Manager, as Branch Manager, Diana Landry, retired in January of 2023.  Witt joined CSE in 2016, working through different levels of the Operations Department and continuing as the Assistant Branch Manager for a total of four years altogether. His career in the financial industry began ten years ago at Chase Bank and has flourished since. He holds a certification as a credit union Financial Counselor and IRA Specialist II.

Shalisa Roland and Melissa Trahan Graduate from Louisiana Travel Association Programs

The Louisiana Travel Association (LTA) recently celebrated the graduation of two Visit Lake Charles staff members from leadership and educational programs. Shalisa Roland, director of public relations, graduated from the Louisiana Travel Leadership Academy (LTLA), and Melissa Trahan, director of visitor experiences, earned her “Certified Travel Specialist” credential (CTS).

The 12 members of the CTS class spent 2022 developing skills through four educational sessions.  The graduates learned about customer service, heard from leaders in the state travel industry, explored personal growth process, learned how to navigate Louisiana tourism resources, and connected their jobs to their communities.

To learn more about LTA, visit

If you would like more information about CSE, please contact Morgan Martel, Marketing Communications Specialist, at 337.562.3161.

CSE President/CEO

Appointed to the Chamber SWLA

The Chamber of Southwest Louisiana (SWLA) appointed CSE Federal Credit Union’s (CSE) President/CEO Matt Koch to its Board of Directors and Vice Chair of Education and Workforce for the 2023 business year.

Koch’s addition to the committee allows him to facilitate partnerships among business/industry, government, education, and the community of Southwest Louisiana to provide a skilled and employable workforce that supports economic development.

Landry has served CSE for over four decades, beginning her position in management in 2008.

If you would like more information about CSE, please contact Morgan Martel, Marketing Communications Specialist, at 337.562.3161.

McMurry Appointed to WCCH Board of Commissioners

In the January 24, 2023, Board of Commissioners of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital (WCCH) meeting, WCCH welcomed S. Mark McMurry as the new commissioner representing the Sulphur/Carlyss area.

48 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023
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McMurry was appointed by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury in December 2022 to fulfill the term of Frank A. LaBarbera, Jr., who served for over eighteen years. Dr. Steven Hale Matt Koch Shalisa Roland Melissa Trahan Kyle Witt S. Mark McMurry

McMurry serves as president of McMurry Leadership & Management LLC, and holds a Master’s in Public Administration degree (MPA) from Louisiana State University. Prior to his current role, he served as Parish Administrator for the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury until his retirement in 2010. McMurry remains active in the community, where he serves as a board member for various business and civic organizations. He has received several awards for his continued community commitment throughout his career, including being the 2003 recipient of the statewide Public Service Award given by the Louisiana Public Health Association for service and support of public health efforts and activities in the community and the state.

Current members also serving on the Board of Commissioners of WCCH include Chairman Robert “Bob” Davidson of Sulphur, Vice Chairman Rickey Watson of Vinton, Bobby LeTard of Westlake and Carol “Bobbie” Fountain of Hackberry.

Ken Thomas, MD, Elected 2023 President of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital Medical Staff

Ken Thomas, MD, family medicine physician, was elected president of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital’s (WCCH) medical staff at the annual general medical staff meeting. As president, Dr. Thomas will work with the medical staff and team members to ensure the quality and efficiency of clinical services and performance within the hospital.

In his term, Dr. Thomas will serve as chairman of the Medical Executive Committee and organized general medical staff and will attend WCCH Board of Commissioners meetings.

Dr. Thomas practices alongside Maureen Lannan, MD, family medicine physician, at The Cypress Clinic, located at 622 Cypress Street in Sulphur.

JD Bank Announces Promotion of Misty Hearod

JD Bank is pleased to announce the promotion of Misty Hearod to Vice President Trust Officer and Trust Department Manager. In her new role, Hearod is responsible for the management of JD Bank’s Trust Department, which consists of administering a large book of personal, medical, charitable, tribal, supplemental needs, asset preservation trusts, and Investment Agency accounts. She will also oversee the Trust Department’s administration of Corporate Employee Benefit Plans along

with other retirement plans for individuals and businesses. Hearod joined JD Bank as a parttime teller in May 2003. She became a full-time employee of the Trust Department in August 2003.

Hearod is a lifelong resident of the Southwest Louisiana area and graduated from Iota High School in 1999. She is a 2017 graduate of the Cannon Financial Personal Trust School at Boston University. 49
Dr. Ken Thomas Misty Hearod

Dealing with Death

It’s the topic no one wants to discuss, but one we’ll all be faced with some day – our own mortality. Many, if not all, have dealt with a loved one’s passing at some point. There is immense grief but grief can coexist with the celebration of joy, purpose, and legacy that life brought about. In this special section, Dealing with Death, readers can expect to find resources for giving their loved ones the most precious gift – the gift of peace of mind and the freedom to mourn and celebrate unburdened by logistics. Join us as we hear from local experts who truly help Southwest Louisiana celebrate the joie de vivre, the joy of life!

50 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023
Family Shayne M L aughlin, C hFC • 4415-A La ke Street La ke C harles, L A 337.477.7354
insurance is like a parachute;
you don’t have it the first time you
it, there is no second chance.”
Home &

A Lasting Gift: Life Insurance

There’s no doubt your passing will leave a hole in someone’s life. Your presence, laughter, friendship, and maybe that dish you cook the absolute best will be missed beyond measure – it’s the price we pay for love. Your death could also leave a financial gap in your loved one’s lives, especially if you are the primary or majority provider for your family’s needs.

“The purchase of a life insurance policy is the single, most thoughtful gift you could purchase for your family,” says local State Farm agent Shayne Laughlin. “In fact, unlike car or home insurance, I can tell you that it is the only product I sell that I know, without a doubt, you will use some day.”

If you polled the public, the chief complaint surrounding life insurance would probably be the cost of a policy.

Laughlin says the key is to lock in those rates early in life. “The biggest issue I see is that people typically don’t start thinking about life insurance until after age 40, and at that point it’s more costly.” She adds, “It’s never too early. Purchasing policies for your children is inexpensive and guarantees them coverage for life at that premium. They can assume the policy and payments when they are of age.”

Typically as people advance in age, they are more prone to develop health issues which can make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to obtain coverage. That’s why Laughlin advises that, at the very least, you should purchase a policy with enough money to cover funeral expenses and a burial of your choosing. “Going without life insurance is, simply put, a poor decision,” she says.

Term? Whole? What’s the deal? The names of these policies line it out. A term policy is purchased for a set term and expires at the age listed in the policy. It is not meant to last your lifetime and, while it can be an asset, Laughlin advises you shouldn’t have it be your stand-alone policy. “Term life insurance is a useful tool in planning for your financial future, but a whole life insurance policy will pay out upon your death no matter what age.” Whole life insurance is just like it sounds; you are covered for the entirety of your life. Another ill-advised stand-alone policy is a life insurance policy secured through an employer as part of an employee benefits package. “If that option is available to you, you should get as much as you can, because it’s usually inexpensive, but you don’t own that policy. If you change jobs, become disabled, or retire,

you no longer have life insurance,” says Laughlin. “It is necessary to purchase a police independent of your employer that will always be yours, regardless of employment.”

The other burning question on most people’s minds is “How much life insurance should I get?” As you would expect, in something as nuanced as life, it depends on your situation. Primary earners should aim to include a multiple of their yearly income, to help their dependents sustain their customary lifestyle while they adjust to their new normal. Other things to consider include debts, liquid assets, and real estate. A licensed life insurance agent can walk you through the appropriate amount for your unique situation.

Lastly, you should routinely evaluate your life insurance needs and updated as needed. Beneficiaries as well as contingent beneficiaries can be named on policies and you should always ensure those remain people you know, love, and trust.

Shayne Laughlin State Farm is located at 4415 Lake Street Suite A in Lake Charles. You can reach her and her team by calling 337-477-7354 or visiting 51

Making the Last Ride Count

King’s Funeral Home Offers Innovative Services

Celebrating 30 years of service to the Lake Charles community, King’s Funeral Home has been on the cutting edge of innovative services and amenities since 1993. Willie King, licensed funeral director and president of the business, says innovation to them means listening and hearing the customers and employees as they raise ideas and suggestions. “We appreciate input for growth and recognize that people’s observations matter. We continually remind ourselves that our business really belongs to the people.”

One of King’s more recent additions to their list of unique services is their “elite fleet” of hearses, or as King would say, “the last ride.” They offer four vehicles in which a loved one can be transported to their final resting place. “We started with a motorcycle hearse in 2018,” says Eligha Guillory, King’s assistant manager and licensed funeral director. “It’s a coach driven by a Harley-Davidson. Motorcycle enthusiasts and cowboys are drawn to it.”

In 2020, King and Guillory ordered an eye-catching Rosewood Printzer in their signature colors, blue and silver. Made in Morristown, Arkansas, it was delivered to Lake Charles in early October 2020. Perfect timing, as Hurricane Laura had caused the garage roof at King’s Funeral Home to collapse. Five vehicles had been destroyed. “The Rosewood was a godsend,” Guillory says.

Since then, King has purchased a trailer from the Rosewood company, called the Protégé, which can be pulled by their 1969 silver Corvette Stingray or any vehicle a client chooses. More recently, they purchased a traditional Lincoln hearse. “Some people prefer the more traditional look,” Guillory says. “We have something to fit everyone’s taste. Last rides are also offered to families whose loved ones have been cremated. On such a somber occasion, we try to find the joy of life. We celebrate life, not death.”

Fancy hearses are not the only innovative service unique to King’s Funeral Home. Guest books have become memorial books with a photo of the deceased on the cover. Each book includes the obituary, details of the funeral, a family tree, and the visitor registry.

Every deceased loved one is commemorated with a plaque on King’s Memorial Wall. Each plaque includes a photo, the date of death, and a QR code that takes users to the loved one’s obituary.

52 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023
Home & Family | Dealing with Death

On the suggestion of a client, Mr. King installed four walk-up windows several years prior to 2020. More common in larger cities, they didn’t garner interest here in Southwest Louisiana and weren’t used – until they were needed. These windows proved invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic when in-person gatherings were limited.

Guillory says he considers his role at King’s as an ‘event planner.’ “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event. No do-overs. And we plan it all in a week or less. No cookie cutter services. Everything is unique to the individual. We once held a funeral for a cowboy - instead of a spray of flowers over the casket, we used his saddle. We want our families to know that they are special, and we are here for them. Even after a funeral, we stay connected to the families.”

King understands well the grief and emotion experienced by his clients. His daughter, Anita, unexpectedly passed away in 2019 at the age of 47. “The loss of a close loved one makes us all family and we share a common pain that only we can endure and feel when the crowd leaves,” he says. “This is what drives and inspires us. This is what we base the love on that operates our business.”

King’s Funeral Home is located at 1611 Gerstner Memorial Dr., Lake Charles. For more information, call them at 337-439-7729. 53
Make your Mark with Landmark • Closing Services • Second Mortgages • Lot Purchases • Refinances • Title Insurance • Title Searches RON RICHARD KRYSTAL DELANEY (337) 477-8782 | L ANDMARK T ITLE LC. COM | 330 Alamo Street, Lake Charles

Memorial Advanced Planning: A Final Gift for Your Family

Few of us want to think of how our life will end, or how things will continue after we’re gone. But one of the most meaningful gifts you can give your family is a plan for your memorial service. When your wishes are expressed in detail, it eases the burden on loved ones who will be expected to make decisions and answer questions about how to proceed in the hours and days immediately after your death.

“It’s about providing peace of mind to you, but most importantly, to those who are most important to you,” says Andy Hankins with Johnson Funeral Home. “When you plan your service in advance, it makes things much easier for your family, who will already be going through a difficult time. We see the difference this makes for the families.”

According to Hankins, your wishes can be as personalized and detailed as you want. “Instead of approaching it as a sad or morbid task, think of it as a positive thing—a gift to your family. Think about how you want your memorial service to look or feel. Most of us would prefer that people celebrate our lives rather than mourn our deaths. If so, consider how you’d like your loved ones to do that,” Hankins said.

Hankins and the Funeral Directors at Johnson Funeral Home suggest considering these elements when planning your memorial:

Music and songs. Music is typically an essential element of a service. What do you want performed at your service? Something uplifting that celebrates life, something spiritual, or both? Your favorite song, or a song with sentimental meaning to your family is also a good choice.

Traditions. If you have specific traditions you want to follow, make sure that’s clear. Don’t assume your family is aware of this. Discuss it with them so you can be sure they know your wishes and they won’t have to debate the decisions with each other.

Readings. If you desire a faith-based service, you may wish to include your favorite scripture or readings. Those who prefer a more secular service could choose inspirational readings and personal philosophies.

Eulogists. Is there someone specific you’d like to deliver your eulogy? If so, are there are key aspects of your life you want that person to talk about? Put this in the plan and discuss with those you’d like to speak.

Visitation and service. Do you want a viewing, visitation, or wake before your service? As for the service itself, you may want to consider whether you’d prefer a funeral service, memorial, or graveside service.

Who and where. Who do you want to officiate, and where? It’s a good idea to prioritize more than one preference in case your officiant leaves or the location is unavailable for some reason.

Donations or gifts. Many people prefer that the attendees give a donation in their honor to a favorite charity, rather than flowers. If that’s the case, make those wishes clear and include the details for your loved one. Once you have all your wishes documented, Hankins says make sure your family or loved ones know where to find them. Keep the document in a safe and secure place, preferably with your other important papers.

54 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023
Home & Family | Dealing with Death

“You can also arrange payments beforehand, so no one is left with a financial burden,” Hankins adds. “This can also be a huge cost-savings for your family. Pre-paying for your funeral years ahead of time allows you to lock in today’s lower costs.” Hankins says there are numerous options for prearrangement policies and that is something his staff can assist with.

For more information on advanced planning for funerals or to schedule a free consultation, call Johnson Funeral Home at (337) 478-8687 or visit The Johnson Family of funeral homes has locations in Lake Charles, Sulphur, Jennings, Moss Bluff and Lake Arthur.

Your trust and confidence are what motivate our agents every day. As we look to the future, we renew our commitment to service and sales excellence, and welcome the opportunity to be your Realtor® for life.

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Love & Legacy: Estate Planning

Grandma’s vintage wedding ring, your father’s heirloom watch, a box of tried-and-true family recipes, all things we tend to think about being passed from generation to generation. But what about the less sentimental, though oftentimes more financially significant, aspects of life? Real estate, vehicles, cash, collectibles, and other assets. Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for the carrying out of your intentions and expectations in the event that you pass away or become incapacitated. And local attorney Jared Shumaker of Fontenot & Shumaker LLC says it should be on everyone’s to-do list.

“This is your property, the legacy of your family. A wellexecuted estate plan means there are no questions about who gets what. It’s all delineated and clearly communicated to loved ones,” says Shumaker. Estate planning is not limited to the wealthy with many assets. “If you own any property at all, a will is for you.”

So, where does someone even begin to work on this monumental task? The best place to start is to seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your state. “Each state’s laws differ and one incorrect item can invalidate the entire will,” advises Shumaker. “You want to make sure there are no questions to the validity. Whether you pay an attorney to prepare your will or opt for a different route, get the advice that will let you know you’re checking all the boxes.”

There are a few different ways a last will and testament can be set up, though Shumaker says he primarily uses what’s called a reciprocal will. This allows assets to go to the surviving spouse first in the event that one death precedes the other and then to the children upon the passing of the second spouse. Another important piece to incorporate is a trust provision, for which the most used is testamentary trust. This allows for assets to go immediately into a trust upon death in a common accident of both spouses. A trustee, appointed by the deceased in their will, manages those assets until minor children are of age. This trust allows for liquid (those than can be turned into cash) assets to support children with housing, schooling, and basic needs.

“Appointing a trustee is a very personal thing, and it differs from client to client,” says Shumaker. “The most important part is that, like the name says, you trust them implicitly. After all, they will oversee everything you have worked hard to build.”

When discussing estate planning, initial thoughts tend to go towards what happens when you die, but there’s another scenario to consider. In the event that you become incapacitated by an accident or medical emergency, there are tools to ensure your wishes will be followed in terms of your medical care and handling of any assets that require operational decisions. A power of attorney can be granted giving an individual the same authority that you have over all matters. Usually this is given to a spouse, sibling, or other close friend or family member. A living will declaration is an additional step to direct medical care providers in the event that you are incapacitated with no chance of recovery.

Estate planning is essential to ensuring the longevity of your assets and the peace of your family when you are no longer here. Failing to prepare can lead to undue stress. “One of the unfortunate things I see in succession litigation in the absence of a will is that people will fight until there is nothing left for the family,” says Shumaker.

56 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 Home & Family

One more thing to consider is that life insurance is not lined out in your will. “Life insurance is owned by you and handled by the company who issued the policy. It will go to the beneficiary you’ve chosen,” advises Shumaker. You should make it a habit to update any beneficiaries and your will at the same time. And on that note, Shumaker says you should update your will often. “Life events –having a child, changing jobs, acquiring real estate – all things that should trigger you to revisit your will and ensure it is always up to date.”

Fontenot & Shumaker is located at 2706 Hodges St. in Lake Charles. For more information about their firm or how to get or call

36 Years

Our attorneys are prepared to help with a vast array of legal concerns ranging from family and criminal law to personal injury, estate planning, contract disputes, medical malpractice, and more. 57
Est. 1987


Don’s Carwash

Let’s set the scene. It’s 1966 and Don Bruno is working for a company called Wizard Enterprises, which owned and operated service stations and offered free carwashes for customers who fueled up. Several years later, Don would leave the company with his share in hand – a carwash located in the Albertson’s parking lot. Fast forward once more and Don’s relocated to its flagship carwash which is still operational today, Don’s Carwash & Quick Lube located at 3700 Ryan Street in Lake Charles. Over four decades later this family-owned business, three generations deep, boasts five businesses; three full-service locations, two with oil change, and two self-serve washes throughout the Lake Area with plans for more.

Cameron Meyer, Director of Operations, says it’s a legacy of core values that has helped drive their success. “Trust, honesty, and a common goal,” he says. “When you work with family, you all want the same thing. We may not always agree, but we have the same vision and goal for this business.” It’s their way of giving back to a community that has always supported them. “Our business gives us a chance to give back by employing and serving the people of Lake Charles.”

58 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 Home & Family
Don and Mary Bruno

Like all businesses in Southwest Louisiana, the last few years have been challenging for the Don’s Team. “After Hurricane Laura, two of our locations were completely inoperable,” says Meyer. “But we went with it. We took the downtime to change some of our services and conquer some challenges we were experiencing with service before.” Upgrades included improvements to the vacuums, new equipment in tunnels, a revamp of services offered, and a new point-of-sale system. Each new piece brings challenges of its own but Meyer says community support makes it all worth it. In an exciting piece of news, the Ryan Street location is back up and running with the familiar interior cleaning service Lake Charles knows and loves. A slight change is in order, though. “We still have our interior cleaning and express waxes that we had before, but it’s now after the wash. The customer will ride their vehicle through the tunnel themselves and then give your car to us to clean. An automated pay window will allow you to select the option you want when you drive up.”

When asked what’s ahead for Don’s – “one word, growth!” Now that Don’s is firing on all cylinders again, the dream of growth that they had prior to 2020’s natural disasters is back in motion. “The next thing for us is to bring our smiles and service to the surrounding area,” says Meyer.

Don’s is currently owned by Don Bruno. His grandson, Cameron Meyer, leads operations and Darla Meyer heads up marketing. Another family member, Karen DiGiglia, has served as the Chief Financial Officer for over 40 years. There are more than a dozen employees who have been with Don’s for a decade. “Countless Lake Charles men and women had been employed with Don’s as their first job through college or another transition,” says Meyer. “Truly, the best part of our business is our team.”

For more information about Don’s and their wash and quick lube locations, visit them on Facebook and Instagram or at www. - and remember, as always, Enjoy Your Ride! 59

Lake Area Adventures is 35,000 square feet of family entertainment like SWLA has never seen before.

Lake Area Adventures Lake Area Adventures

Swimming. Virtual-reality gaming. Bouncing in an air park city. Rope and boulder-wall climbing. Dining. Parties. Pick your passion, whatever your age, at Lake Areas Adventures, the much-anticipated indoor megaplex at 1337 Country Club Road that opens this month.

It’s the first family entertainment center of its kind in the region.

“We’re passionate about creating unique and exciting adventures that entire families can enjoy,” said Tim Robles, co-founder. “We want you to experience adventure like you’ve never seen and make memories that will last a lifetime.” Admission is by friends-and-family memberships, corporate memberships and walk-up ticketing at the door.

Here’s a rundown of the key attractions:

The Gamers Lounge features virtual and augmented reality, flight and race simulators, and gaming consoles.

The Omniverse VR Arena is an immersive video game experience where people of all ages can hunt zombies, loot ships like a pirate, and tour a haunted mansion with paranormal investigators — while walking and running on an omnidirectional treadmill.

Kids can flip, jump and slide at the 10,500-square-foot inflatable Air Park. Guest of all ages can practice their rock-climbing skills with the free-climb Bouldering Wall in the heart of the facility.

Also, the indoor Ropes Course is an opportunity for kids — as well as a teambuilding activity for groups and businesses — to climb the ladder and achieve a bird’s-eye view from above.

Lake Area Adventures’ promises fun on land and water with a custom 1,700-square-foot indoor pool, available for swim lessons, parties, and extracurricular events. Personal swim lessons for all ages are offered at the on-site Swim Academy

All that fun and games is sure to work up an appetite. Executive Chef Amanda Cusey heads The Terrace, an indoor-outdoor dining space featuring award-winning dishes with local flavor.

“The Terrace is meant to offer a relaxed setting with elevated cuisine,” said Cusey, the Louisiana Seafood Queen award-winner. Patrons can eat outside under the covered patio with friends, family — even their dog — or dine indoors, close to the action in the family entertainment center.

More details on the facility, and about friendsand-family and corporate memberships, are available at Lake Area Adventures’ Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter platforms and at

60 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023
Home & Family

Fueled by their love for the stage and all things theater, nearly 100 high school students from Barbe, Lagrange, Sam Houston, and Washington Marion high schools comprise the talented group known as Calcasieu Theatrical Arts (CTA). As a student-driven organization, participants play an active role in production, design, and front of-house operations. “Students can be found at every level of our production leading the way,” says Shelly Buller, Producer. “They assist in choreography, build and create sets, create props, assist with seating, working, stage management – every aspect is 100% studentdriven with an adult overseeing.” CTA students also have the unique opportunity to work with a variety of directors, choreographers, and production team members for the show; making connections and learning from professionals.

The ins and outs of the theater aren’t the only things being learned in CTA, says Buller. “Because our organization is so focused on giving our students the tools to lead, they are learning those soft skills, too. Communication, teamwork, and problem solving.”

Since the group’s inception, they’ve performed two incredible shows and the latest addition this spring is no exception. Members

C alcasieu Theatrical Arts presents

of CTA will perform Descendants The Musical, a 2015 Disney original which chronicles the adventures of children of well-known, original Disney characters who form unlikely bonds when they begin to attend school together. It’s the story of overcoming adversity through friendship and Buller says she sees a parallel with the students. “The kids are learning from each other. These are friends they may not have made if it weren’t for CTA. This musical came out when they were kids so they have grown up with it and really feel connected.”

The musical is up-beat and features vibrant costumes. That, along with the talented acting of local students, is enough to keep you glued to your seat with your eyes locked on the stage.

“It’s a fun production. There is a lot of hip hop and the kids are having a blast, “ says Buller. CTA will perform March 31, 2023 at 7:00 PM and April 1, 2023 at 2:00 and 7:00 PM for the public. April 3 through April 6 will feature two-a-day performances for students across Calcasieu Parish. Tickets can be purchased at Lagrange High School. CTA is under the direction of Shelly Buller (Producer, LaGrange) and Kelli Cooley (Director, Barbe). Follow Calcasieu Theatrical Arts on Facebook for more information. 61
Aurodonians Core 4
story by Taylor Trahan Henry photos by Shonda Manuel

Style & Beauty Red Light THERAPY

If you’ve spent any amount of time on social media lately, you’ve seen people wearing futuristic looking masks casting an eerie red glow on their faces or waving glowing wands across their skin. It’s not sci-fi but the latest skin care trend – red light therapy. So, is it just a fad or are there benefits to lighting your skin up with a crimson glow?

Dr. Kerri Davis-Fontenot  from The Gallery of Dermatology & Advanced Aesthetics says there actually are benefits to emerging treatments using red light therapy. “It’s been shown to help with wound healing and improving inflammation for patients with a reactive skin type (such as rosacea or dry, irritated skin) and also helps with skin rejuvenation,” says Dr. Davis-Fontenot. She adds, “Red light can also be used in photodynamic therapy which treats pre-cancerous skin lesions by applying a photosensitive drug to the skin and then activating it with the light to destroy worrisome cells.”

Red light therapy has been utilized medically since the 1890’s. NASA began experimenting with it to grow plants in space and help heal astronaut’s wounds. Most recently has become popular for aesthetic treatments to boost collagen production, increase blood flow to skin tissue, and reduce inflammation. It is a safe treatment and while its full effectiveness improving facial skin texture and wrinkles has yet to be determined with full-scale clinical trials, it has been shown to stimulate mitochondria that results in skin repair, making it a promising treatment for conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema.

“Overall, red light therapy is safe if used for the short-term and as directed by a dermatologist or qualified aesthetician,” says Dr. Davis-Fontenot. “With any aesthetic treatment, it’s best to avoid sun exposure and the use of retinoids prior to treatment to prevent redness and sensitivity. Patients taking medications that make them sensitive to light should avoid it too, in addition to those with recent burns, open skin, or people with epilepsy, lupus, and active skin cancer.”

Red light therapy ranges from $50-150 on its own but is more commonly incorporated into other treatments such as a medical grade Hydrafacial that treats patients with excessive redness, rosacea, or sensitive skin. A series of treatments offers the best results; usually two to three times a week for four to six weeks. Red light therapy is not typically covered by insurance. If you prefer skin treatments in a more private setting, less powerful red light masks and wands are now available for at home use.

Dr. Davis-Fontenot says they are generally safe if you don’t go over the recommended time limits for the devices, follow the instructions carefully, and remember to wear eye protection. However, you’ll find better results with professional, in-office treatments. Do your research, not all units are created equally.

The bottom line is that red light treatments are an emerging therapy with lots of promise, but additional research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of light wands and masks to combat the signs of aging and improve the look of acne, scars, and redness.

62 Thrive Magazine
Better Living • March 2023
The Gallery of Dermatology and Advanced Aesthetics is located at 1936 Southwood Drive in Lake Charles. Visit or @ thegallerydermatology on Instagram. by Kerry Andersen 63 1936 SOUTHWOOD DR, LAKE CHARLES, LA 70605 | (337)564-SKIN WWW.GALLERYDERM.COM • MEDICAL • SURGICAL • COSMETIC DERMATOLOGY BOARD-CERTIFIED DERMATOLOGIST Dr. Kerri Davis-Fontenot Where the Art of Meets the Art of Medicine Aesthetics NOW PROVIDING Bioidentical Hormone Therapy for Men and Women We Are Now a Certified Provider (337) 474-1220 2640 Country Club Rd., Suite 100, Lake Charles

Spring in SWLA:

Fashion Trends from Local Boutiques

Warmer temperatures and sunnier skies are just around the corner, which means it’s time to pack away bulky coats and sweaters to get ready for lighter threads. Florals, beautiful hues, statement pieces, and casual footwear are all the rage in this year’s spring fashion trends. There’s no shortage of shopping to be had in Southwest Louisiana and we caught up with the experts, just back from spring markets, to see what can be expected on racks in the coming months.

Sway Boutique

Nestled in the heart of Moss Bluff, Sway Boutique boasts an incredible selection of women’s wear, gifts, and home décor. When it comes to fashion, owner Brittany DeRouen says it’s not always cookie cutter. “With any style or trend, it’s always about what makes you feel good!” The classic spring staple, white bottoms, can always be expected but DeRouen shares the preferred fit and style have changed. “We are seeing looser fits in both shorts and jeans.” Speaking of shorts, try pairing them with a classic tank and an oversized blazer for a chic, versatile look. Lastly, shoppers at Sway can expect to be wooed by beautiful hues. “We are seeing color this spring! A lot of pastels, fun prints, and florals.”

Mimosa Boutique

After over a decade of business in Lake Charles, Mimosa Boutique is still excited to move into each new fashion season with classic and trendy pieces alike. “Spring styles are already hitting the salesfloor, and we couldn’t be more excited for warmer weather,” says owner Lauren Monroe. A few styles can be expected to hang around and transition, like matching sets and colorful pieces. But Monroe says some styles will make a big wave. “Another big trend right now is plisse sets. Plisse is a lightweight fabric that is crinkled to form ridges or stripes. This rose quickly in the winter of 2023 and it is here to stay for spring,” says Monroe. One more thing to look forward to for spring? Jazzing up every day wear! “What we are most excited for this Spring is embellishments in fashion. Women are getting more fun and festive with their everyday wear with sequins, rhinestones, and exaggerated designs.”

Mimosa Boutique has two locations - 3125 Ernest Street in Lake Charles and 6727 FM 1463 Ste 120 in Katy, Texas –and an option to shop online at

64 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 Style & Beauty
Sway Boutique is located at 277 N. Highway 171 in Moss Bluff.

Mia’s Downtown

Located in beautiful downtown Lake Charles, Mia’s is filled to the brim with every day and special occasion wear in inclusive sizing –something for everyone! “The color palette this spring is trending more toward the vibrant side. Still possessing those traditional pastel hues, but now with a bit more punch,” shares Mia Rene’, owner. Remember that casual footwear trend? It’s here to stay! “The sneaker vibe is a trend that is growing into something bigger than I’ve imagined. Sneakers worn with dresses, casual outfits, and trendy sets are absolutely a closet must have.” One more hot style you can expect to find at Mia’s? Florals! “It’s flirty with florals for the win this season,” says Rene’. “Large florals, small florals, classic, and bold - any florals goes!”

Elm Boutique

This Jennings boutique is bright, airy, and full of the latest styles. Jenee Wall, owner, shares that she’s most excited for a new addition to her shop and to the area. “We are the new retailer for Kendra Scott jewelry in Southwest Louisiana. I plan to keep a variety of their signature line as well as seasonal items.” After you’ve picked your perfect accessories, Elm has wardrobe staples for every closet. “As far as for spring trends, I am seeing a lot of crochet tops, colored denim, oversized tops, and headbands. Those things are huge right now,” says Wall. “Anything that comes in a set will be a go-to this spring!”

Mia’s is located at 318 Pujo St. in Lake Charles. march 17th,

Elm Boutique is located just off interstate 10 at 1613 Elton Rd., Suite B in Jennings. You can also shop online at 65
march 24th, and march 31th

The Center for Orthopaedics is the region’s largest, independent musculoskeletal group. Our experienced specialists work together to provide our patients with the type of care they expect and deserve—personalized, attentive, respectful, and of the highest quality. And when it comes to technology, we bring the latest advances to Southwest Louisiana so you won’t have to leave home to get the care you need.

When you have a musculoskeletal concern, trust the team at Center for Orthopaedics to get you back to enjoying your life.

66 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 CATCH IT! Spring Fever. Let Landscape Management help you make your yard BLOOM! 5005 Cobra Road, Lake Charles (337) 478-3836 M-F: 7am – 4pm | Sat: 8am – 2pm Our experienced team can create a custom design for your yard and outdoor living area. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, we can create a plan,help you choose your plants from our retail nursery, lay out your beds and guide you as you transform your yard. Call us or stop by our retail nursery. | (337) 721-7236 | Lake Charles | Moss Bluff WE’RE AROUND YOU CENTERED





Each year thousands of computers, TVs, cellphones and other electronics are discarded. Such “e-waste” contains recyclable materials and can be hazardous if disposed with regular garbage.










68 Thrive Magazine for Better Living • March 2023 VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO FIND OUT HOW TO BECOME A MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENT! Edibles • Tinctures • Vapes MDI Cartridges • Cookies Products & More PICKUP OR DELIVERY ORDER ONLINE (337) 420-8420 •

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