Thrive October 2021

Page 1


Breast Cancer

The Return of

Awareness Month



Rehabilitation Hospital

of Jennings


• Brain Injury

• Hip Fractures

• Strokes

• Osteoarthritis/DJD

• Amputations

• Neurological Disorders

• Burns

• Spinal Cord Injury

• Major Multiple Trauma

• Congenital Deformities

• Rheumatoid Arthritis

• Systemic Vasculidities

• Joint Replacements

Others who can benefit from inpatient rehabilitation are postoperative patients, accident victims and cancer patients. 24 Hour Nursing Care • Physical Therapy • Occupational Therapy Speech Therapy • Nutritional Counseling and Monitoring Case Management Call for a free assessment today. One Hospital Drive, Ste. 101 • Jennings, LA 70546 • Phone: (337) 821-5353 • Fax: (337) 821-5355 or 5366 • 2

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021


Nothing will keep us from making your breast health a priority, whether you need genetic testing, a mammogram, help choosing the right physician or treatment plan, from chemotherapy to radiation to surgery. We provide safe, high-quality care for every step of your journey, with a dedicated nurse navigator to walk each step alongside you.

Let’s get started together with a genetic risk assessment that can be found by visiting, or schedule an appointment for your 3D mammogram today by calling 337.431.7887.



Contents In This Issue Wining & Dining

6 Coffee:30 8 Bodega Wine Dive 10 Cake Decorating

Regular Features


42 Who’s News 52 Business Buzz 71 Solutions for Life

Style & Beauty

12 Laser Skin Therapies 14 Fall Fashion Trends

Mind & Body

16 Say it with a Smile 18 Protect your Back when Weightlifting 19 Cheerleading Safety 20-28 SPECIAL SECTION:

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Places & Faces


30 Reimagined Dragon Boat Race for 2021


Money & Career 44-49 50 51 54

Insurance 411

SPECIAL SECTION: LAIA Partners with Local Leaders to Benefit Community Prioritizing your Bills Don’t Fall for these Financial Tricks

Home & Family

56-63 SPECIAL SECTION: The Return of



Trends in Home Design

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Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

54 Managing Editor Angie Kay Dilmore Editors and Publishers Kristy Como Armand Christine Fisher Creative Director Barbara VanGossen Design and Layout Sarah Bercier Business Manager Katie McDaniel Stevenson Advertising Sales 337.310.2099 Submissions



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Wining & Dining

The New Coffee Shop You Didn’t Know You Needed story by Lauren Morris, photos by @lightupmediaco

There’s a brand-new coffee shop nestled conveniently in midtown Lake Charles that brings much more to the table than your standard latte and warmed-over breakfast sandwich. Their menu is chock-a-block full, and the items – reimagined versions of classics you know and love – will leave you wondering how you’ll choose just one. Owners Joshua and Taylor Smith and Shadi and Nour Abrusley have come together to bring a unique coffee experience to Lake Charles. In 2019, the Smiths started tossing around ideas of a coffee shop that Lake Charles had yet to see. They wanted it to be elevated and something that would bring back the feel that Chez Caffe brought when it was established in the same location back in 1997. They landed on the name “Coffee:30” to send the message to patrons that “no matter what time it is, it’s coffee time,” says owner Joshua Smith. “Coffee is for any time of the day; any time you need it or want it.” Featuring menu items with names like “Omel-late for Work” and “Avocado-Go Toast,” it’s obvious the four-person Coffee:30 team set out to be unforgettable. The care and attention put into every detail of this spot is at the heart of what makes it unique. On your first visit, you’ll notice Coffee:30’s beautiful interior. “Taylor is the one with the special touch for interior design. She took inspiration from all over to create the look we have here,” said Smith. The dark, moody hues and ornate touches make for a satisfying sense of elevated coziness and a dose of New Orleans. Even the music is carefully curated to set the mood. This place intends to give you an experience.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

Open from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Coffee:30 offers both breakfast and lunch options. Their beignets are made fresh daily and are must-haves. You can order them by the dozen if you want to brighten the mood at the office. Craving beignets at lunch? Grab a “Coffee:30 Beignet Burger.” The “Chicken Lake Charles” is the chicken-and-biscuit sandwich of your dreams. Or try something on the lighter side with the “Wake Up” breakfast sandwich: egg whites, avocado spread, spinach, mozzarella, and turkey bacon on an English muffin. They pride themselves on their High Noon Wagyu Burger and Parmesan Truffle Fries - items you can’t find just anywhere. “We aimed to create memorable food and drinks for the area,” said Smith. Whether you’re looking for a unique breakfast or a lunch that far surpasses your everyday slapped-together sandwich, Coffee:30 has it. When it comes to the “joe,” Coffee:30 offers all your favorites like cappuccinos, cafe au laits, and lattes. Reve Coffee Roasters in Lafayette created custom blends just for them. Want a boost with a sweet spin? Try their Affogato - a shot of espresso poured over two scoops of vanilla ice cream, finished with a caramel/ chocolate drizzle. The perfect union of coffee and dessert. For your best fall vibe, ask for the Pumpkin Pie Latte. You won’t regret it. This hot new spot is sure to become a Lake Charles staple, not only for its high-quality coffee options, but for the one-of-a-kind breakfast and lunch items, ambiance, and overall experience it’s bringing to the local dining game. Stop in and see for yourself at 127 W. College St., Lake Charles.


Wining & Dining

Bodega W I NE DI V E by Matt Dye

Bodega Wine Dive is a little gem hidden slightly south of town at 3505 Country Club Road. There’s a lot to like, from the ambiance of the lighting to the openness of the space that makes it feel like a breezy time out even when the parking lot is full. And of course, there’s wine, but not just any wine, as Bodega’s new sommelier, Justin Hall, points out. His goal is to bring across a new palate of flavors not usually seen in Calcasieu Parish.

“There’s all these stories in these food and wines that the people of Lake Charles are thirsty for,” Hall says, as he absentmindedly plays with a glass of Pinor Noir. “But they’re not sure where to make that connection. We’ve got a unique role here that’s between wine and foods that are so artisanal and special that we’ d like to share some more.” 8

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

Happy Hour (Tuesday-Thursday, 4:00-6:00 p.m.) makes it easy to get in after a long day of work and relax with a $5 glass of Cabernet. But there’s so much more than just wine and spirits here. Perhaps the most under-looked value of Bodega is the simplicity of food menu. The Cheese & Charcuterie boards come in various combinations, with cheese such as gouda, brie, and Artesano Manchego, and meats such as salami and capocollo, that are a great light addition if you want a group appetizer to go with your bottle of La Storia. If you’re looking for something a bit more filling, Bodega’s Brick-Oven Pizza is some of the best from stem to stern. You’ll find traditional Spicy Sausage or house pie in The Bodega, but the real winner might be the Wine Lover’s, featuring figs and arugula. Another distinctive feature of Bodega Wine Dive is their inclusion of wine lockers for patrons. Renting a locker allows you to keep part of your cellar at Bodega for your convenience, while allowing Hall to select a couple specialty bottles that you won’t find anywhere else in Lake Charles.

“We need to learn better how to engage the community,” Hall says, and wine drinkers will quickly see that not only is he a master of wine, but also a quality storyteller who will have you transfixed as he regales you not only about the wine you’re drinking, but half a dozen other random facts. This talent is something that he hopes to put on full display for the monthly wine tastings he’s planning, for now slated for the first Thursday of each month. Eventually he hopes this grows to such a following that it brings the community even more strongly together going forward. Bodega Wine Dive is currently open Tuesday-Thursday, 4:00-10:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 4:00-11:00 p.m. The space can also be booked for special events.


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2021 Competitors:

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Wining & Dining


Top Secrets

to Putting the Icing on the Cake Ever wanted to start making your own cakes but feel intimidated by the perfect cakes on Pinterest? According to Lakyn Conner, owner of Lak’s Cakes, it’s not as hard as it looks. Conner is a self-taught baker who started her business in Sulphur, Louisiana as a hobby. She says, “One of the most important things to practice until you get it down to a routine is smooth sides, sharp edges and a bulge-free surface.” Conner offers the following five tips for a perfectly frosted cake:


Once your cake layers are baked, wrap them in two layers of saran wrap and place them in the refrigerator or freezer if you do not plan to decorate the same day. “This will allow the layers to firm up, which will make it a lot easier when stacking your cake,” Conner says.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021


When the cakes are firm, and your choice of icing is ready (Conner prefers American buttercream), you’re ready to stack and start icing.Place your cake board atop your turn table and apply a small amount of icing to the middle of the cake board. This works as a “glue” for your first layer to stay in place. a. Set your first layer on the cake board. Turn your cake layer upside down, which provides a nice, flat area to apply your frosting. b. Plop a big scoop of icing down on the center of your cake layer. Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly. Center your next cake layer on top. c. Continue these steps for however many cake layers you have. Once done, complete the same process for the top of the cake stack and smooth it out. d. The excess icing should fall onto the sides. Spread this “crumb coat” all around your cake to keep the crumbs in this layer of icing, rather than the outer layer. Don’t worry if it isn’t smooth. e. Once you have frosted all around, you’ll need either a metal or acrylic bench scraper. Choose a place to start, line your scraper up to the cake and start scraping the sides until you are pleased with the look. It should be as smooth as possible.

After you complete your crumb coat, take a jumbo straw and poke a hole in the middle of your cake all the way to the bottom. This allows air trapped inside the cake layers to escape. “Sometimes after your layers have set, they drop a little,” she explains. “The trapped air can create unwanted bulges. A simple hole through the cake assures no bulging.” If you like the new, trendy “naked” cake look, Conner says, “Congrats! Your cake is finished.”






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For a more traditionally finished cake, refrigerate the cake for about 20 minutes to allow the first layer of frosting to firm up. Then apply another layer of icing on top and around the cake completely. Take your bench scraper and start scraping again. If you notice any missing icing, add more icing and scrape again. Scrape in one motion, without a lot of stopping and starting, which creates lines in your cake. If you use a metal scraper, place it under hot water for a second before scraping. “This melts the icing just a little bit and gives you the smooth sides you desire,” Conner says.

After scraping the sides completely, the top edges of the cake will look rigid. Place your cake back into the refrigerator to firm up again. Once it’s set, take your offset spatula and simply slice off the excess icing on the top. “Now you have a photo-worthy cake with smooth, sharp edges!” Conner adds.

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Style & Beauty

s d n e r T To Try FALL FASHION 2021 by Kerry Andersen

Boutique and fashion line owner Kaysie Bolton sums up fall fashion trends this year in two words: kitchen sink. It means anything goes! That includes reaching back to the 90’s for inspiration in oversized silhouettes (but with bigger prints to balance things out) or throwing on an oversized shirt in place of a jacket. Bolton says, “In a year of supply and demand challenges and factory shutdowns, fashion is taking a cue from our global chaos and looking to social media and the streets for inspiration.” Sleek, neutral, and tailored? Check. Oversized with neon and patterns? Also check! If it feels right, wear it!


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021


Perhaps it’s a response to the doldrums of recent months, but the fashion gurus have turned up the dial on color for fall 2021. It’s not your ordinary color wheel but a range of vibrant, saturated neon shades like cobalt blue and the Pantone shade of the season, Illuminating, which is bright chartreuse. Forget small pops of color – store racks will be bursting with bold, electric shades guaranteed to wake up your wardrobe. Sweaters are having a fashion moment as color meets comfy; grab one for an easy way to energize your closet!


The oversized blazer trend is not only sticking around, but taking over outerwear. Big coats are the big story this season including hip and puffy cloud coats. Look also for larger leather jackets that stand out with details like extra detail zippers, puffy sleeves, and fringe – yes, fringe!


One pattern will prevail above all others this fall – florals! Look for more muted versions of summer florals to make the transition between seasons. Pair a blouse featuring poppy florals with a pair of wool winter trousers for an ‘of the moment’ look. Designer dresses featuring joyful head to toe florals are dominating the fashion runways this season.


If you’ve ever struggled to fit a lipstick and cell phone into a tiny on-trend clutch, you’ll love fall’s accessory trend of carry-it-all bags. Expect to see large totes everywhere – large enough to carry your lunch, your laptop and anything else you need throughout the day. Bigger is better!

Beyond seasonal trends, Bolton says, “The larger industry trend toward sustainable fashion is spreading globally with consumers looking for eco-friendly inks, organic cotton and ethically responsible fashion houses. This global movement is here to stay as more socially conscious customers demand to know where products are made, who is making them and who is pocketing the profits.” Bayou Blend Apparel is located at 313 Broad Street, Lake Charles. Learn more at Kaysie Bolton is the founder and owner of Bayou Blend Apparel. The clothing brand was born out of her son’s Autism diagnosis and grew into a line of stylish streetwear that adheres to sensory needs by utilizing buttery soft fabrics and specially blended inks. The company has expanded to add two new lines: L.A. to LA, a California vibe with Louisiana roots, and SPIRITUALITY, an expression of faith and positivity. Bayou Blend’s first brick and mortar retail outlet opens this month at 313 Broad Street, Lake Charles.


Blue jeans are an iconic part of the American wardrobe, and this season sees the return of dark wash denim. Vintage low-rise styles are back along with baggy bootcut jeans. Even though most festivals were canceled this year, Bolton says festival wear prevails and will influence trends with a cool-kids vibe like flowy tops, flare jeans, boots, and statement hats.


Solids are out this season and all things geometric, striped, and plaid are right on trend. Try a striped blouse to lean into this fashion moment or jump all the way in with head-to-toe logo patterns cropping up on loungewear and athleisure items. Subtle is out – pattern is in!


Style & Beauty


the Skin You’re in

Lasers and Devices Used for Skin Rejuvenation The skin is our largest organ and the most visible part of our body. It’s also the first place we see the signs of aging. “As we age, many of us have certain areas of concern that we would like to refine or improve in some way,” says Morgan Fairchild, RN, BSN with Renaitre- A Williamson Cosmetic Center in Lake Charles. “Whether it’s wrinkles, sun damage, or sagging skin, some of us are not quite ready to undergo the surgical route and are looking for less invasive treatments that help combat the aging process. Lasers are ideal for individuals looking for skin rejuvenation with little to no downtime.” Along with these lasers, devices that use light and radiofrequency energy are also used to provide a plethora of treatment options. Laser Hair Removal devices deliver an intense but gentle burst of energy to deliver a controlled amount of therapeutic heat to rid unwanted hair. With their ability to use different spot sizes, the laser can quickly treat unwanted hair in many areas of the body. Popular hair removal areas include legs, arms/underarms, face, chest, back, bikini, and Brazilian. “With as little as six-eight treatments, patients see a significant reduction of hair in the treatment area,” says Fairchild. Laser Tattoo Removal offers two different wavelengths to optimally treat a variety of tattoo ink coloring. “Using high-intensity photo-acoustic shock waves, the laser light shatters the tattoo ink into tiny fragments to allow the body to rid these ink particles over time. The tattoo removal process can be lengthy and take many treatments, but worth the results of lightening an unsightly tattoo,” Fairchild explains. 14

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

Laser Vascular Lesion Removal helps remove unsightly facial veins or broken capillaries. The laser energy penetrates through the skin to collapse the vein wall and seal it shut. The sealed vein is then broken down and absorbed by the body. Laser Pigmented Lesion Removal is perfect for ridding age spots and sunspots. The laser uses a wavelength of light energy which is converted into heat energy to target unwanted pigment. The pigment is then broken up into tiny particles that is ultimately absorbed by the body. Ablative Skin Resurfacing utilizes laser energy that is attracted to water in our skin and is captured in the epidermal and dermal layers to create a thermal injury. “This heat begins a rapid process of repair to help stimulate skin cell turnover, collagen production, and healthier looking skin,” Fairchild says. “It can help with scar reduction, wrinkle reduction, skin tightening, minimizing pore size, and retexturizing the skin.” Yag Laser Facial fights signs of aging without the downtime. This “lunchbreak” procedure will help stimulate natural collagen and elastin growth. Bulk heating of the skin is used to stimulate skin tightening and plump the skin, creating an overall more vibrant, youthful appearance of the skin that will continue to improve over the next several weeks. “It can also help with fine lines and wrinkles, enhancement of tone and texture, and reduce overall redness of the face,” adds Fairchild. The Carbon Laser Facial involves applying a layer of liquid carbon onto the face, which penetrates deep into the pores, absorbing dead skin cells, bacteria, oil, and debris.

The laser is then passed over the skin, pulsing the impurities out of the pores. This is the perfect treatment for patients who struggle with acne, clogged pores, and oily skin. Benefits include reduction in acne and acne-causing bacteria, shrinkage of sebaceous and oil glands, and skin exfoliation. Along with their laser procedures, Fairchild says Renaitre- A Williamson Cosmetic Center also offers light-based and energybased treatments that help treat skin issues and concerns. Below are two of their most popular procedures. Photo Rejuvenation / Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) utilizes a broad-spectrum light source with specific filters and desired wavelengths to perform various treatments. This technology is used to lessen photodamage such as freckles and brown spots but can also be used to improve a variety of skin conditions such as acne, dull tone, and vascular lesions, for example broken capillaries. This treatment also stimulates collagen production over time. Bipolar Radio-Frequency stimulates collagen production by targeting deeper layers of the skin. It can be paired with microneedling to effectively tighten the skin, remodel adipose tissue, and target wrinkles and scars. Overall texture and tone improvement, as well as healthy skin cell turnover, are also benefits of this minimal downtime procedure. Renaitre- A Williamson Cosmetic Center is located at Oak Crossing, 5656 Nelson Rd Suite C-1, Lake Charles, LA. For more information, see their website, www. or call them at 337-508-2559.

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Mind & Body

Say it with your by Malloree Lavergne

There’s truth to the old saying “a smile is worth a thousand words.” Smiles can, and do, say much about a person. They portray a variety of characteristics, such as confidence, friendliness, trustworthiness and professionalism. Smiles are also used to convey a variety of emotions— not just happiness—and help you connect with others. What does your smile say about you? If you’re self-conscious about your smile or the appearance of your mouth or teeth, chances are you don’t smile as often as you’d like. Below are a few ways you and your dentist can bring confidence back to your smile.

Dental Implants

If you have one or more missing teeth or a tooth that needs to be extracted and replaced, implants may be a great smile-restoring option for you. Implants offer a durable, permanent solution to tooth loss. They look natural and help restore appearance and functionality to your smile. The process involves implanting a small titanium post into the gum to create a base for the artificial tooth. The post is secured and once the gum has healed, a naturallooking artificial tooth is attached.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

Teeth Whitening

Whitening is perhaps the easiest—and least expensive—way to enhance your smile. With so many options, ranging from drugstore strips to professional dental whitening, it’s important to know the benefits and drawbacks so you can pick what’s best for you. Whitening strips or gels, found at your local drugstore, are inexpensive and can be applied directly to your teeth with results lasting around four months with proper care. Prone to sensitivity? Take extra caution to ensure these products don’t come in contact with your gums. Another common option is professional dental whitening, which can be done at home with custom bleaching trays or in-office with light therapy. Professional whitening is the safest and quickest option to give you the longest-lasting results. Dental offices use much higher concentrations of whitening gel and monitor the process for reduced sensitivity in the gums and teeth. The downside? It’s a bigger investment than less expensive drugstore remedies.

Cosmetic Treatments

Perfect for smoothing the lines around your mouth and eyes, plumping your lips or adding some volume to your cheeks, cosmetic treatments such as Botox and Juvéderm can help restore a youthful glow and reduce unwanted wrinkles and creases that appear over time. Both treatments are quick and noninvasive. Botox works by relaxing the muscles in the face, giving it a smooth and wrinkle-free appearance. It is typically less expensive than Juvéderm, and while initial results can be seen in 24-48 hours, the injections usually take about 7-14 days to take full effect. Botox treatment lasts about 3-6 months. Juvéderm is also great for smoothing out fine lines and can help give your cheeks and lips youthful volume. It contains a gel that’s made from hyaluronic acid and is designed to “fill in” certain areas of your face. The results may be seen right away or shortly after treatment and can last 1-2 years.


Braces or Aligners

Gone are the days when a mouth full of metal was the primary option for straightening your smile. Thanks to modern technology and advances in orthodontic treatment, there are now several options, many of them relatively discreet. Along with traditional metal braces, there are ceramic and lingual braces, and clear aligners. Ceramic braces are the same size and shape as metal braces, but they have tooth-colored or clear brackets and wires, helping them blend in with your teeth. Lingual braces are less common but still an option; they are similar to traditional braces, except they’re placed on the inside of the teeth. Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, consist of a custom-made series of aligners that are changed every two weeks and are removed for eating and drinking. While orthodontic treatment is one of the more costly ways to improve your smile, the results can be worthwhile for many patients.


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To learn more about how to enhance your smile through whitening, implants, dermal fillers, or Invisalign, call Robinson Dental Group at 337-474-3636 or visit their website,

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Protect your


When Lifting Weights by Ashley Fontenot Hornsby

Most people will experience back pain at some point in their life. Regular strength training can prevent back pain, but all too often injuries occur while actually lifting weights. Injuries typically happen when the load placed on a muscle is greater than its capacity. In other words, the stronger the muscle, the less likely an injury will happen. Follow these guidelines to help reduce the risk of injury while pumping the iron:


When starting a workout routine, it is easy to jump in right where you left off or choose a starting weight because you see someone else using that amount. Remember, it is okay to begin by first mastering a movement, then as you gain strength, add more weight. It is difficult to learn and keep good form if you start with heavy weights. As you grow in confidence and in strength, you’ll be able to add more resistance. 18

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021


When you begin an exercise program, you may turn to social media for ideas of what exercises to do. Many of the workouts you find online are made to look fancy or difficult, simply as a way to get more views and likes on posts. A program does not need to be complex to be effective. Keeping things simple and starting with just a few basic moves can go a long way in helping you reach your fitness goals. The easiest place to start when beginning a workout routine is to use weight machines. They control your range of movement and provide more stability.


When it comes to avoiding injury with workouts, consistency is key. The stronger you are, the less likely you will develop an injury from lifting. However, strength takes time to develop. Having a consistent workout routine, where you perform strength training at least two to three days a week, is a great starting goal.

You may have never heard of a hip hinge, but many of the basic movements in weightlifting and in everyday life require this motion in order to avoid injury. Hinging at the hips or waist allows weight to be transferred through the hips and legs rather than the back doing the bulk of the work. This allows the largest muscles in our body, our gluteus maximus, to lift the majority of the load. The key to do this move correctly is to shift the hips back towards our heels while bending forward. Learn this move by practicing it first without weight using a broomstick.

• Place the broomstick in

contact with the back of the head, the mid back, and the pelvis.

• Attempt to bend forward at

your waist while maintaining these three contact points.

• Straighten back up while squeezing your glutes.


If you work out in the gym setting you may see others there wearing a lifting belt and wonder if that something that you should use. A belt can be helpful for those using heavy loads but the belt itself does not provide any extra support to your back or make you stronger. It is simply a device that cues you to tighten your core and squeeze your muscles harder when you lift. We know that we need to exercise and maintain strength in order to improve our health. Incorporating some of these simple steps can help you continue on your journey towards better health. Ashley Fontenot Hornsby is a physical therapist and co-owner at Thrive Physical Therapy. She is a graduate of McNeese State University and Texas Woman’s University. She specializes in the treatment of headaches, neck pain, and TMJ disorder, as well as orthopedics and sports rehabilitation.

Injuries are Nothing to

Cheer About CHEERLEADING IS HIGH-RISK SPORT During most high school sporting events, parents and coaches are focused on the safety of their players in the game, but growing evidence finds they should also be paying attention to the jumping, tumbling, and flipping athletes on the sidelines as well. Believe it or not, one study ranked cheerleading 16th on a list of sports with the highest number of injuries, and more than 30,000 cheerleaders go to the hospital for cheerleading-related injuries every year. Another recent study found that cheerleading is the most dangerous sport for females because of the high risk for concussions and “catastrophic” injuries, which are classified as injuries that result in long-term medical conditions, permanent disabilities or a shorter lifespan. The days when cheerleaders stood around just clapping and shouting are long gone. “Cheerleading today is a very demanding sport that can lead to the same types of injuries as any other strenuous athletic activity,” says Alex Anderson, MD, primary care sports medicine specialist at the Center for Orthopaedics.

by Kristy Como Armand

In general, most cheerleading injuries are minor strains, sprains and bruises, according to Dr. Anderson. “However, these newer studies show that both the total number of injuries and the frequency of severe injuries are much higher than we’d like to see for any sport.” Some experts feel the increase in cheerleading-related injuries can be attributed to the sheer increase in the number of individuals, primarily females, engaged in the sport. Others feel the rise in serious injuries appears related to the increasing difficulty of the acrobatic routines cheerleaders perform and the increasingly competitive nature of the sport. Dr. Anderson agrees that these factors do play a role. “Cheer teams aren’t just cheering on their school teams; they are training for competition against other squads on a regional and national level,” says Dr. Anderson. “And in addition to school teams, dance studios and cheer academies have students involved and competing in the sport as well.” Now that more measures are in place to monitor injuries, there is a new emphasis on safety for the sport of cheer. “Whether you’re a cheerleader, coach or parent, your main objective should be to ensure the safety of participants,” says Dr. Anderson.

“Knowing why the majority of injuries occur will help you better understand how to prevent them.” He says most cheerleading injuries occur for some very easy-to-identify reasons: lack of conditioning, risk-taking choices, inadequate spotting, improper or unsafe equipment, and practicing or performing on non-cushioned surfaces. Dr. Anderson adds that parents of cheerleaders can play a big role in helping prevent severe injuries by checking out the qualifications of those working with their children. “Don’t be afraid to ask about their experience, the safety measures they use, what types of stunts will be performed, who will be supervising every practice and their plan for handling any injuries that occur.” Like any other sport, cheerleading brings with it some unavoidable risks, and no amount of prevention can eliminate the chance of injury, but Dr. Anderson stresses that with the proper information and knowledge, the severity and frequency of injuries can be greatly reduced. For more information on sports injury prevention, visit


Mind & Body

According to the World Health Organization, 2.3 million women globally were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020. 685,000 persons succumbed to the disease that year. By the end of 2020, 7.8 million women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in the previous five years were still battling the disease, making it the world’s most prevalent cancer. Approximately 0.5-1% of breast cancers occur in men. Breast cancer mortality changed little from the 1930s to the 1970s, when the 10-year survival rate was only 47%. Improvements in survival started in the 1980s in countries with early detection programs combined with various modes of treatment. Today, a woman who is diagnosed with non-metastatic breast cancer has an 84% chance of surviving ten years. We’ve come a long way, baby . . .

t s a e Br r e c n a C Awareness Month


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Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021


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Mind & Body | Breast Cancer Awareness Month

When it Comes to Post-Cancer Breast Reconstruction,

Experience Matters Plastic surgeons, as well as breast cancer patients who have been there, know that experience matters when it comes to plastic surgery, especially delicate processes like breast reconstruction. “For patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and have undergone a mastectomy, or are thinking about having a preventative mastectomy, there are options to rebuild what has been lost,” says Dr. Stephen Delatte, plastic surgeon with Delatte Plastic Surgery & Skin Care Specialists. “It is important to choose a surgeon who specializes in breast reconstructive procedures as they have expertise creating a natural shape and silhouette for patients who have lost tissue due to disease, injury, or genetic defects.”


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

Breast reconstruction is designed to restore one or both breasts to nearnormal shape, appearance, symmetry, and size following the loss of tissue. “Implantation is the most common type of breast reconstruction procedure, which utilizes saline or silicone implants to create a new breast shape,” says Dr. Hugo St. Hilaire, who also specializes in plastic surgery at Delatte. “Flap procedures relocate donor tissue from other areas of the body, including the stomach, arms, back, or glutes. Fortunately for patients, especially those with surgical anxiety, reconstructive procedures can occur in tandem with a standard mastectomy or lumpectomy to reduce downtime following surgery.” “We offer the full spectrum of restorative procedures, from the more traditional implant-based approach to more complex microsurgery and flap procedures,” adds Dr. St. Helaire.

This October, in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Delatte and Dr. St. Hilaire ask that everyone take the time to schedule a breast cancer screening. Talk with your primary care physician about annual mammograms, self-examination techniques, and other cancer screening services. Prioritizing your health is never a waste of time, and the best protection is early detection. Delatte Plastic Surgery & Skin Care Specialists have built a solid reputation based on patient satisfaction, quality care, and innovative treatment options. Their team of aestheticians supplement physician experience with decades of knowledge, top-quality products, and outstanding customer service. They offer the full spectrum of restorative procedures, from the more traditional implant-based approach to more complex microsurgery and flap procedures. For more information, go to or call 337-269-4949.



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Mind & Body | Breast Cancer Awareness Month

New Pain Management in Breast Cancer Surgery A global pandemic, the strongest hurricane to ever hit Louisiana and a followup hurricane six weeks later are all things JoAnn Johnson never would have imagined she would have to face, much less during a battle with breast cancer. Johnson had a mammogram in July 2020 and discovered she had breast cancer. Her doctors put together a plan and the first step was a double mastectomy, but then Hurricane Laura set her sights on Southwest Louisiana.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

“It was a crazy time,” Johnson recalls. “I evacuated to Oklahoma and was just really in a holding pattern with all the damage and power outages that had happened back home.” She was able to finally have her surgery at the end of September performed by Memorial Medical Group Breast Surgeon Amanda Ellington, MD. As with most surgeries post-operative pain after mastectomy may persist in up to 60 percent of patients. Efforts to reduce post-operative pain and inflammation include a multimodal approach which aims to improve both short and long term pain. This multimodal approach includes administration of anti-inflammatory and narcotic pain medications in addition to more selective pain relief strategies including interventional anesthesia techniques.

“In the age of the opioid epidemic crisis, our aim is to minimize and perhaps even eliminate the need for opioid medications while still providing excellent pain control and, in some instances, complete pain relief,” Dr. Ellington says. “A mastectomy brings with it all types of emotions and concerns from patients, and we want to make this procedure as stress free as possible and reducing pain associated with the surgery plays a big role.” That is why Dr. Ellington has teamed up with Memorial Hospital anesthesiologists with a new pain relief procedure to help patients recover faster post-surgery. In the past, epidurals and other more selective nerve blocks have been utilized to help combat post-operative pain in the upper abdominal and chest areas.

More recently, a novel procedure called the Erector Spinae Plane Block (ESP Block for short) has been prescribed and may be performed by a physician anesthesiologist prior to procedures. “In our practice, we have been performing the ESP block prior to mastectomies with excellent postoperative pain relief and patient satisfaction,” says Memorial Medical Group Anesthesiologist Kyle Nester, MD. “The ESP block is found to come with less risks than an epidural, requires less pain medication later on and allows most patients to go home the next day.”

The ESP block is a procedure where an ultrasound-guided regional anesthetic is injected into a specific location in the muscles of the back. This leads to a good 48-72 hours of pain relief immediately following the surgery during a time when pain can be at its worst. “I think it’s great when physicians from different specialties can collaborate to improve the patient experience,” Dr. Ellington says. Johnson, a retired nurse, found the ESP block to work as advertised. She has had experience with similar nerve blocks, having had one last year when she underwent shoulder surgery.

“I didn’t have to take very much pain medicine as the pain was controlled and manageable. I really don’t care for opioids and how they make me feel,” Johnson says. “This was a nice alternative that helped me recover quicker and at the right time as Hurricane Delta would soon hit our area.” For more information about the ESP Block or the Memorial Breast Health Center, go to

Trust Your Results to Laboratory Excellence Imperial Health’s full service clinical laboratory has been selected as a recipient of the Laboratory Excellence Award by COLA. Our lab puts advanced technology in experienced hands to deliver precise results as quickly as possible. • COLA and CLIA accredited with 100% compliance in biannual survey • 95% of labs ordered performed same day in our in-house laboratory • PCR COVID testing at our lab draw sites located in our Urgent Care centers in Lake Charles and Moss Bluff • Highly trained, experienced phlebotomists • 7 draw site locations for specimen collection in SWLA • Most insurance plans accepted • No appointment required • Saturday morning hours at our Urgent Care location on Nelson Road Visit our website for a listing of all Imperial Health Laboratory locations.

We’re more than a doctor, we’re your healthcare team.

(337) 433-8400 |


Mind & Body | Breast Cancer Awareness Month

n a c i r e m A y t e i c o S r e c C an Partners with Health Systems Across Louisiana to Increase Screening and Decrease Cancer Disparities

STATEWIDE COLLABORATION IS PART OF A NATIONAL INITIATIVE, RETURN TO SCREENING, AIMED TO MINIMIZE COVID–RELATED DECLINES IN HEALTH CARE The American Cancer Society (ACS) has partnered with more than 51 institutions across the country, including Louisiana health care systems: Baton Rouge General, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Our Lady of the Lake LSU Health, St. Francis Medical Center and Woman’s Hospital to improve screening rates as part of a national Return to Screening (RTS) initiative. This specific intervention is made possible through sponsorship provided by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, elective medical procedures, including cancer screening, were largely put on hold to prioritize urgent needs and reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 in healthcare settings. One consequence of this has been an immediate and substantial decline in cancer screening. In response, ACS has initiated a RTS initiative to support public health agencies, health care providers, and screening advocates across the nation


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

to promote and deliver cancer screening appropriately, safely, and equitably during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Additional thanks to Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, Pfizer Oncology and Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada) along with other partners for their national sponsorship and support of the campaign. “Regular cancer screening can save lives. Screening tests can help detect changes in an individual’s body before they become cancer and catch cancer early when it may be easier to treat. Yet, far too many individuals for whom screening is recommended remain unscreened. This has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” explained Letitia Thompson, Vice President of Cancer Control for the American Cancer Society. “We’re proud to partner with these health care systems during this very critical time because far too many cancers are going undetected right now. Together, with our partner’s support, we will help get everyone back on track with their screenings.” Through the RTS initiative, ACS has partnered with health systems to

implement focused efforts to screen people who have historically had low screening rates and are most affected by COVID-19. These Return to Screening Quality Improvement Projects will support health systems to apply quality improvement tools and evidence-based interventions in under-resourced communities to minimize the effects of the pandemic on cancer screening. As part of this collaboration, the ACS will award $20,000 to each partnering health system, totaling more than one million to support the first of a series of cohorts in the initiative. Success for this initiative includes: minimizing the effects of the pandemic on breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening; addressing disparities and reduce barriers to screening exacerbated by the pandemic; creating learning communities to foster best practice sharing; and executing long lasting, sustainable and meaningful processes. For more information, contact Kym McGee, American Cancer Society Vice President of Marketing and Communications, at Kym.


Suma Maddox, M.D. Ochsner CHRISTUS Health Center - Lake Area Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery 4150 Nelson Rd. | Bld. E | Suite 3 | 337.491.7577 CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana welcomes Suma Maddox, M.D. Dr. Maddox is certified by the American Board of Surgery and focuses on Reconstructive Microsurgery and Aesthetics. She earned her medical degree and completed her fellowship in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at LSU in New Orleans, where she learned advanced techniques in Breast Reconstructive Microsurgery. To schedule a consultation with Suma Maddox, M.D. or another provider, visit:


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

The hands of a surgeon. The eye of an artist.

1000 W. Pinhook Road • Lafayette 337-237-0650 •

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Mind & Body | Breast Cancer Awareness Month



THE IMPACTS OF NUTRITION AND LIFESTYLE ON BREAST CANCER by Stephanie Kestel Karpovs Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. So, how can we impact prevention, treatment and recurrence? There is growing evidence that lifestyle factors including weight, heavy drinking, smoking, physical activity and dietary patterns can be associated with a higher breast cancer risk. Once diagnosed, patients may experience fatigue and drug-induced side effects. Nutritional intervention may play a large role to improve quality of life and long-term survival rates.

Oreos are plant-based, they are definitely not health foods. In contrast, studies link the dietary patterns in whole-food, plant-based diets (ex. the Mediterranean diet) with protective elements for breast cancer. These tend to be fundamentally high in micronutrients, including fiber, vitamins and minerals, contain favorable fats such as Omega 3’s found in olive oil and fish, and provide high amounts of phytonutrients (compounds that give plants vivid colors) and antioxidants from vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains.


Here are a few foods with properties that may lower breast cancer risk according to registered dietician, Jillian Kuala:

Being overweight is a strong risk factor for breast cancer. Stanford physicians have reported that even a 10% weight gain (ex. 15 pounds in a 150 lb. person) can strongly increase the chances of a diagnosis as well as a recurrence for this disease. Daily exercise and a low fat, plant-based diet are encouraged. A study in the Clinical Journal of Oncology found that breast cancer patients who ate five or more servings of vegetables and fruits each day and walked an average of 30 minutes per day cut their risk of recurrence by half after nine years! The National Cancer Institute recommends exercising for four or more hours per week to control hormone levels and help lower breast cancer risk.

PLANT-BASED DIET A 2017 article in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention looked at dietary factors and breast cancer prevention. The Standard American Diet is high in processed foods, saturated fats, meats, dairy products, fried foods, refined carbs and added sugars. While french fries and


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, arugula, chard and mustard greens are a few of those with carotenoids and folate (B vitamin concentrated in leafy greens), both of which are linked with a reduced risk of breast cancer and a reduced risk of recurrence. Fruits: Nutrients in citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, lemons, grapefruit and limes provide vitamin C, folate, carotenoids and flavonoids with great antioxidant effects. Other fruits such as peaches, apples and pears have been shown to safeguard against breast cancer. Fatty fish/Olive oil: Salmon, sardines, and mackerel are high in omega 3’s and have selenium and antioxidants. Olives and olive oil (in small amounts) are great ways to eat less refined oils.

Cruciferous vegetables: These have notably high anti-cancer potential so fill up on broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli sprouts.

Beans/Legumes: Get your fiber fix with black beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, kidney beans. One study showed high bean intake to reduce breast cancer risk by 20%. Berries: All berries have protection against

cell damage and further development of cancer cells. In a study of nearly 80,000 women, high berry intake, especially blueberries lowered the risk of estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancer.

Herbs and spices: Turmeric, ginger, parsley, thyme, rosemary and oregano have powerful anti-cancer effects. Include a wide variety in your diet. Importantly, there’s no blanket recommendation that cures cancer and some supplements or nutrients may interfere with the effectiveness of specific interventions (ex. soy products and Tamoxifen). Strive to cut out sugary drinks, processed meats, fried foods and alcohol during treatment while incorporating properties of a cancer-fighting kitchen for overall wellness. Speak with your physician and dietician to tailor a plant-based program that best complements your personal treatments.

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*For 90-day mail delivery. The $0 copay app using a mail-delivery pharmacy with preferre deductible is met. **Other pharmacies are available in our netw *For 90-day mail delivery. The $0 copay applies to Tier 1 and Tier 2 medicationsAdvantage HMO, PPO and PFFS organization using a mail-delivery pharmacy with preferred cost sharing after any applicablein any Humana plan depends on contract re H1951-049 (HMO). At Humana, it is importa deductible is met. Inc. and its subsidiaries comply with applicab **Other pharmacies are available in our network. Humana is a Medicare discriminate on the basis of race, color, natio Advantage HMO, PPO and PFFS organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment orientation, gender identity, or religion. Engl in any Humana plan depends on contract renewal. Applicable to Humana Gold Plus English, language assistance services, free o H1951-049 (HMO). At Humana, it is important you are treated fairly. Humana 1-877-320-1235 (TTY: 711). Español (Spanish Inc. and its subsidiaries comply with applicable Federal civil rights laws and do not su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistenc discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual (TTY: 711). 繁體中文 (Chinese): 注意:如果您使用 orientation, gender identity, or religion. English: ATTENTION: If you do not speak 。請致電 1-877-320-1235 (TTY :711) 。

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English, language assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-877-320-1235 (TTY: 711). Español (Spanish): ATENCIÓN: Si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-877-320-1235 (TTY: 711). 繁體中文 (Chinese): 注意:如果您使用繁體中文 ,您可以免費獲得語言援助服務 。請致電 1-877-320-1235 (TTY :711) 。 Y0040_GHHJFD5TE_22_AD_M


Save the Date!

Places & Faces

Reimagined Dragon Boat Race for 2021

Debut of the 2021 Dragon Boat CMN Challenge video on Saturday, October 30, at Noon on Facebook. The winners of all categories announced, along with highlight footage submitted by teams and individuals across the community keeping the Dragon Spirit alive.


Out of an abundance of caution and with community safety in mind, the annual Dragon Boat Race presented by CHRISTUS Ochsner Southwest Louisiana Foundation scheduled for October 30, 2021, will not take place as anticipated. However, a new fundraising experience is available for all to enjoy. The Dragon Boat Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Challenge is expected to bring the same level of action, competition, and excitement with the CMN fundraiser. “We don’t have to paddle to make waves,” said Patricia Prudhomme, Executive Director of Development, CHRISTUS Ochsner Southwestern Louisiana Foundation. “The Dragon Boat CMN Challenge looks and feels different, but the mission remains. We will continue to make a difference for the lives of children and families in the communities we serve.” Ready to catch the Dragon Spirit? From jean days to spaghetti dinners, teams will compete in individual challenges and fundraising events to support the work of CMN Hospitals here in Southwest Louisiana.

Teams participating in the Dragon Boat CMN Challenge will have the opportunity to win top awards and bragging rights in these categories:

• Dragon Boat CMN Challenge Top Fundraising Team

• Dragon Boat CMN Challenge Top Individual Fundraiser

• Dragon Boat CMN Challenge Best Team T-Shirt Design

The Dragon Boat CMN Challenge will also include these fun experiences for the community—that’s you!

Presenting Sponsors: CITGO Cameron LNG LyondellBasell Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

• #PaddleForCMN– Hashtag and post a photo or

video of your dragon boat creations on social media. It can be a pool, a box or even a bathtub! Get creative and win a prize.

• #DragonFever – Head to one of five locations

(listed on website) and look for the Dragon displayed to snap a winning selfie! Post your Dragon Fever Selfie with the hashtag on Facebook and enter to be shown in our event day video.

• #DragonsLair—Visit the Imperial Calcasieu

The annual Dragon Boat Race has not only become a family-friendly tradition and staple in the Lake Charles community, but the funds raised through the event are critical in providing life-saving equipment for babies treated in Labor and Delivery and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of CHRISTUS Ochsner Lake Area Hospital, along with CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital and Foundation Children’s Miracle Network initiatives. “We look forward to a time when we can gather again safely at the Lake Charles Civic Center Seawall for the Dragon Boat Race we all love,” said Prudhomme. “Until then, we are getting creative and making new waves while hosting a memorable and rewarding experience for all who are involved. In the same spirit, we encourage everyone to support the Dragon Boat CMN Challenge and the many teams participating.” Events will take place throughout the month of October and into early November. For more information about the Dragon Boat CMN Challenge, team participation or becoming a sponsor, please visit dragon-boat-races/ or call (337) 430-5353.

Museum of Southwest Louisiana, 204 W. Sallier St. in Lake Charles, November 2-6, to view the "awakening" gallery of each sponsor's dragon painting. Check in and post a photo using the hashtag. Team Sponsors Cheniere CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana Coushatta Casino Resort Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana Entergy Corporation

Kohl’s L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles Credit Union Chapter Southwest Louisiana Credit Union Phillips 66 Sasol Westlake Chemical

Strong Women. Smart Doctors. We are proud of these members of the Imperial Health medical staff. They play a leading role in our group, using their knowledge, skills and experience to keep our community healthy.

Dr. Yoko Broussard,

Internal Medicine and Pediatric Physician

Dr. Christine Palma, Podiatric Surgical Specialist

Dr. Marissa De La Paz,

Dr. Sandra Dempsey,

Family Medicine Physician

Dr. Bridget Loehn,


Dr. Melissa Rasberry Family Medicine Physician

Ear, Nose, Throat and Allergy Specialist

Dr. Nirmala Tumarada,

Neurologist and Neuromuscular Medicine Specialist

337-433-8400 |


Places & Faces


Ladies IN



First Federal Bank of Louisiana proudly supports women in business throughout our organization and in our community. Join with us in celebrating women in business across Southwest Louisiana. (337) 433-3611 |


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

AUTO-HOME-LIFE-HEALTH FINANCIAL SERVICES For a quote visit 4344 Lake Street Lake Charles, LA


Shayne M Laughlin, ChFC •

Since the 1960s, women have persevered and continued to make great strides in the plight for equal opportunity employment. Though some industries and organizations still tend to be “a man’s world,” even there many women have shattered the proverbial glass ceiling and excelled in leadership roles – in our petro-chemical plants, in the judicial system, even the military. In this year’s annual Leading Ladies in Business feature, we spotlight eight industrious women in a variety of employment sectors who have worked hard, climbed the ladders, and proven themselves to be competent, respected leaders.

Cameron Parish Port Salutes You, CDR Rodriquez! (337) 775-5206

Clair Hebert Marceaux, Director


Places & Faces |




S h ay n e n i l h g u a L I N S U R A N C E A G E N T, S TAT E FA R M

Shayne Laughlin

grew up in Lake Arthur behind her parents’ gas station/convenience store. She always knew she’d own her own business one day, but as a young person, she wasn’t sure what type of business. “I’m a salesman at heart and I’ve sold everything – clothing, knives, music, plumbing, industrial transportation – but I never envisioned myself selling insurance.” Because she loved science, Shayne majored in biology at McNeese State University. She left college 21 credit hours from a degree to marry and start a family. “Not having that degree has forced me to work harder than everyone else to prove myself, and that has made me who I am today. My husband, Stephen, has worked for State Farm for 24 years and he pushed me in the insurance direction. I initially pushed back because I didn’t think I had an interest in insurance and I believed it would be ‘the most boring job on earth’ . . . boy was I wrong.” Shaye loves her work because it can save people from potential bankruptcy situations, and she particularly enjoys the life insurance aspect. “It’s bittersweet when I have to pay a death claim. But in the darkest times of people’s lives, I’m able to provide some relief.” “The biggest challenge is helping people understand and pay attention to their policies. We attempt to get people in to do reviews, but they often don’t take the time. Insurance can be confusing, and many people don’t want to deal with it, but after these hurricanes, I’m hoping that changes,” Shayne adds.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

Shayne has five children, ages 13-22, and has found that she’s a better mom because she works outside the home. “It’s about quality time for me, not quantity. I cherish the time we spend together. The truth is, you always wonder if what you are doing as a mom/wife is enough. I hug and kiss my family daily, and no one ever leaves the house without shouting ‘I love you,’ so I guess we’ve done something right.”

Awards and Recognitions: • 2021 People’s Choice award for Best Insurance Agent in SWLA and Best Commercial Insurance Agent from the American Press

Groups and Community Service: • President of the Board of Directors, St Nicholas Center for Children • Past President and member of BNI Elite networking group • Member of Krewe du Sauvage • Member of Chamber of SWLA • Member of St. Martin de Porres Catholic church • Aide relief for SELA

Woman Who Most Inspires You: My mom passed away at age 38 when I was only 15 years old. Though she didn’t have a high school education, she was a savvy, fearless businesswoman. I aspire to mirror her, but I look for inspiration from within. Everyone is so different. We view the world and process information differently. We have different beliefs. So, I’ve never felt I needed to be like anyone else.

Best Advice: Go for it! Don’t be afraid to take a risk or even to fail, because our failures teach us the best lessons.

Judge Sharon Wilson


Sharon Wilson

graduated from LSU with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a minor in Philosophy in 1988. She earned her Juris Doctor from the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 1991. Her first role as a lawyer was as Assistant District Attorney in Calcasieu Parish with DA Rick Bryant. In 1999, she became the Chief Felony Officer in the Allen Parish DA’s office. “I was the first African American attorney and the second female attorney hired in that office. While there, I tried all sorts of cases including homicides and drug related cases. One case garnered national attention and was featured on the A&E program, Parole Board.” In 2002, Wilson returned to the Calcasieu Parish DA’s office and served as a Specialty Prosecutor, where she handled sex crimes and homicides. “Altogether, I spent a total of 17 years as a prosecutor.” In 2009, she opened her private practice, Sharon Darville Wilson, A Professional Law Corporation, focusing on criminal defense. 2013 found her campaigning for a seat on the bench. In 2014, she was sworn in as the first African American female to be elected judge in Calcasieu Parish. “I served as District Court Judge for seven years before being elected to the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal in the Fall of 2020. I’m one of four women currently serving on the Court of Appeal. While I have enjoyed every job that I’ve had, serving as judge has by far been the best part of my career.”

Wilson says the judicial branch of government is designed to solve problems and bring closure and validation in a fair and equitable fashion. “I find being able to participate in that process most rewarding.” The challenge, she adds, lies in the pursuit of truth. “That’s the goal, but that’s also the struggle – making sure we’re doing everything in our power to find the truth and get it right.” Wilson’s current term ends on Dec. 31, 2030. What gets her through and helps her find balance? “Prayer! My Christian faith is extremely important to me.” Wilson and her husband raised five children. “Honestly, it was extremely difficult. My husband and I were both working, but we made it work through teamwork.” Groups and Community Service: • Mount Calvary Baptist Church, member • Zeta Psi Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, member • National Association of University Women, local chapter member • Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc

Veterans Court, pulling them out of the adversarial criminal justice system and placing them into the therapeutic court, enabling us to acknowledge veterans’ service and meet their needs in a different way. Best Advice: Take time for yourself. People who are driven don’t always self-nurture. I wish I’d known how important that was when I was younger. Woman Who Most Inspires You: I admire women who leave this world a better place than they found it. I named my daughter after Dr. Maya Angelou. She speaks to little girls who look like me and struggle like I did to find their place in the world. I admire women of the Supreme Court – Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sonja Sotomayor. And Retired Chief Justice Johnson, the first African American woman to serve as Chief Justice on the Louisiana Supreme Court and a great friend and mentor.

Awards and Recognitions: I’ve received numerous awards and I’m grateful for each one, but one that means a lot to me is the Mayor’s Armed Forces Commission Civilian Patriots of the Year award Judge Richie and I received in 2019. He and I started a


Places & Faces |




A nne Doss


Anne Doss

is one of two women on the CITGO nine-person Senior Management Team. She’s a transplant to Southwest Louisiana and says she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I thought I would only be in Lake Charles for three years. Now 16 years later, SWLA is our home!” Anne graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1985 with a Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders (Speech Pathology and Audiology). After graduation, she worked at a Hearing Aid Clinic, a recruiter for a Temporary employment service, followed by a customer service representative at a pharmaceutical wholesaler. Later, she worked for a contractor company that placed her at the UNOVEN (now CITGO) Lemont Refinery (Illinois) in 1991 as an admin. “I realized that although these jobs were all very different, they all had one thing in common – working with people. My passion was rooted in helping people and making a difference in their lives. Within months, I hired on permanently with UNOVEN (now CITGO) as a Human Resources admin, and I never left! CITGO afforded me the opportunity to go back to school and earn my Master’s degree in Human Resources in 1995.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

Over the years, I was provided advancement opportunities that often came with location changes. Although moving my family was hard, meeting new people and appreciating different cultures outweighed the fear of the unknown. I’m forever grateful for these experiences.” Anne’s people skills and problemsolving abilities serve her well in her current role. “I find it so rewarding to lead an exceptional HR Team who works with employees and helps them grow and develop their skills while advancing their careers. Treating everyone fairly is key. It feels impossible at times to make everyone happy, however that is our goal. We might not always meet it, and sometimes that’s the cost of being consistent.” In a career like hers, Anne says having mentors along the way is a great asset. “I was fortunate to have several great mentors. A plant manager and VP of HR were both encouraging over the years. They pushed me to pursue an advanced degree and to learn all that I could about the refining process. The more I knew about that, the better I’d be able to perform my HR duties. Without these mentors, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to continue to grow and develop through my career.”

Anne says finding a balance between home life and a career is a challenge. “You need to find other resources and ask for help when you need it. I’ve been blessed with great support from my family.” Groups and Community Service: • Team CITGO volunteer activities • United Way of SWLA donations • American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) Labor Relations/ Human Resources Committee member • Industrial Resources Group • Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) • SWLA Leadership Class alumni through Chamber Southwest • Lake Charles Yacht Club member Best Advice: Stay organized, communicate and make all your time count. Woman Who Most Inspires You: I had an HR Manager, Paula, who I really looked up to early in my career. She gave wonderful guidance and encouraged me to take classes to show I’m willing to go the extra mile in my career. This helped build on my other education and positioned me to become a leader within my organization.

Dr. Shumin g Bai


Dr. Shuming “Sherry” Bai

received her bachelor’s degree in English Languages and Literature in 1983 from Zhengzhou University in her homeland of China. She came to the United States in 1993 and became a U.S. citizen. By 2008, she had earned an MA, MBA, and PhD in Business Administration all from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. From 2008-2019, Dr. Bai advanced through academic ranks, holding several roles in the College of Business at the University of Texas (UT) Permian Basin, including Chair of Graduate Business Studies. Dr. Bai came to McNeese State University this summer as Dean and Tenured Professor of Finance at the College of Business. Prior to coming to Lake Charles, she served as Associate Dean/Prof. of Finance at Eastern Washington Univ. in Spokane. Dr. Bai has been published in numerous financial publications and has developed several college-level finance and energy-related courses and programs. Dr. Bai says her role in higher level education gives her opportunities to create change and make a positive impact in people’s lives. “My goal is to create a culture that engages everyone, embraces processes, and helps to build the future together. She credits a dean at a known HBCU for mentoring her, providing advice and guidance to help her creatively solve problems following “right processes” instead of saying “we have always done it this way.”

As a recent transplant to Southwest Louisiana, Dr. Bai says her current challenge is adapting to her new environment. “Coming here is a calling and a passion. The food here is fabulous. People are nice. Lake Charles and Prien Lake are so beautiful. I jog at Prien Lake Park each week. It’s a luxury enjoying the beautiful sunset and lake while jogging.” On balance, Dr. Bai says, “I don’t think there is a good balance. It’s a matter of priority at different stages in life. You need a network of support and understanding at each stage.” Groups and Community Service: • Chamber Education and Workforce Development Committee • Southwestern Finance Associate Board of Directors Awards and Recognitions: • Financial Education Research Grant. $125,000. AccessLex Institute, 2021-2023 • Endowed Jack Ladd Fellow in Business. University of Texas Permian Basin, 2016-2019 • Outstanding Research Award, College of Business, UT Permian Basin, 201718, 2011, 2010.

• Outstanding Teaching Award, College of Business, UT Permian Basin, 2015-16

• La Mancha Society Golden Windmill

Award. in recognition of excellence in research, UT Permian Basin, 2011 • Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. National Academic Affairs, State of Texas Edition, 2006 Best Advice: Be bold and courageous, pursue your dreams, and find good mentor(s). Remember the “5Cs” – Be confident, courageous, consistent, communicate well, and hold tight to your compass. Woman Who Most Inspires You: Former Pepsi Co CEO Indra Nooyi, for her upbringing, character, confidence, courage, leadership style, caring, team-building, inspiration, and ability to dream big.


Places & Faces |





Shively Verrette,

a country girl at heart, is most comfortable in boots and blue jeans, but she spends her workdays in the world of finance as the Chief Financial Officer for Lakeside Bank. Born and raised in Lake Charles, Shively’s banking career began as a part-time teller while she attended McNeese State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. After she graduated, she was hired as an operation manager trainee and then transferred to the accounting department. “My career path took a few detours into non-banking positions, but I always found my way back to banking,” says Shively. She has been with Lakeside Bank since 2011. Shively finds it very rewarding to work with numbers. “Businesses have different products, services and acronyms, but accounting is accounting wherever you are. It’s really just a big puzzle, and when done right, all the pieces fall into place.” She says she also enjoys working with people and helping them develop their skills in the financial field. “Increased regulatory pressures are a community bank’s biggest challenge,” says Shively. “Community banks are the backbone of the banking system and the burden of regulation falls disproportionately on local banks. It’s something we deal with every day.”


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

Shively has been fortunate have a career mentor since her first job. “Roy Raftery has been my most significant mentor. He saw potential in me and hired me right out of college, then again at Cameron State Bank. I now have the privilege of working with Roy for the third time at Lakeside, and just as in the past, he has so much to teach everyone about banking and life – I only need to be open to learning.” According to Shively, remembering the values of faith and family is most important to finding a work/life balance, “but there is absolutely nothing wrong with working hard to get what you want. That’s the example I’ve always tried to set for my two daughters, who have families and successful careers of their own now. My husband Donald and I have been married for 38 years and he is my biggest supporter; by my side every step of the way.”

Awards and Recognitions: • Finance Council Chair, St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church • Catholic Daughters of the Americas • Profit & Loss Association of SWLA, Board member • Family & Youth Performance Advisory Council, member Best Advice: Your attitude will dictate your altitude. Pick your battles and don’t take yourself too seriously. Woman Who Most Inspires You: Nikki Haley. She is a strong, independent wellspoken woman. I like that she is smart, fair, and very direct. She has a positive reputation in her leadership roles.

Tonya Richard ,



Tonya Richard,

a Lake Charles native, always had an interest in healthcare, but she didn’t think it was the career path for her because of her fear of needles. Yet, fate found a way. After she attended McNeese State University and worked in the accounting and mortgage lending department of a local bank, she received a job offer in the accounting department of The Clinic (now Imperial Health). “This was an opportunity to work in health care on the administrative side in support of the clinical team – a perfect fit for me. I’ve been with Imperial Health for over 21 years now and have never looked back.” Since she first joined the group, Tonya has held several management positions with Imperial Health and was named Chief Operating Officer (COO) in 2020. “As COO, I’m able to work with all of our departments and service lines, as well as a variety of clinical and nonclinical positions, giving me the opportunity to learn and grow daily,” she explains. “I’m often approached by people in our community who tell me how well Imperial Health physicians and staff take care of their healthcare needs. Knowing that I’m a part of the health and wellness of our community is very rewarding.” The challenges of providing health care in the 21st century are well-documented, and over the past 18 months, COVID-19, Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Delta, Winter Storm Uri and a 1,000-year flood event brought a new level of challenge and uncertainty to Southwest Louisiana. “Having to adapt to reduced or partial closure of services due to COVID-19, shortage

of staff and the physical devastation from the hurricanes has been a real test, but I do believe these sort of challenges reinforce the strength of our community and our determination to recover our livelihoods. As the COO of a healthcare group, it was important for me to lead the recovery of our services as quickly as possible to meet the needs of our community.” Tonya says she is very fortunate to have a caring and understanding husband who fully supports her career. “We have one son who is now in graduate school, however during his early school years my husband and I agreed I would handle homework and he would handle everything else in our household. I did not miss out on many family events, but on the occasion I did, our son was always understanding as well, because his dad led by example. The mutual support and respect allowed me to have a healthy work life balance and grow to where I am today in my career. I’m very grateful to both my husband and son.”

Awards and Recognitions: • Certified Medical Practice Executive (CMPE), designation awarded by the American College of Medical Practice Executives, the certification entity of the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Best Advice: Don’t give up! Find a healthy support system, don’t be too hard on yourself and keep moving forward. Woman Who Most Inspires You: My mother had a full-time career for over 37 years, and I learned from her the value of working hard in order to be strong and independent. Her example contributed to my drive and desire to have a successful career.

Groups and Community Service: • MGMA member • Chamber SWLA Board member • St. Louis Catholic High School Rebuilding Project Committee • MGMA Community Connect + Volunteer Calcasieu Community Clinic, volunteer

Consulting with Dr. Richard Gilmore


Places & Faces |




Nicole z e u g i r d o R


Nicole Rodriguez

says her career is “accidental fate” in many ways. When she was younger, she never envisioned herself in the military. “I fancied myself too freespirited to conform to anything,” she says. Nicole earned a BA in Anthropology/Archaeology from James Madison University. But upon graduation, she couldn’t find a job. “I couldn’t even get a lowlevel job cataloguing bones for the Smithsonian, so I went into defense contracting just to have a job. While working as a defense contractor I realized everyone above me had military experience, so visiting the recruiter seemed like the next logical step in advancing my career.” Nicole joined the Coast Guard because her father had served in that military branch. She thought she’d do one tour and get out. But a year later, 9/11 happened. “That day changed so much about us as a country. It was then I realized how much I loved my job in the Coast Guard. My work was rewarding, and I felt I was making a difference. I found purpose in what I was doing – a challenging job that played upon my strengths. Through my 21 years in the Coast Guard, I’ve done things I never thought possible. If I had gotten that Smithsonian job out of college, who knows where I would be? Call it an accident or fate, but somehow the stars aligned for me to find my calling.” Nicole says the best part of her job are her coworkers. “Every place I’ve been stationed I have worked with amazing, smart, and dedicated people. The Coast Guard feels like family, and the connections I’ve made will last a lifetime.” Nicole’s greatest influencer has been her father.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

“Dad is my hardest critic and biggest advocate, and the first person I call when I don’t know what to do. He listens and works through problems with me. He doesn’t judge me or tell me what to do, but instead serves as a steadying voice for me to work through issues and problem solve. I know he’s proud of me and my accomplishments.” On work, family, and finding a balance, Nicole says, “When you ‘leanin’ someplace, you ‘lean-out’ someplace else in your life. I have the most amazing, supportive husband and children, but I know they wish I could spend more time with them. ‘Mom guilt’ is real. I often overextend myself to be all things to everyone in my life, leaving nothing for myself (I’m working on that!). The biggest challenge is needing to move every few years. Before my husband and I had kids, we enjoyed the adventure of a new place. We still love exploring and experiencing newplaces, but as our children have grown older and more established with friends, school, andactivities, moving has become more difficult.” Groups and Community Service: • Member Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association • Member Women in Maritime Operations

Awards and Recognitions: • Three-time recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal • Designated Marine Safety professional • Certified Maritime Port Executive • Member International Association of Maritime and Port Executives • Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a focus in emergency management from The George Washington University Best Advice: Never sell yourself short and never turn down an opportunity. Establish a support network and push aside that little inner voice that fills you with self doubt and take the plunge, even if it’s scary. Woman Who Most Inspires You: I greatly admire Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The 50s and 60s were a tipping point for women’s equality issues in the workforce, and she pioneered the way.

Sarita Scheufens


Sarita Scheufens

grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, baby sitting, mowing grass, raking yards, and working retail during the summers through high school, knowing that finances would be limited by the time she started college. She attended McNeese State University, majoring in psychology and working in banking while holding down other odd jobs. “My talents lined up well with banking early in my career. It allowed me to serve others in a professional capacity and shaped me as a leader. Working for national firms throughout my time in banking demanded constant growth and required reinventing myself to keep aligned with the ever-changing definition of successful performance – learn, grow, and stay positive were the names of the game.” She adds that there is no better career than one that uses the gifts God has given you. “Serving and growing others is mine. As the CEO of the Safety Council of SWLA, I focus on the growth of our employees – as we grow together so will the efforts we put forth within our organization.” When it comes to challenges, Sarita says there are too many to count and most are self-induced. “My biggest challenge is the voice inside my head. Outside of that, I embrace challenge as a growth opportunity. My mantra is, ‘If you are not uncomfortable, you are not growing.’” Sarita says her real education in business began as a receptionist and errand girl for a determined and successful interior decorator, her mother, who owned Bruney’s Interiors.

“I was 12, and she appreciated the cheap labor. As a young widow, she raised five strong-minded children to be their best selves and ‘I can’t’ was banned from our vocabulary. She is my hero not for what she has accomplished for herself, but the endless giving she has put forth for others. When people compare us to one another, I tell them, ‘I am the apple, she is the tree.’” For Sarita, balance comes through the strong women she surrounds herself with. “My sisterhood-tribe accepts me as I am, loves me through challenges, gives great advice – even if it’s hard to hear. We don’t make excuses, but we don’t beat ourselves up over failure. Work life balance comes through a support system that may be found outside of work or home.” Groups and Community Service: • Ellevate Louisiana – Sustaining Member • Workforce Development Board – Chair • Chamber ALLIANCE – Workforce Development Committee • ABC Pelican – Multiple Committees • Lake Area Industry Alliance – Health and Safety Committee • Association of Reciprocal Safety Councils – Chair/Audit Committee • American Association of Safety Councils • St. Judes Children’s Hospital • Executive Leadership in Banking graduate

• Louisiana Banking Association – Commercial Lending graduate

• Chamber Leadership Program - alumni Best Advice: You know those coworkers and supervisors who want you to look less than so they can feel better about themselves? I’ve had a few! Here’s the secret to overcoming . . . become successful despite their efforts to bring you down. No words need to be spoken; success speaks for itself. And stand up for yourself – you are your own best advocate. Woman Who Most Inspires You: Harriet Tubman accomplished great things with so few resources. She traveled through the woods for days, led groups of scared, hungry people to safety and a new life. Her bravery shined in the face of adversity. She didn’t allow her position in life; her education or how others defined her, to prevent her from doing great things. She just did it! What an amazing way to create a legacy, for herself and those she led to freedom.”


Places & Faces

Movers and Shakers in Southwest Louisiana... Who’s News? You tell us! Send press releases to Thompson Named West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital Physician of the Quarter West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital (WCCH) has named Christopher Thompson M.D., Christopher Thompson M.D. cardiologist, as the recipient of the Physician of the Quarter Award for Q2 2021. The award recognizes a clinical physician who consistently achieves high standards in the practice of medicine. Dr. Thompson completed his Internal Medicine Residency Program from the Medical College of Virginia and his Cardiology Fellowship from the University Medical Center in Jacksonville, FL. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Cardiovascular Disease and Interventional Cardiology. Thompson has been a member of the WCCH Medical Staff since August 1994 and is currently the Cardiology Medical Director at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital. First Federal Bank Announces Promotion First Federal Bank of Louisiana is proud to announce that Karen Hatch has been named the Branch Manager and Lender at the bank’s McNeese Karen Hatch Branch, located at 324 E. McNeese St. in Lake Charles. Hatch has been with the Bank since 2017 and previously served as Senior Branch Supervisor at the Main Office. In her new position, Hatch will oversee the McNeese Branch’s daily operations and profitability while also managing consumer loans for the branch. She is a graduate of McNeese State University with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. 42

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

Visit to learn more. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. Hospitalist Christine Dugan, DO Joins Memorial Medical Group Memorial Medical Group welcomes Christine Dugan, DO, a board-certified internal medicine physician to their Christine Dugan, DO staff. She serves as a hospitalist, treating the patients admitted to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. Dr. Dugan has a degree in physics from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She has a Master of Science degree from Rutgers University, and a PhD in biological sciences from Michigan State University. She received her doctor of osteopathic medicine from Michigan State University. Her postgraduate training includes an internal medicine residency at the Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Before coming to Memorial, Dr. Dugan worked as a hospitalist at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo and served as a clinical professor at the Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine. She is a member of the Society of Hospital Medicine, American Medical Association and American College of Physicians. Ochsner CHRISTUS Health Center – Lake Area Welcomes Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Dr. Suma Maddox In its ongoing expansion of Suma Maddox, M.D. services in the Lake Charles region, Ochsner CHRISTUS Health

Center – Lake Area welcomes plastic and reconstructive surgeon Suma Maddox, M.D. She begins seeing patients at 4150 Nelson Road, Building E, Suite 3. Free consultations are available. At Ochsner CHRISTUS Health Center – Lake Area, she provides a variety of aesthetic inoffice procedures and complimentary facial analysis and skin rejuvenation plans prior to Botox treatments and injectables (Juvederm, Qwo, Sculptra, Voluma, Volbella and Vollure). In addition, Dr. Maddox offers a variety of outpatient surgical procedures to address breast and body aesthetics needs. Other surgical procedures include:

• Breast augmentation, reduction, lift • Abdominoplasty • Fat grafting • Buttock lift and Brazilian buttock augmentation

• Brachioplasty • Brow lift • Facelift • Eyelid surgery • Rhinoplasty • Revision plastic surgery

To schedule an appointment, call 337-656-7875 or visit to schedule online. Dr. Blake LeBlanc, ENT Specialist, Joins Imperial Health Dr. Blake LeBlanc, and Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist and Surgeon, has joined the medical staff of Imperial Health. A Lafayette, Louisiana, Dr. Blake LeBlanc native, Dr. LeBlanc has practiced in the Lake Charles area for six years. He specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of a variety of diseases and disorders of the ear, nose and throat (ENT), as well as related structures of the head and neck. This includes, but is not limited to sinus disease, tinnitus, ear infections, tonsillar

conditions and facial reconstruction. Dr. LeBlanc received a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and earned his Medical Degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport. He completed a residency in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, also at LSU Health Sciences Center Dr. LeBlanc will be practicing with ENT Specialist Dr. Bridget Loehn at 1615 Wolf Circle in Lake Charles. Call (337) 312-8950 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Steven Hale Elected to LSMS Council on Legislation Steven Hale, MD, orthopaedic surgeon with the Center for Orthopaedics, was elected to serve on the Council on Legislation for the Louisiana State Steven Hale, MD Medical Society (LSMS) . The LSMS relies on the expertise and advice of this Council to achieve its legislative goals. The Council directs all state and federal legislative activities in accordance with the actions and policies of the House of Delegates. The Council also organizes and coordinates the efforts of the LSMS regarding lobbying activities and member contact on key issues and/or legislation before the Louisiana Legislature and the U.S. Congress. 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.

Dr. Palma’s office is located at 501 Dr. Michael Imperial Health DeBakey Dr., 2nd Floor, in Lake Charles. She Welcomes Christine accepts all major insurance and Medicare. Palma, DPM, Podiatric Call (337) 312-8120 today to schedule an Surgical Specialist appointment. Dr. Christine Palma, podiatric surgical specialist, has joined the medical staff of Imperial Health. Dr. Palma specializes Dr. Christine Palma in both conservative and surgical management for a variety of foot and ankle conditions. Her special interests include forefoot deformities (bunions, hammertoes, etc.), arthritis, sports injuries, and arthroscopic surgery. She also has extensive clinical experience and is therefore uniquely qualified to detect and manage disease of the lower extremities including those related DOCUMENT SOLUTIONS FOR BUSINESS to peripheral arterial disease and diabetes. copiers • scanners • printers • fax • shredders Dr. Palma is board qualified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery in both forefoot and rearfoot reconstructive surgery. She is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgery and has completed additional arthroscopic training through the college.

Locally owned and operated for over 30 years

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


Money & Career



ON S A E S E N HURRICA E 1 N U N J O S N A O E S S I C ABNE EG I N U R RAhead HPlan E 1 N U J N O S & Prepare BEGIN

In our American culture, insurance is one of those facts of life, like death and taxes. We all need it, purchase it, and file the policy documents in a secure place . . . but how many of us fully understand the process? For many, insurance is a messy bureaucracy riddled with paperwork, red tape, and confusing jargon. How do I choose an insurance agent? What exactly is covered under my policy? Which options are best for me? In this special insurance section, Thrive aims to clear up a few things.

d a e h A n a Pl d a e h A n a Pl & Prepare e r a p e r Voted #1 P & . w o Plan Ahead N Insurance Agent in Plan Ahead & Prepare Now. SWLA & nsurance #1 IPrepare


HURRICANE SEASON Jennifer Mabou B E G I N Voted S O N#1 JInsurance UNE 1 Agent in SWLA


(337) 527-0027 • 1633 Beglis Parkway, Sulphur


oted V u o b Now. a M LA W S Jennifer in t n e g A e c nsuranNow. I 1 # d e t o V u o b a M r e f Jennifer Mabou i Voted #1 Insurance n n e J nt in SWLA Agent in SWLA

Age Mabou Jennifer

Voted #1 Insurance Agent in SWLA

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Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021


How to Choose an INSURANCE AGENT by Stefanie Powers

Choosing an insurance agent can be a daunting experience—especially considering the weather events we’ve gone through in the past year. What defines a good agent? What qualities should a consumer look for? “A good insurance agent has integrity, product knowledge, empathy, a good work ethic, and honesty,” says State Farm agent Jennifer Mabou, who owns her own business in Sulphur. “Consumers should look for an insurance agent who puts the needs of his or her clients first. It’s not about selling a policy. It’s about protecting our customers. I often tell my clients that if I was just offering everyone the same policy, I wouldn’t be doing my job. There are reasons why we ask lots of questions when meeting with our clients. There are different needs for everyone and it’s our moral responsibility to make sure we are protecting the clients who trust us.” Mabou says she was motivated to become an entrepreneur after she had her first daughter. “I loved being a mother and I enjoyed my career. I knew there was a better way to balance that lifestyle, and I felt a very strong drive from within to own my own business.” Her goal was to create an insurance agency built on relationships and integrity. “I began working in the insurance industry at age 22 and I loved the ability to share my knowledge and engage with customers. I am very proud of the agency I’ve built and the office environment I’ve created for my team.”

Since the agent represents the company, what should the consumer look for in a company that can best handle their needs? “When consumers are researching an insurance company, I think it’s important to review their financial standing, especially in a highly active catastrophe market,” Mabou explains. “After the 2020 storm season, there were several insurance companies that chose to non-renew their customers. There are financial reasons behind those decisions. Insurance companies must be able to manage price to risk. I truly think when it comes to a major catastrophe, your local agent is your personal advocate as it pertains to your claims experience. That is why I firmly believe in the power of doing business locally.” Mabou says that she was able to be handson with her clients after Hurricane Laura. “They knew to call me anytime they felt like something wasn’t going right,” she says. “I was pro-active and advocated on their behalf to get the problems solved. We don’t hand out 800 numbers in my agency. We sit face to face with our clients and service their needs in the office. It’s truly what I love most about my job. I love interacting with people and helping them. Look for an agent that cares about YOU!” Jennifer Mabou-State Farm Agent, 1633 Beglis Pkwy., Sulphur, LA 70663. (337) 527-0027,


Money & Career | Insurance 411


A Little Time Now May Save a Lot Later by Christine Fisher

Being insured isn’t all-inclusive in protecting you from all disasters. Insurance has changed a lot in the past 10 to 20 years. Just because you have insurance doesn’t mean you’re fully covered.

Stephen Lyons, owner of Lyons Insurance, says, “Many people think their policies from 20 years ago are the same, and they are not. Insurance has changed; understanding your current policy is critical for being certain of your insurance coverage.” He says taking just one or two hours a year to review your policy will benefit policyholders greatly. “It’s good to know what you have, and more important to know what you don’t have or what is excluded. You may think you’re covered for certain things, but you’re not,” he says. For example, many homeowners’ policies do not automatically include loss of use, or they may have a different deductible for wind damage or named storm damage.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

“In the last 16 years, since Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, the insurance landscape in South Louisiana has changed drastically as far as the carriers are concerned,” Lyons explains. “Insurance companies who are willing to write policies are becoming less generous when it comes to including coverages that previously were automatic.” During your review process, make a list of your contents. “Businesses and individuals generally come out ahead if they are able to submit a list of contents; it is well worth the time it takes to create this list. Once you have it, just review it annually and update as needed,” Lyons says. “The more accurate the list, the more money you will collect in general. Taking pictures of your contents to accompany the list is also recommended.” If you should have to make a claim, it helps to know what is expected. “This also has changed quite a bit in the last several years,” Lyons says. “Years ago, many agents like me had draft authority, or the ability to help the insured at claim time, and in some cases, make the payment. Now, the insurance companies do not want the agent involved in any of the claim’s process. It is between the insured and the adjustor.”

If your home receives damage, whether from a lightning strike, a storm, or a hurricane, most insurance companies expect the homeowner to make all necessary repairs to prevent further damage until an adjuster can arrive to review the situation. This process often requires the policyholder to spend money before they see an adjustor. When repairs are needed, Lyons says it is helpful to use a local contractor, if possible. “If you need them to return for additional damage, you know who to call, and if your insurance company has a question about the cost, you are able to reach your local contractor for clarification,” he says. “It may take a little longer to wait for a local contractor to get to you, but it’s usually worth it.” When you just don’t have the time to devote to your claim, Lyons suggests hiring a public adjustor, one that works for you, not the insurance company. “They will start from scratch and value the claim and deal with your insurance company on your behalf. They are licensed by the state and can charge no more than 10 percent of what they collect on your behalf,” he explains.

We’re Here to Serve.

Many people are surprised to learn that their insurance agent really can’t get in the middle of a claim. The adjustor is the individual to work with during a claim. “Be sure to keep the phone number of your adjustor. In some cases, during catastrophic events, you may go through several adjustors, as many of us experienced during recent hurricanes. Keep track of their phone number because they are the ones who are responsible for moving your claim forward,” Lyons says. Insurance can get complicated, but Lyons says if you start with understanding your policy and then knowing how the insurance companies work, it can help you navigate the system. “As an agent, even though there are restrictions on what I am allowed to do, I am always ready and available to help my clients through the process,” Lyons says. Lyons Insurance is locally owned and has serviced clients for over 60 years. For more information, call (337) 478-4466 or visit

CHOOSE LOCAL. Since 1960. (337) 478-4466 3100 Lake Street, Lake Charles |

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Money & Career | Insurance 411

Understanding Your

Car Insurance


If you’re buying a new car or shopping for auto insurance, you’ll likely need to understand the common types of coverage available on a car insurance policy. “The various types of car insurance coverage are available to help protect you, your passengers, and your vehicle if you’re involved in a car accident,” says Allstate agent Tuwanna Guillory-August. Below is a list of common car insurance coverage options with brief explanations. Depending on where you live, some of these coverages are mandatory and some are optional. Understanding what’s required in our state and what each option cover can help you choose the right coverage for your situation.


Auto liability coverage is mandatory in most states, including Louisiana. Drivers are legally required to purchase at least the minimum amount of liability coverage set by state law. Liability coverage has two components:

• Bodily injury liability may help pay

for costs related to another person›s injuries if you cause an accident.

• Property damage liability may help

pay for damage you cause to another person's property while driving.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021


If you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance, uninsured motorist coverage may help pay for your medical bills or, in some states, repairs to your vehicle. If you’re hit by an underinsured driver, that means they have car insurance, but their liability limits aren’t enough to cover your resulting medical bills. That’s where underinsured motorist coverage may help. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is optional in Louisiana.


Comprehensive may help cover damage to your car from things like flood waters, hurricane wind damage, theft, fire, or hail. If your car is damaged by a covered peril, comprehensive coverage may help pay to repair or replace your vehicle (up to the vehicle’s actual cash value). This coverage has a deductible, which is the amount you’ll pay out of pocket before your insurer reimburses you for a covered claim. Comprehensive is typically an optional coverage — but your lender may require it if you’re leasing or paying off your vehicle.


If you’re involved in an accident with another vehicle, or if you hit an object such as a fence, collision coverage may help pay to repair or replace your car (up to its actual cash value and minus your deductible). Collision coverage is typically optional. It may be required, however, by your vehicle’s leaseholder or lender.


If you, your passengers or family members who are driving the insured vehicle are injured in an accident, medical payments coverage may help pay for costs associated with the injuries. Covered costs may include hospital visits, surgery, X-rays and more. Medical payments coverage is optional in Louisiana.

Member Appreciation Day -and-

International Credit Union Day October 21, 2021

OTHER TYPES OF AUTO INSURANCE COVERAGE You may be able to add the following optional coverages to your car insurance policy, depending on your situation. As your insurance agent, we can help you understand what each help cover, so you can put together a policy that’s right for you.

• Rental reimbursement coverage/transportation expense coverage

• Gap coverage • New car replacement coverage • Towing and labor cost coverage • Ride-sharing coverage • Sound system coverage • Classic car insurance The different components of an auto insurance policy are available to help protect you and your vehicle. For more information, call The Guillory-August Allstate Agency office at 337-508-3036. Source:

Credit unions strive to make the world a better place for their members by offering affordable rates and high-quality service that simplify their lives and empower them to meet their financial goals. Visit Access of Louisiana Federal Credit Union to learn more about how credit unions fuel a force of global good.

In conjunction with International Credit Union Day, we are celebrating our members – it’s Member Appreciation Day! Come by and enjoy refreshments, visit with your favorite staff members, bring your personal documents for shredding at no cost to you and learn more about what’s been happening at the credit union.

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


Check out our community involvement! TUWANNA GUILLORY-AUGUST AGENCY OWNER

1700 E PRIEN LAKE RD. | (337) 508-3036


Money & Career


Partners with Local Leaders to Benefit the Community by Angie Kay Dilmore

Industries abound in Southwest Louisiana because our region offers amenities that enable industries to thrive, such as wide-open spaces, access to the Gulf of Mexico for importing and exporting, an ample and reliable workforce, and incentives that make conducting business in SWLA a lucrative option. As Jim Rock, executive director of Lake Area Industry Alliance (LAIA) knows, the benefits work both ways. “Local industries in turn benefit our community in a variety of ways,” Rock says. “These businesses provide a high rate of employment, economic stability, and educational enhancements.”


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

During the many challenges over the past year and a half, Rock has sought opportunities to collaborate with several non-industrial entities, such as healthcare and local government agencies, to further benefit the SWLA community. Janie Frugé, CEO at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital (WCCH), says the past 18 months have been an incredible challenge for everyone, but from a hospital standpoint, she’s realized the similarities between healthcare and the petro-chemical industries. “For example, we are open 24/7; we need to find housing for employees after hurricanes; during COVID-19, we had to strive to keep our employees well and at work; and safety is a top priority.” With all these similarities, it makes sense that these two industries would help each other achieve goals. In March 2020, when personal protective equipment (PPE) was scarce and healthcare facilities desperately needed PPE to protect their employees and patients, Frugé – knowing industries use the same or similar equipment – called Rock. “Immediately, Jim sent out a communication. We received an overwhelming response from most every industry in our region. They sent N-95 masks, respirators, and other PPE we needed.” Frugé, a 30-year healthcare veteran whose background is in nursing, says she is proud that WCCH remained open throughout Hurricanes Laura and Delta and the other

storms that have affected our region this past year. “Investments in infrastructure allowed us to continue serving our community. We have back-up generators that can supply power to the entire facility. Local industries provided fuel and water that helped the hospital remain viable. Local industries also donated financial resources over $320,000. They also provided a temporary building for WCCH’s rural clinic in Hackberry when the permanent facility sustained damage as a result of Hurricane Laura. Altogether, the dollar amount from local industries that benefitted WCCH was $600,000 - $700,000 over the past 18 months. We’re very appreciative to our local industries and hope to continue to collaborate.” Bryan Beam, parish administrator with the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury (CPPJ), applauds Rock’s savvy at interacting with other community organizations such as CPPJ. “Jim is open to listening, lets us know what industries need, gives us suggestions and constructive criticism . . . and that helps us. You can’t over-communicate.” Rock says pre-COVID, industry employees volunteered around 20,000 manhours to local non-profits, Partners in Education with Calcasieu Parish School District, and other annual events such as Trash Bash and Chem Expo. “Industries have been around since the 1940s. And we’re happy to be here.”

Prioritize Your Bills to Help Manage


TIMES by Kristy Como Armand

For most people in Southwest Louisiana, the past 18 months have been extremely challenging, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and several natural disasters affecting all aspects of daily life, including, in some cases, employment and income. In a perfect world, we could pay all our bills in full and on time. Unfortunately, real life offers few guarantees, especially when it comes to personal finances. When that happens, the growing stack of unpaid bills can seem overwhelming. Add in extra fees for late or missed payments and it starts to feel hopeless.

“There is always hope,” says Kala Kuhlthau, Vice President and Sulphur Branch Manager with Lakeside Bank. “When your bills exceed the money you have to pay them, it’s not time to throw in the towel and give up; it’s time to sit down with all your expenses and organize your financial priorities.” Kuhlthau says you have a legal obligation to pay the debts you owe, but if you’re in a situation where that may not be possible, there are things to do to make your limited payments as effective as possible. First, make a list of everyone you owe and how much you owe them, then consider the consequences of nonpayment for each. “Obviously your top priority should be those expenses that would affect the family most,” says Kuhlthau “More than likely, the first expenses you’ll want to pay will be the mortgage, utilities, and medical insurance.” When faced with credit card bills, Kuhlthau says the most effective way to prioritize is by interest rate, which reduces the amount of finance charges. “Be sure to avoid making new charges on those cards if at all possible. Otherwise, you will be digging yourself into an even deeper hole.” Once you have determined a payment plan – even if it’s a limited one – contact all creditors who will be adversely affected. Explain your family’s situation and ask them to work with you on a restructured payment plan, if possible, to protect your credit score. “Most creditors will work with consumers to get the debt repaid,” Kuhlthau says. This could include an extended payment period or reduction in the interest rate. Some creditors even allow consumers to skip a payment and tack it on the end of the loan. “These decisions often depend on previous payment history and a consumer’s credit score,” she adds. “Even if creditors find that their hands are tied and there are few alternatives available, it’s still a wise idea to talk to them, explain your situation, and let them know the status of their payment.” Also, make sure you understand the consequences of reduced or nonpayment to the agencies you owe. “That way, you can be prepared for any negative consequences,” says Kuhlthau. “You can also put a plan in place to start rebuilding your credit once your financial situation improves.”


Money & Career

CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital Earns Multiple CARF Accreditations for Inpatient Rehabilitation Services

The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) recently announced CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital has been accredited for a period of 3 years for its Inpatient Rehabilitation and Stroke Specialty programs. CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick’s Inpatient Rehabilitation program has received continuous 3-year accreditation since 1993. However, this is the first time for the hospital’s Stroke Specialty program to apply for and receive a 3-year accreditation. Obtaining accreditation is a testament to CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital’s commitment to continuous quality improvement through a focus on efficiency, fiscal health and positive patient outcomes. It is achieved through a process that includes a continuous internal examination of the rehabilitation practices and an on-site survey and evaluation to ensure alignment of rigorous and internationally recognized CARF standards. The Inpatient Rehabilitation program at CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital is the only CARF-accredited program in the region. The nearest CARF accredited Inpatient Rehab units are in Hammond and Shreveport in Louisiana or Houston, Texas. Because of COVID-19 restrictions some of the outcome measures and research studies used to achieve accreditation had to be changed, and the rehabilitation team quickly adapted. The Stroke Specialty Program expands on the CARF Inpatient Rehabilitation accreditation. It signifies the additional research and quality improvement initiatives related specifically to stroke CHRISTUS Ochsner Inpatient Rehab has implemented. It affirms patient care provided in the stroke program is focused on quality and positive outcomes for patients.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

Outcomes are tracked during the patient’s stay and after discharge so that improved methods and strategies can be made to the program in an effort to provide the highest level of care to stroke patients. The nearest rehab hospitals with a CARF Stroke Specialty program are Hammond in Louisiana and Dallas in Texas. Receiving care at a CARF-accredited rehabilitation facility means patients, their families and caregivers don’t have to travel far to receive high-quality rehabilitation and care. These certifications affirm CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana’s exceptional competency in providing a quality of rehabilitative care that is unmatched in the region.

Port Partners with Crowley, Entergy Louisiana to Reduce Local Emissions Through Shore Power

A cleaner, greener alternative source of power will soon be available for vessels working City Docks at the Port of Lake Charles. It’s the latest innovation by the new leadership team at the Port. It’s shore power — a portside electrical connection that’s run to a vessel at City Docks while its main and auxiliary engines are shut down. The vessels have traditionally used onboard diesel generators at the docks. The Port has entered into an agreement with Crowley and Entergy Louisiana to provide shore power to Crowley tugboats while they are docked. In the coming months, Entergy Louisiana will install the equipment needed to serve the Crowley tugs. Installing this infrastructure will reduce CO2 emissions by the Port by over 500 metric tons per year. Shore power provides environmental and economic benefits. Environmentally, it reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by ships while berthed at port.

Economically, shore power allows customers to access Entergy’s low electricity rates while also increasing operational efficiency, potentially reducing maintenance costs and wear-and-tear of engines. To learn more about shore power through Entergy, visit

Monoclonal Antibody Infusion for COVID-19 Patients Now Available at Home

The monoclonal antibody infusion used to treat COVID-19 in high-risk patients is now available through Lake Charles Memorial Home Health. Patients who qualify can receive the infusion in the convenience of their home. This service is currently offered Monday through Friday. Patients will need to meet a qualification of being high-risk such as age, pregnancy and/or a chronic health condition. If they do qualify, a registered nurse will come to their home, administer the infusion and monitor the patient for one-hour post infusion. Patients do not need to meet home health criteria, nor will they be admitted to home health services. Any insurance policy will be accepted, and there will be no out-of-pocket expenses for the patient. Patients are encouraged to discuss this option with their physician once they receive a COVID-19 diagnosis. They can call 337.494.6444 for more information and assistance in getting an order from their physician. Physicians can fax an order form, positive COVID-19 diagnosis and demographics to 337.494.6451.

Oak Crossing Development Donates to Alzheimer’s Association

Dub Henning of Oak Crossing Development gave a $7,500 donation towards the Louisiana Chapter of Alzheimer’s Association.

This donation will directly fund the Walk to End Alzheimer’s for 2021. The Alzheimer’s Association Louisiana Chapter serves all parishes across the state and helps those facing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by providing support groups and educational resources, while advancing crucial research and public policy initiatives. The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. This year’s walk will be held Saturday, October 9, 2021 at the Lake Charles Civic Center Amphitheatre. Visit to register.

Imperial Health Announces New ENT Office Dr. Bridget Loehn and Dr. Blake LeBlanc, ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Specialists with Imperial Health, are now practicing together at 1615 Wolf Circle in Lake Charles. Both doctors specialize in the medical and surgical treatment of a variety of diseases and disorders of the ear, nose and throat, as well as related structures of the head and neck. This includes sinus disease, ear infections, allergy testing and treatment, thyroid disorders, tonsillar conditions, salivary gland disease, hearing loss, and more.

Both doctors offer specialized treatment options, such as balloon sinuplasty, minimally invasive sinus procedures, thyroid surgery, bone anchored hearing aid implants. Dr. Loehn is from Metairie, Louisiana. She received a bachelor of science degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and earned a medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. She completed a residency at the Department of Otolaryngology at Louisiana State University Health Science Center, also in New Orleans. She joined Imperial Health in 2013 and has eight years of practice experience. Dr. LeBlanc is from Lafayette, Louisiana, and earned a bachelor of science degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He earned a medical degree from LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, where he also completed a residency in Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. He has been in practice in Lake Charles for six years and joined Imperial Health last month. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Loehn or Dr. LeBlanc, call (337) 312-8950 or visit

Alliance for Positive Growth to Host Annual Banquet with Keynote Speaker Joe Max Higgins The Alliance for Positive Growth (APG) has announced plans for their 3rd Annual Positive Growth Banquet on Thursday, November 4, at L’Auberge Casino & Resort. The theme for this year’s event is “United for a Better SWLA.” The keynote speaker will be Joe Max Higgins, renowned powerhouse visionary and CEO of the Golden Triangle Development LINK. Higgins and his team revived a desolate three-county region of Mississippi after years of decline and economic depression. APG is an organization of professionals in the fields of real estate, development, construction and all other interested parties working together to promote strong, progressive growth in Southwest Louisiana. Proceeds from the annual banquet help APG support positive growth in Southwest Louisiana through a variety of initiatives. Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, seating capacity and ticket sales are limited to 25% of the event center capacity. The banquet will adhere to Louisiana's mask requirements for indoor events. The event begins with a social hour from 5:30 – 6:45 pm, with the program beginning promptly at 7:00 pm. Sponsorship opportunities and ticket purchase information is available at, emailing or by calling (337) 602-6788, ext 100.

Moss Bluff is

GROWING and so is

While some banks are closing, Lakeside is growing.

Our new Moss Bluff branch at 372 Sam Houston Jones Parkway will be opening this fall and we are excited to introduce Aimee Gilmore, who will be the Vice President – Branch Manager of this location. Gilmore is from Moss Bluff and is a graduate of Sam Houston High School. She brings 40 years of banking experience to her new position with Lakeside.

AIMEE GILMORE, Vice President – Branch Manager Moss Bluff Main Offi ffic ce & Oak Park in Lake Charles



Coming Soon! Moss Bluff



Money & Career

Don’t Fall for these Financial

TR ICK S It’s the rare person who doesn’t occasionally fall into some poor financial habits that can lead to potentially scary results. This Halloween make sure you’re not tricking yourself into a financial bind. Instead, treat yourself to greater security by reviewing these 10 personal finance “gotchas” and making any necessary changes. The results can be better than chocolate!

1) TRICK: Assuming your money is going where you want it to go

2) TRICK: Thinking a financial emergency won’t happen to you

You’re making ends meet, so you’re on top of your money right? Maybe not. Money has a sneaky way of slipping away if you’re not careful.

Unexpected expenses can creep up on you even if you’re young and healthy. A job loss? An accident? It may not happen, but it could—and it could cost you big time if you’re not prepared.

Treat: Instead of assuming,

create a budget. Start with two lists: your necessary monthly expenses and your nice-to-haves. Can you cover both with your income? If not, get out the red pen and start crossing off some of the extras. You don’t have to give them up completely, just save in advance. Then when you want to treat yourself, you’ll enjoy it even more knowing you’ve got it covered.


Treat: Build an emergency fund. Aim to cover three-to-six months of essential living expenses by setting aside cash in an easily accessible savings or money market account. You don’t have to do it all at once. Just make your emergency fund a line item on your budget, and save what you can each month until you reach your goal.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

3) TRICK: Confusing good and bad debt

4) TRICK: Not checking your credit score

Debt like a mortgage or a student loan that’s low interest, possibly tax-deductible, and is used for a potentially appreciating asset can actually work in your favor. That’s the good kind. Credit cards and other high-interest, non-deductible consumer debt? Even though it’s convenient, that definitely falls into the “bad” category.

A low credit score can have serious repercussions from higher interest rates and points on a loan to impacting your ability to rent an apartment—or even get a job.

Treat: Don’t charge more on

your credit cards than you can pay off each month. Create a plan to tackle any balances. Start by paying as much as you can on the highest interest debt, while always making at least minimum payments on the others. Work your way down until your credit card balances are paid off—and stay that way.

Treat: Go to annualcreditreport. com once a year to get a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Transunion). If you're in the low zone, there are positive steps you can take: pay your bills on time; keep your credit card balances low; establish a long credit history; minimize new credit requests; use different types of credit.

5) TRICK: Losing track of bank fees

7) TRICK: Under or over insuring

9) TRICK: Taking Social Security too early

ATM fees, account fees, foreign transaction fees—they can definitely catch you unaware. And they can add up quickly.

Saving on premiums may seem smart now but what’s the ultimate cost if you don’t have enough insurance when you need it? On the other hand, if you’re paying for insurance you don’t need, you’re also losing out.

You can file for Social Security as early as age 62, but that doesn›t mean it's the best choice for you. In fact, it could mean you'll collect considerably less over time.

Treat: Review your statements so you know exactly what you're being charged. If you›re unpleasantly surprised by the fees you're paying, talk to your bank. Still unhappy? Change banks. There are many no-fee options out there. 6) TRICK: Being complacent about retirement savings Don’t assume you’re okay just because you’re putting some money aside. With more people living into their 90s, there’s a real risk of outliving your money if you’re not prepared.

Treat: Crunch the numbers so you’re sure you’ll have the nest egg you want. If you're contributing to a 401(k), great—but it may not be enough. Use an online retirement calculator to help you figure out timing and how much to save each month. Get started early. And give yourself an extra edge by putting all your contributions on automatic. Consider working with a professional advisor to develop a personalized plan.

Treat: Don't jump to collect Social Security benefits earlier than you have to. If you file before what the SSA considers your full retirement age (FRA), your benefits will be permanently reduced. And for every year you wait past your FRA until age 70, you’ll get an eight percent increase. That can make a huge difference, especially if you enjoy a long life.

Treat: Check to ensure your

coverage and plans for medical, auto, homeowners/rental or disability insurance are still right for you. Be sure to take full advantage of all your employee benefits. And don’t be lured into buying unnecessary insurance for risks that you can handle more cost-effectively on your own (for example, pet insurance with lots of exclusions and high deductibles).

10) TRICK: Ignoring your estate plan

8) TRICK: Confusing saving and investing

You may have an estate plan in place, but when was the last time you looked at it? And if you don’t have one already, the trick could be not only on you, but also on your heirs.

Just because you have money in a 401(k) doesn’t mean that it’s invested. You have to take action to make your money grow.

Treat: Set up at least a basic estate plan, including naming a guardian for any minor children and an advance healthcare directive. Once you have a plan in place, be sure to review and update it periodically to reflect any significant life changes such as marriage, divorce or additions to the family.

Treat: Long-term investing in the

stock market is one of the best ways to grow your savings. The key is to invest in a diversified mix of stocks, bonds and cash that are appropriate for your time frame and feelings about risk—and never try to time the market or bet on a single stock. A 401(k) that offers target date retirement funds is one easy way to get started.

Retirement… Are We There Yet? Let’s Build a Plan.


Marty DeRouen CFP ®, CHFC ®, LUTCF Wealth Management Advisor Martin DeRouen, David Girola provides investment brokerage services as a Registered Representative of Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS), a subsidiary of NM, brokerdealer, registered investment adviser and member FINRA and SIPC. Martin DeRouen, David Girola is an Insurance Agent(s) of NM. Martin DeRouen, David Girola provides investment advisory services as an Advisor of Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company®, (NMWMC) Milwaukee, WI,

Unlike Halloween candy, these financial treats aren’t just a one-time indulgence. They can set you up with a sweet financial situation to savor for years to come.

David Girola CFP®, CLU® Wealth Management Advisor

a subsidiary of NM and a federal savings bank. There may be instances when this agent represents companies in addition to NM or its subsidiaries. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.


Home & Family

The Return of

Halloween With all the many challenges of 2020, Halloween was a bit of a non-event last year. But this annual fright fest is expected to be a good time this year with the return of time-honored traditions – pumpkin patches, hayrides, corn mazes, haunted houses, parties, trunk-or-treats and trick-or-treating with plenty of trending new costumes. So plan your best disguise and go have some spooky adventures. As every year, masks are encouraged!

s g n i n e p ha p CM Farms, Dry Creek, La.

Oct. 2 – Nov. 28 Saturdays in Oct., 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Sat. in Nov, 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Sundays 12:00 – 6:00 p.m. Admission: Ages 3+ $17 Pumpkins, 40+ attractions, 12-acre corn maze, farm animals and more

Almosta Ranch Fall Family Festival

Oct. 10, 1:00 p.m. Games, crafts, wagon & pony rides. You’re welcome to wear your costume and bring a bag/bucket to collect candy Purchase tickets at 56

Shangri La Gardens Scarecrow Festival Orange, Texas

Oct. 12-Nov. 6, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. FREE TIMED TICKETS available at Enjoy dozens of unique scarecrow contest exhibits, fall flowering displays, thousands of pumpkins, and autumn decorations displayed throughout Shangri La Gardens. The Autumn Fair takes place November 6.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

The following is a sampling of the numerous Halloween and Fall events you’ll find this year in Southwest Louisiana. At the time of publication, many organizations did not yet have details finalized.

Lake Area Runners Spooky 10K Run

Oct. 29, 7:00 p.m. Enos Derbonne Sports Complex, Lake Charles The area’s only cross-country event. Register by Oct. 15 to guarantee a T-shirt. For tickets, go to LakeCharles/LARsSpooky10k This will be an evening run. For your safety, headlamps are REQUIRED! The course will be well-marked with either glow sticks or reflective flags. Costumes are encouraged.

Light the Bluff, First Baptist Moss Bluff Oct. 31, 5-8 p.m. 276 Old Hwy 171, Lake Charles, LA

Hobo Hotel Halloween Raffle Tickets $3 Sold through Oct. 9 (day of drawing) at their facility: 650 E. School St. Lake Charles, 70607 Proceeds benefit cats and kittens in need.

s e h c t a p n i k p pu m and tru n k or trea ts Moss Bluff United Methodist Pumpkin Patch

Oct. 13-31 M-F 3:00-6:30 p.m., Sat. 9:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Sun. noon6:30 p.m. 735 Sam Houston Jones Parkway, Lake Charles Fall decor stations available for photography. Carving kits for sale. Proceeds benefit local charities

St. Luke-Simpson Methodist Pumpkin Patch

Oct. 5- 31, 2:00-sundown 1500 Country Club Rd, Lake Charles Pumpkins, story times, photo ops. Proceeds go to local and international mission projects.

Sale St. Baptist Church Trunk or Treat Oct. 31, time TBD 1611 W Sale Rd, Lake Charles

First Presbyterian Lake Charles Trunk or Treat

Harvest Community Center, Morganfield Oct. 31, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. 4590 Corbina Rd. Lake Charles Come see their new church location!

Many municipalities, churches, and other organizations host Halloween events. Please check in your area for other opportunities.

Maplewood First Baptist Church Trunk or Treat Oct. 31, time TBD 4501 Maplewood Dr, Sulphur, LA


Home & Family |


s k c i r T for a Safe Halloween by Kristy Como Armand

Halloween night is one of the most anticipated nights of the year for children, but also one of the most dangerous. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, on average, children are two times more likely to be killed in an accident involving a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other night of the year. Parents should be familiar with tips to help avoid unnecessary accidents and injuries. It is important safety comes first this Halloween. Jerry Pierrottie, Director of Safety and Operations for the Safety Council of Southwest Louisiana, says the most common injuries among children are falls, eye injuries, cuts and burns. “The good news is Halloween-related injuries can be prevented if parents closely supervise schoolaged children during trick-or-treat activities. The excitement of the night can cause children to forget to be careful. That’s why it’s important for parents to be aware of safety hazards and do everything they can to ensure safe enjoyment of Halloween activities.”

The Safety Council offers the following easy tips to ensure your celebrations are safe:

• All costumes, wigs, and accessories should be fire-resistant. Try to avoid dark colored costumes.

• Make sure your child’s costume fits properly to avoid safety hazards like slips, trips, and falls.

• A responsible adult should accompany all children when trick-or-treating.

• Trick-or-treat in well-known neighborhoods. • Consider alternatives like a Halloween party or community event.

• Carry a flashlight. • Get an early start while it’s still light out. • Stay on well-lit roads and visit well-lit houses. • Instruct your children to never enter a stranger’s home or car.

• Avoid short-cuts. Stay on sidewalks or on the side of streets.

• Add reflective tape to costumes and candy bags.

• If your older children are going alone, plan

and review their route, and agree on a specific time when they should return home. Tell them to always travel in a group and only go to familiar areas.

• Instruct your child not to eat any candy until

it has been examined by you. If the candy looks like it may have been opened, there are holes in the wrapper, or it looks or smells odd in any way, throw it out.

• If you are driving during Halloween, slow

down and turn headlights on earlier to spot children from greater distances.

If you plan to give out candy, make sure your visitors have a good experience at your house:

• Make sure your lawn is free and clear of any obstacles that could be tripped over in the dim light.

• Provide store-bought treats that are

• Children and adults are reminded to put

• Keep your home well-lit. • If you decorate with jack-o-lanterns use

in case of an accident.

electronic devices down and keep heads up. to wear makeup or face paint.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

or a pitchfork, make sure the edges are dull and your child carries it upright, not in the way of other children.

• Write a contact name and number on the bag

• Avoid masks that limit vision. Choose instead


• If your child is carrying a prop such as a staff

individually wrapped.

flameless candles and make sure they are out of the path of trick-or-treaters.

• Observe and respect the curfew set in place.

Boo! Halloween COVID-19 Precautions Halloween is one of the most anticipated holidays for many children, and most experienced a scaled down version last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Caution is still advised, but many local communities are planning to resume traditional trick-ortreating this year. According to family medicine physician Dr. Marissa De La Paz with Imperial Health, by taking a few added precautions, you can help your kids have fun and stay safe. “The two are not mutually exclusive. You can follow recommended guidelines for COVID-19 prevention by making some simple adjustments to your normal Halloween traditions. After the past 18 months, most kids are familiar with following these types of changes to their normal routines.” She offers the following recommendations:

by Kristy Como Armand

Continue to mask up.

Some children may be tempted to replace fabric or surgical masks with Halloween masks, but the fabric of Halloween masks may not be sufficient to prevent viral transmission. Don’t decorate protective masks. Some markers or paint could have solvents that would be directly inhaled by the child when wearing the mask. It could also be possible to inadvertently tear a disposable mask without noticing.

Keep it Local, Keep it Small.

This means staying within one’s local neighborhood and in small trick-ortreating groups. Ideally these groups should be built around the children’s pre-existing friend groups who they already spend time with.

Avoid gathering at doors.

Instead, think of lining up to get candy the same way most stores have set up check-out lines, with only one person at a time at the door. You can also get creative to create distance during candy distribution.

Slide candy down a tube or chute, use tongs to distribute candy or place grab-and-go goodie bags at the end of your driveway, or spaced out along the sidewalk for trick-or treaters to collect as they pass by.

Stay outdoors.

Having activities outdoors instead of indoors is an excellent way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, allowing for open air and social distancing.

Use hand sanitizer.

Bring hand sanitizer along for Halloween activities, and encourage use often, as they are likely to be touching their faces more than usual while adjusting their costumes.

Wash hands frequently. Have children wash their hands thoroughly at home before they start digging into their candy haul.


Home & Family |



Adult Halloween Costume Trends Find Inspiration in Pop Culture by Danley Romero

It’s probably safe to say that Halloween participation is an art form in and of itself. Costumes can function as modes of self-expression and can be trendy and new, or tried and true throwbacks. Sometimes they’re dark and gruesome, or often hilarious. Current pop-culture gems might be easily overlooked, so lest that happen when planning your spooktacular party, heres a selection of 2021’s top adult Halloween costume trends.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

Cruella de Vil

Cruella de Vil rocks quite a few great looks in the recent Disney movie, Cruella. If you happen to have dalmatians (or friends/children you can convince to dress as dalmatians), your costume gets even better.

Wanda & Vision or Loki & Sylvie

Super cute couples’ costume ideas for Marvel fans.


One of the great things about dressing as an Olympian is the variety and ability to pick someone you respect or admire. Who inspires you?

Jeff Bezos

Dressing as Jeff Bezos headed to outer space, decked out in a cowboy hat and space suit, would have made little to no sense a year ago, but this year it’s definitely an attention-getting option.

Harley Quinn

After the recent releases of Birds of Prey and Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn is certainly relevant this October. A bold and fun choice!

Emily in Paris

A perky beret and some practiced phrases in French are a great start for this one.

Bernie Sanders at President Biden’s Inauguration

Whether or not you agree with his politics, if you use social media much you’ve likely seen the memes that circulated after President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Ted Lasso

Jason Sudeikis plays Ted Lasso in this eponymous television comedy. Sure to inspire some mustaches this Halloween!

Social Media Influencer

A fun option that benefits from some creativity. Niche down on a platform, practice a persona, and make sure to snap lots of pics.

Bridgerton Characters

Netflix’s wildly successful Bridgerton series provides a vintage opportunity to dress as if you are living in the Regency era, while staying up-to-date and trendy.

Harry Styles

This man has so many great looks to draw inspiration from. And who wouldn’t want to be Harry Styles for a night?


Home & Family |


g n i v Li y r o t H is y r e t e Cem Tour

Celebrating Lake Charles When Michel Pithon was born in Beaufort, France in 1771, George Washington had just been elected to the first Continental Congress and the idea of the United States of America was just beginning to form. Michel was born to the aristocratic title of de Riviere just before the social and political upheaval of the French Revolution and when being an aristocrat could mean death. Michel was taken into the home of a man named Pithon who raised him and whose name Michel assumed. Michel Pithon became a personal friend of Napoleon and immigrated to America as a skilled physician. Two and a half centuries later, Michel’s name is still seen in Lake Charles on Pithon Street and Pithon Coulee. Michel Pithon will be the oldest figure portrayed in this year’s returning Living History Cemetery Tour, which brings culturally and historically significant figures to life in a one-night walking tour of local cemeteries. On Friday, November 5, from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.,


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

Chris Breaux as Samuel Kirby


larger-than-life figures like Toni Jo Henry, Rosa Hart, and Ralph Reynaud will tell their stories from the grave. There will also be “wandering spirits” who visit these cemeteries but perhaps died or are buried elsewhere. The Cemetery Tour began in 2018 by the Arts Council of SWLA as a way to educate the public about Lake Charles history, and it has become greater than the sum of its parts. The event brings a spotlight to historic sites that need care as well as historic figures who played a big role in the development of Lake Charles and whose names aren’t always on buildings and street signs. Four Lake Charles cemeteries will be featured on this year’s tour: Bilbo Cemetery on the Lakefront; Corporation Cemetery on Church Street north of I-10; Combre Memorial Park on Opelousas Street; and Sallier Cemetery on Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive. Ticketholders can visit these cemeteries for guided walking tours and listen to local actors dressed in period attire speak about their lives from across all time periods in the city’s history. The most recently passed figure to be on the tour is Judge Norma Holloway Johnson, who died in 2011 and rests at Combre Memorial Park. Judge Johnson was a trailblazer and the nation’s first African American woman to sit on a federal bench in Washington. At 23 years-old, she left Lake Charles for Washington, D.C. where

she enrolled in Howard University, then Georgetown University in 1962. President Nixon appointed her Superior Court Judge of the District of Columbia, and President Carter appointed her to the Federal Bench in 1980 where she served as Chief Justice from 1997 to 2001. Judge Johnson gained national prominence when she oversaw the grand jury investigation into President Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky. In addition to hosting the event, volunteers are also coordinating clean-up days throughout October to spruce-up the cemeteries that need some TLC. To sign up for a clean-up day or to volunteer at the event, email Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and free for children 12 and under (must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult) and can be purchased at www.CemeteryTourLC. com. The event is sponsored by Calcasieu Historic Preservation Society, Thrive magazine, and supported by a SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau Tourism Marketing Grant from the Lake Charles/SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau. Proceeds benefit the Arts Council of SWLA, which provides needed programs and events to support the arts in the region. To learn more, call the Arts Council office at (337) 439-2787 or email

Codie Lee as Anna Bilbo

a nd Where to go Who to see: Bilbo Cemetery, Veterans Memorial Boulevard • Nancy Ann Bilbo Reeves (18081908) • Toni Jo Henry (1916-1942) • Rosa Hart (1900-1964) • Robert P. Molden (1863-1921)

Mark Steward as Reginald Ball

Emily Ashworth as Nellie Lutcher

Corporation Cemetery, Church Street • Emma Avis (1846-1884) • Albert Jessen (1814-1883) • Judge David John Reid (18241881) and Mathilde Veazey Reid (1824-1895) • Ellen Claudia Lewis Wells (1839-1886) • Ann Smart Collins (1851-1908)

Sallier Cemetery, Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive • Michel Pithon (1771-1871) and Zora Pithon (????-1879) • Clara Pujo Barbe (1845-1923) • Judge Alfred M. Barbe (18781965)

Combre Memorial Park, Opelousas Street • Octavia Gibson Taylor (19241997) • Anonymous Hurricane Audrey Victim (????-1957) • Ralph C. Reynaud (1885-1969) • Judge Norma Holloway Johnson (1932-2011)
















The event is supported by a SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau Tourism Marketing Grant from the Lake Charles/SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau and matching funds from an anonymous donor. Proceeds benefit the Arts Council of SWLA, which provides needed programs and events to support the arts in the region.


Home & Family

Trends in Home Design


confidence that they’re dealing with an ethical and vetted business.

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of people familiar with the BBB Accreditation Seal are more likely to perceive the company as good*

who are familiar with BBB ratings are more likely to purchase from a business with an A rating or higher*

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After Hurricanes Laura and Delta last year, the need to BBB: This is why we are here repair, remodel, or rebuild altogether has given us unique or call our office for more information opportunities to rethink the 337.478.6253. way we’ve been doing things Better Business Bureau Serving Southwest Louisiana around the house. Many in our community continue to struggle in this re-do process. In this special section, you’ll find stories on how major hurricanes can result in new and improved building TRUST MATTERS. BBB Accreditation gives consumers practices, how architects and TRUST BBB Accreditation gives consumershome buyers are reconsidering confidence that they’re dealing with an ethical andMATTERS. vetted business. confidence thatconsumers they’re dealing with an ethical and vetted business. TRUST MATTERS. BBB Accreditation gives ideal floor plans, and ways to TRUST MATTERS. BBB Accreditation gives consumers who are familiar with TRUST MATTERS. BBB Accreditation gives consumers confidenceconfidence that they’rethat dealing with an ethical and vetted business. are more they’re dealing withBBB anratings ethical and vetted business. who are familiar with keep your home remodeling likely toethical purchase from confidence that they’re dealing with an and vetted business. BBB ratings are more projects within your financial a business with of people are who are familiar with likely to purchase from whoan are familiar with A rating or higher* familiar with BBB* budget. BBB ratings are a business with an of people are are more BBBmore ratings *Source: IABBB 2021 Consumer Survey


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*Source: IABBB*Source: 2021 Consumer Survey with the BBB AccredBBB Seal are more IABBB the 2021 Consumer BBB: This isSurvey why itation Seal are more likely to trust the we are here likely to perceive theis business is honest BBB: This isThis why we arewe here BBB: why are here orcompany call our office for more information and ethical* as good* or call our office for more information 337.478.6253. *Source: IABBB 2021 Consumer Survey 337.478.6253. call ouror office for more information BetterorBusiness Bureau Serving Southwest call our office for moreLouisiana information Better Business Bureau Serving Southwest Louisiana 337.478.6253. 337.478.6253. Better Business Bureau Serving Southwest Louisiana Better Business Bureau Serving Southwest Louisiana

BBB: This is why we are here

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

When Does a Home Remodel Make Financial Sense? No matter how much you love your house, there always seems to be something to improve. Over the past year and a half, with the ravages of a global pandemic and myriad storms giving us reasons to spend more time at home or the need to repair our homes, the remodeling industry has seen a corresponding increase in business. But can you afford a major overhaul? Whether you’re considering a minor upgrade, a major renovation or even an addition, it’s never an easy decision. There are financial and time considerations. And there’s also an emotional component. Your home isn’t just a practical space to put your stuff. To some people, a home represents stability and comfort. To others, it’s status or style. Many regard home improvement as an investment that will produce a return when they sell. For you, it may be all of the above. No matter how you look at it, your home is first and foremost where you live. So before you get serious about your plans, here are some things to discuss and decide.

What do you need and why? Be practical. Why do you want to enhance your space? More room to work? Better efficiency? Or is it to upgrade or modernize to create a different feeling? According to a 2019 National Association of Realtors (NAR) report, 32 percent of homeowners say the single most important result from remodeling is functionality and livability. Only 16 percent rate beauty and aesthetics as most important. How much of a remodel will it take to give you the functionality you want? Adding a room is a big financial commitment. A cosmetic remodel is usually far less costly but may not give you what you need. If you’re going to spend the money and time, be sure you’re going to get the result you want.

How will the remodel make you feel? Have you heard of the Joy Score? That’s how the NAR has homeowners rate their satisfaction with a remodel. According to the NAR report, a kitchen upgrade was rated a 9.7 on a 10-point scale. Converting a basement to a living space got a 9.5, while a simple closet renovation got a Joy Score of 10. On top of the utilitarian considerations, will your remodel make you happier to be home?

What will it cost? Here’s where emotion must take a back seat to facts and figures. Remodeling costs

vary depending on where you live. For instance, the average cost for a kitchen remodel in the U.S. is around $23,000—but in California it’s upwards of $80,000. You might want to check out an online remodeling calculator that offers estimates by zip code to get an idea of what you may be in for. A word to the wise: It’s estimated that nearly half of home renovations go over budget. So even if something sounds affordable, consider adding an additional 20 percent or so for project overruns.

How will you pay for it? While you may be able to cover certain things like appliances and materials from savings or put them on a credit card you can pay off quickly, what are your options for covering larger expenses? It’s best to avoid tapping into retirement savings. Since you own your home, you might consider a home equity line of credit (HELOC). HELOCs are generally lowinterest, and you only pay interest on what you actually borrow. Plus, under existing tax laws, the interest may still be tax deductible if your total home-secured debt is $750,000 or less and you’re using it to improve your home. A cash-out refinance is another option if you have enough home equity. With this type of loan, you borrow more than the principal balance of your existing mortgage, use the proceeds to pay off that mortgage, and put the extra money toward your remodel. However, this may be a more expensive option than a HELOC.

Don’t get in over your head. While today’s low interest rates can make borrowing against home equity attractive, calculate your debt load before you get in too deep. As a general rule, no more than 28 percent of your pretax income should go toward home debt and no more than 36 percent toward all debt. You may love your remodel now, but if you overextend, paying for it could cause financial pain later. Even more painful is if it keeps you from saving for other important goals.

Be realistic about getting your money back. If you regard a remodel as an investment, be realistic about potential return. Again, the NAR offers some insights. For instance, you might be able to fully recover the cost of refinishing hardwood floors, while a bedroom renovation might return far less. Unless you’re planning on selling right away, return on your money is probably the least important consideration. Only you can decide whether it makes sense for you to remodel, but carefully consider both the financial and emotional issues. It may sound simplistic, but if your remodel increases your everyday enjoyment of your home as well as its functionality, you’ll feel better about the cost.

Source: Schwab


Home & Family | Trends in Home Design

A Room of One’s Own

Re-Thinking your Home’s Floor Plan by Madelaine Brauner Landry

The Great Quarantine of 2020 found many Americans working, home-schooling, playing, cooking, reading, eating, and resting at, of all places, HOME! It was comforting to have our loved ones near, but never did we imagine we’d have to spend so much time together in one large, open space. Our homes are our sanctuaries; they are also the biggest investment most of us will make in our lifetimes. Prior to the lockdown, home was a place for busy comings and goings. Now, thought is being given to how we’ve been using certain spaces. Could the open floor plan become one of COVID-19’s unintended victims? Since the 90s, it has been popular to combine two or more of your rooms, without walls, to form a much larger living space. Reflective of our more casual lifestyles, the kitchen also emerged as the home’s activity center. Open floor plans offer easier traffic flow, a friendly gathering place, and entertaining options, as well as more flexibility for furniture placement—all desirable elements to consider when designing a home. How many devoted followers of HGTV have watched in glee as interior walls were brought down in older homes to create open spaces?


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

But therein lies the rub: Open rooms are open for everyone! Lack of privacy was the first weakness many observed during lockdown. It is challenging to balance Zoom meetings or conference calls when everyone is in the same room. If there is no door to shut while working or home-schooling, how can family members find the physical separateness they need to accomplish their individual tasks? Post-2020, has it become clear that one must have a “room of one’s own”? What then, does the future hold for open floor plans? Kim Salvador with Salvador Custom Homes in Lake Charles says the open floor plan concept is not likely to go away anytime soon because it provides a great layout for entertaining. However, if homeowners do desire extra space, there are creative options: “For someone looking for an extra quiet space without television, keeping rooms designed on a floor plan have become very popular. It’s a great way to have a secondary living space without the ‘annoying’ distractions of high-volume technology.” Keeping rooms first appeared in colonial times. Defined as common rooms used for multiple purposes, the trend is to incorporate them into modern home designs. One primary criterion is their location: always adjacent to the kitchen.

“Large kitchens with sizable islands are a must in modern homes. Farm sinks, marble countertops and chef-grade appliances are considered must-haves in new construction. Especially in the South, gathering in the kitchen area is common while meals are being prepared for holidays and family gatherings,” notes Salvador. “People love large kitchens. Period. Although there is no ‘wrong or right way’ to design a personal kitchen, the traditional ‘Kitchen Triangle’ (the work area that includes sink, refrigerator, and stove), has seemed to work very well for many years, and we believe it will for many years to come.” Another design trend cited by Salavador are larger closets and bathrooms. “We are noticing bedroom sizes decreasing while closet space and bathroom sizes are increasing. The more storage, the better. Floor-to-ceiling built-ins are becoming more and more essential in today’s closets.” “Additionally, many more people are incorporating outdoor living, which includes full outdoor kitchens and fireplaces. It’s a great way to retreat and take in some fresh air while grilling burgers and watching some Monday Night Football.” British writer Virginia Woolf, in her essay, A Room of One’s Own, stated: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Could it be Ms. Woolf inadvertently stumbled onto a modern design trend?


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Home & Family | Trends in Home Design

Built to Last Major Storms Can Affect Change in Construction Practices

by Angie Kay Dilmore

It often requires a catastrophe to bring about needed change. This fact can be demonstrated after major natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, and as we know all too well in Southwest Louisiana . . . hurricanes. Travis Manceaux, local builder and coowner of PERC Development LLC, has seen significant changes in building practices over the 20-plus years he’s worked in the construction industry. Most changes are made in response to the devastation caused by storms. But these modifications take time. “Most building codes that we’ve seen since the early 1990s came from Miami-Dade County, Florida from research facilities there as a result of the many storms they have dealt with, primarily Hurricane Andrew in 1992,” says Manceaux. “Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 prompted Louisiana to adopt those codes.”

The age of a structure, the materials used to build it, the techniques of the builders, and of course the intensity and track of a storm all affect how a building will fare in the face of calamity. From his experience, Manceaux says many of the older homes, for example those built in the decades prior to 1970, performed better during Hurricane Laura than homes built in subsequent years. “With older homes, the center match and shiplap (products used on the exterior of the home) are solid wood structures and thus more sturdy. From the 1970s to the early 2000s, homes were built from a cost efficiency perspective. They were generally not solid sheathed – no plywood or solid boards on the outside. Homes built in that era often had only Styrofoam insulation between the building’s studs and exterior vinyl siding, which was very popular at that time. Wind could easily blow into a home and lift the roof off the structure. When I first began working in this industry in 1997, we only installed plywood at the corners of the building, and that was simply an effort to keep things straight and give it some structural integrity.”

Much has changed since the hurricanes of 2005. Manceaux says builders now use blocking and strapping, which are methods used to interlock the home’s roof to its foundation. Roof decking (the sheeting under the shingles) used to be stapled on – now it is nailed. Shingles are secured with a greater number of nails. Builders employ better sheathing (exterior coverings) techniques. For example, fiber cement board, such as Hardie Plank, outperforms vinyl siding. But according to Manceaux, there’s an even better woodbased product on the market called LP SmartSide. “Just like we saw a decline in vinyl siding after Hurricane Rita, we’re going to see people getting away from other products that didn’t perform well during Hurricane Laura and move to newer products like Smartside. We built some apartments with this product, and they did not lose a single piece of siding during Hurricane Laura.”

continued pg. 70 68

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021



PASSION I EXCELLENCE I RELIABILITY I COMMITMENT Residential Services Home is where the heart is. With PERC Development and our Construction Services, you'll love the way your residence looks when we're done with the job.

Commercial Services Establishing a solid base of operations can be crucial for any business. PERC Development can provide the construction services your business requires acting as a General Contractor or through our construction management process.

Construction Management Under the Construction Management delivery system, PERC Development provides experienced leadership throughout the construction process including design review, scheduling, cost control, value engineering, constructability, estimating and project management.

1712 Ryan Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601 I 337.602.3958


Home & Family | Trends in Home Design

Built to Last continued...

Manceaux emphasizes that the techniques used to install construction products are more important than the products themselves. He gives the example of metal roofs that are hastily installed on top of existing roofing materials. They do not hold up well in a storm and can peel off in the gusts. “Installation and knowledge base of a product, looking at data sheets, the recommended fasteners, nails and nailing patterns are key. Many of these products will work, but only if installed properly.” The high costs of materials over the past year have influenced the way some homeowners have repaired or continue to repair their homes, but Manceaux attributes COVID-19 and the insurance companies as the primary influencers. “The high cost of materials stems from the economy shutting down due to the coronavirus pandemic, not only the storms. We saw it coming in May 2020. Insurance and their lack of willingness to pay for recovery has been the biggest hurdle. At some point, people become so beat down, they’re willing to accept whatever, and ultimately repair their homes with less expensive, inferior products.” Manceaux expects we will see changes in the construction industry due to Hurricanes Laura and Ida, but they will be subtle. “I think building inspectors will begin to recognize the proof that building codes do work and continue to enforce them. Often, we get new code information and act on it because it’s a new rule; but when you can see the results, and know that it works and it has proven itself, it’s easier to see compliance. Contractors will likely be held to a higher standard as a result of recent storms.” PERC Development manages their own quality control by monitoring their subcontractors to ensure the right products are being used and installed correctly. Manceaux says the best compliment he ever received came after a client bought one of their spec homes in 2018. “After Hurricane Laura, we got a Facebook Message from the client thanking us for building such a great home. They didn’t even lose a shingle. When you do things right, use the correct products and methods to install them, a structure can withstand storms and the test of time.” Manceaux’s pro tips – Beyond quality materials and proper techniques, home maintenance, such as termite control and general upkeep, is key to the home’s integrity. But no matter how well-built and secure your home is, evacuate in response to a major approaching storm. “You never know when something from a neighboring property might collapse on or crash into your building. It’s best to stay safe and out of harm’s way. We can assess the damage when we return. Protecting human life is the priority.” For more information, call PERC Development at 337-602-3958 or find them on Facebook.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021


for life


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

The Anniversary Effect We recently had a very important anniversary in SWLA. As the one year anniversary of Hurricanes Laura and Delta approached, many people began to experience disturbing feelings, thoughts or memories. Sadness, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and irritability were also commonly felt. This was all due to something called “The Anniversary Effect.” On the anniversary of traumatic events, whether they be weather events, deaths, or other major losses, you may have noticed you just don’t feel right. Sometimes, it is the other way around: you feel “off” with the symptoms listed above, and as you ask yourself what is going on with you, you remember the important date. The Anniversary Effect happens even when the upcoming anniversary wasn’t on your radar. Our brains are so amazing. They store painful and traumatic memories in an easily accessible way. When the anniversary of a traumatic event is about to occur, our brains let those memories and feelings come to the surface. This is an attempt to prepare us so we can avoid the same trauma happening again. I know I’m late with this information on the hurricane anniversary front (I think I was a little traumatized myself). But I also know we all have anniversaries of trauma in our lives. As you navigate those anniversaries and The Anniversary Effect, here are some things to consider: Cut down on media. Particularly if the trauma is related to a news-worthy story. The news and social media will be flooded with stories and images from the original event. I found this to be true with the 20th anniversary of 9/11. I watched long enough to feel I had paid homage, then I needed to turn it off. Social media is another outlet that can trigger trauma. Seeing your posts from the years before can bring it all flooding back. I feel like I walk a tightrope on this one – I get on social media briefly because I like seeing the memories, then I get off so I don’t dwell. Talk about it. Talking helps, period. Holding it inside does not help, period. Get together with friends to talk about what you all have been through and how you all have managed this past year.

Notice that last part – don’t get stuck in the trauma part of your story. Focus on the recovery part, and the fact that you are still here. If your trauma has to do with a death, talk to people who also knew your special person or who were a support for you during that time. Share memories, and hopefully be able to share some laughter. You will find that as the anniversaries add up, the laughter will come more easily. Remember, counseling is also a great way to “talk it out.” If you feel stuck in the trauma and are having a hard time moving forward with your life, it is probably time to get into therapy. Commemorate. While it is tempting to avoid thinking about the traumatic event that has happened to you, it can actually be quite helpful to purposefully spend some time on the anniversary directly addressing what happened. Visit the cemetery, make a donation to a related cause, plant a tree, or cook your loved one’s favorite meal. These are all great ways to honor what has happened in a healthy way. I always ask people what they are going to do to commemorate the anniversary. Many times they say they haven’t thought about it, so we stop right then and think about it. If you don’t plan to do something, you will find yourself at loose ends on a very important day, which could lead to setbacks. Remember, it is temporary. The Anniversary Effect tends to happen for many years, depending upon the severity of the trauma. However, it is usually fairly short: One to two weeks prior to the anniversary and one to two weeks after the anniversary. Typically, the first anniversary is the worst, and subsequent anniversaries tend to be less traumatic. I wish we didn’t have to deal with traumas and the Anniversary Effect. But, we do. It’s the price of living and loving. I really do believe Alfred Lord Tennyson has it right: “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”


S K IS R R U O Y KNO W Hard conversations are rarely fun, but often needed.

This is one of those conversations. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States and some may be at a higher risk due to genetic factors. Are you one of them? Approximately 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to known genetic mutations inherited from one’s mother or father. Improvements in early detection and screenings have led to a 40% decline in breast cancer deaths in the U.S. Scan the QR code to take our free online assessment to estimate your risk of developing breast cancer. Your score will be calculated and our Genetics Nurse Navigator will provide you with your confidential results. 72

Your Healthcare is Personal.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • October 2021

(337) 480-8949 Genetics Nurse Navigator

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