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W W W . T I M E S S W . C O M • J U LY 1 4 , 2 0 0 5 / V O L . 1 0 , N O . 1 4

Cover by Darrell Buck



JULY 14, 2005


COPYWRIGHT 2005 Dear Editor: We urge everyone in Calcasieu Parish to join us in support of the Magnet School facility for our parish by voting YES on Saturday, July 16. We are proud of the public education our adult children enjoyed in Calcasieu Parish and we have supported improvements for the education of our parish’s youth throughout the years. For us, this proposal will not only expand the educational options available to all students in our parish, but also it will improve our parish’s marketability as a site for job expansion and job creation. The Chamber/Southwest and the American Press have endorsed the proposal for just that reason. We are a family of many generations of graduates of our area schools. Ann’s mom, the late Inez Meyer Green Hall, graduated from Lake Charles High in the 1920’s. Lenn’s dad, the late Dr. Leonard Knapp, also graduated from Lake Charles High and later served on the Calcasieu Parish School Board. Lenn and his three siblings graduated from LaGrange. (Ann went to high school in Houston before she was wooed back to Southwest Louisiana.) Our children, Charlotte, Elizabeth, and Adam all graduated from Calcasieu Parish schools. Our family has been richly blessed by the fine education offered across all the generations. For us, supporting our parish’s system in this way is just one way we can give back something for the many benefits our family has received. We look forward to paying a bit more on our property tax bill – even though it comes along too late for our own children – because it is good for the parish we love. It’s this simple – the rising tide lifts all boats Please vote YES on Saturday!

Sincerely, Ann and Lenn Knapp To The Editor: I, as a REALTOR and Calcasieu Parish School Teacher in a previous life, would like very much to address the issue of forming a Magnet School System on the middle and high school levels. Education quality is a deep concern of many individuals relocating to our area and remains a very high priority for me. Last August I wrote a similar letter to each of our School Board Members. I addressed my views of the present school system and how a true Magnet School, on all grade levels, could accomplish more than simply provide a brighter future for our children. The expanded Magnet Program should receive the utmost priority that it deserves. I wish to take every step in assisting our School Board and Voters in taking this wonderful step into the future of Southwest Louisiana. Providing strong educational opportunities and proper atmosphere for individuals who are willing to commit to learning should be the #1 issue pursued by our School Board and the voters at this time. The #1 issue from 99% (+/-) of the individuals, with children or wishing to start a family in the near future, considering relocation to our area: "Please provide as much information on all the local schools as possi-


ble." The State Board of Education website, with its complete report card on all public schools within the State, offers a vast amount of data and links to additional information from which potential residents can make an educated decision. The family will study the data, ask input from local employees where they are anticipating employment, and decide which school they wish their children to attend. I have scheduled visits to schools, for some potential residents, prior to their relocation. The choice of school will usually determine where they wish to buy a home. Regretfully, some prospective employees decide not to come, due to the scores and national ratings. Some employees and their families, more often than I wish to remember, perceive that private schools would be necessary to obtain the level of education desired. The relocation could be turned down, if the salary increase was not sufficient to easily absorb the additional cost of a private education. Calcasieu Parish must drastically improve the education that it offers our youth. We cannot force this improvement across the board immediately, but we can accomplish the task one school or department at a time when the desire is from within the system. A magnet program provides a blueprint for others to follow. We developed a magnet elementary, T. S. Cooley Elementary, and ended up with 4 elementary schools in the top ten in Louisiana. This is not an accident and the same thing could happen with the middle school and high school levels. Schools and communities will compete in areas of learning as well as sports when the opportunity is provided and the accomplishments rewarded. T. S. Cooley (Magnet School), Prien Lake, Frasch, and W. T. Henning Elementary Schools, have wonderful things happening daily. What happens after 5th Grade for these students? We cannot put at risk what has taken 6 years to develop; a desire and ability to learn. We must have Magnet Schools for our youth at all ages. Only when this task is accomplished at all grade levels will we be able to broaden our vision to improve ALL SCHOOLS. Think of a Parish System where we had 4 of the top ten middle schools and high schools in addition to the top 4 elementary. We could even start to think of not only 4 or 10 of the best in Louisiana, but 4 or 10 of the best in the South and who knows where that might take us. Industries might consider our area because of our educational system rather than despite our educational system. Poverty will always remain the greatest hurdle to public education for the masses within a community. We must provide more jobs and we need industry on all levels to do this. We must develop and attract a more educated work force in order to move Southwest Louisiana forward. We must have a better educational system to develop and attract a more educated work force required by industry; setting up a scenario often called "Catch 22!" All area industries should respond in support of your endeavors and will if they truly understand how much affect this factor will have on the caliber of employees they will be able to develop,



attract, and maintain. Remember the # 1 question of individuals CONTEMPLATING relocation to Southwest Louisiana is; WHAT IS THE LEVEL OF EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY IN YOUR AREA? If an Industry is requested to increase the salary of its employees when relocating to Southwest Louisiana, but not alternate locations; we cannot win often. I hope this letter reflects my overwhelming desire to see continual improvement of our Parish Wide Education System. I hope its content will stimulate thought throughout the voting public beyond a single school and community. You may not have or know a child that you feel will be impacted by this issue, but it will touch you eventually as it impacts the future lifestyle of all Southwest Louisiana. Thank you for your time and consideration in publishing my views. Respectfully, Derenda S. Grubb, CCPS, CRMS, ABR, GRI, CRS REALTOR CENTURY 21 Bessette Realty, Inc. Letter to the Editor: I am a supporter of the proposed magnet school which will be voted on July 16 and as such I want to address many of the misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the facts so prevalent in the press today. The idea that the proposed magnet school is only for a select few is simply not correct. What sets the Calcasieu School of Excellence apart from other schools is that students will apply to attend and this school will have no racial or geographic boundaries. The Calcasieu School of Excellence is designed to meet the needs of the academically and artistically talented students of our entire parish. While students must meet the minimum academic standard grade point average of 2.5, this standard clearly includes the majority of junior and high school students in our parish today. Parish-wide transportation for students to the school campus will ensure that regardless of where you live in the parish you still have the opportunity to attend. Calcasieu Parish is very fortunate in that we continue to have a choice in our public school system. However, there are many students who want more than what is offered in area junior and high schools. The proposed curriculum of the Calcasieu School of Excellence shows numerous advanced placement and honor courses that are not offered at any other school in the area. Satellite courses that will be offered to outlying areas will consist of advanced college-preparatory courses not already offered in those schools. The proposed school will also be home to a comprehensive visual and performing arts program, which will fulfill requirements of a talented program mandated by state law. Calcasieu Parish currently does not meet those requirements. Seven out of the eight five-star schools in the state of Louisiana are based on a true magnet concept with students maintaining a specific GPA. One of the best examples of magnet school success is right here in our own back yard, T.S. Cooley Elementary

Magnet, the only 5-star school in our region of the state. The Calcasieu School of Excellence will provide parents with another choice of public school and could perhaps give SWLA their second 5-star school. I strongly urge everyone to take the time to find the truth before casting your vote on July 16. It is a vote that will literally determine the future of our community, and the future of our children. Renee’ Fruge’ Stump Dear Editor: I would like to voice my support of the proposed Magnet Middle and High School to be voted on July 16th. As a truly concerned voter of Calcasieu Parish, I am disheartened by the attempt to prevent the expansion of the magnet program in our area. T.S. Cooley, one of only a handful of five star schools in the state, should be reason enough to expand the program. T.S. Cooley continues to excel above all other elementary schools in the area, and many more in the state. So, why would we not want to extend that model, to a middle and high school level? The Magnet School would NOT be for the “select few” as some have stated. Actually, over 60% students parish-wide would meet the 2.5 grade point average requirement. That number hardly represents a “select few”. Also, do we not want the very best education available for all of the children in our parish? The opposition feels that the “advanced” curriculum currently offered by only a few high schools in the area is enough to challenge the minds of our young people. This magnet school concept is far more than anything our current schools, even the ones with college preparatory classes, have to offer! I personally experienced this sad fact when my family relocated, from another state, to the Lake Charles area. We chose one of the “top” schools in this area, and it paled in comparison to the education I had been receiving at my previous public school. Ten years later, the “advanced” courses offered at these same “top” schools, remain basically unchanged. Finally, no one likes to pay taxes, but paying them is necessary for any civilized society to build and maintain roads, governments, and in this case schools. There is no available school to kick other students out of, and as I am sure, everyone is aware of the already present, overcrowding situation in many of our schools. Everyone should also be aware that there is no immediate plan, by the school board, to build a “regular” public middle or high school. On July 16th, I hope the voters of our parish see this as far more than a pride issue or a tax issue and they see it instead, as an educational opportunity of a lifetime for children all over the parish. Christiane Irwin Lake Charles Resident

JULY 14, 2005


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George Swift and Donna Addkison look over plans for the new joint marketing effort for Southwest Louisiana.

Future Growth — No Longer Taking “No” For An Answer n days of old, boundaries were drawn, lines seldom crossed and, literally, you minded your own business. The big picture was limited to one’s own backyard. But the economies of the 21st Century require thinking on a regional scope and marketing on a global scale. This is why the old way of thinking is rapidly falling away to a new spirit of cooperation in Southwest Louisiana -- all of Southwest Louisiana -- from Allen Parish south to the Gulf and East to Lafayette. The Partnership for Economic Development, and the Chamber/SWLA, will formerly announce a joint effort by the Partnership and the Chamber to market the region, shortly after this issue of The Times is published. By combining their considerable resources and leveraging the talent of the region, they say we can make an impact on future growth. “We are going to pool private resources and leverage them,” explained Donna Addkison with the Chamber/SWLA. “When it comes to economic development, interested groups look at the big picture, the entire region. Big projects, big industries, big contracts look for communities that get along. Their perception and image of how we all work together is a very important part of their decision-making process. We’re doing everything we can so that folks can’t tell us ‘No!’” “Will be advertising in trade publications and at trade shows with a consistent message to brand SWLA,” said George Swift with the Partnership. “We are in the early stages of introducing all of Southwest Louisiana to the global market place. It’s an appropriate first step to combine our marketing efforts. Everybody gets credit and feels good, and we send out that all-important consis-


The Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau welcomes Tico Soto back as sales director. Formerly with the bureau for 5 years, Soto has returned to the area after workTico Soto ing as the international sales manager at the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau. Soto’s responsibilities will include managing the sales and services department, attracting tour operators and convention planners to the area, attending tradeshows and organizing sales blitzes in target markets to develop relationships that can turn into business for the local economy. Soto’s international marketing experience will help the Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau in their mission to attract more leisure travelers and group business to the area.

tent targeted message—that this is a good place to be!” Swift noted that, “We are combining resources available in this exciting marketing venture. There will be no duplication of messages or services, but a combining of resources. We will be building the image of all of southwest Louisiana and taking a specific new marketing image to targeted trade shows. We’ll use representatives from Partnership SWLA and the Chamber SWLA and the Visitor’s and Convention Bureau very efficiently to put together a message that will benefit the entire Imperial Calcasieu region…not just Lake Charles or Calcasieu Parish. They both emphasize what is rapidly becoming the mantra of this new way of thinking, “Economic development does not stop at city limits or parish lines,” Addkison says. Swift agrees, saying,” We realize that, as a region, we’ve missed some opportunities in the past. We lost bids for new industries or contracts and we need to catch up. To do that we are now building and strengthening relationships and coalitions. The Chamber and the Partnership, area police juries, elected officials in area cities and towns, and leaders in the public and private sectors realize that we may have five distinct parishes but we all have the same goal – growth.” Addkison likes to point out, “We may be rivals on the football field on Friday nights, but we are all on the same team when it comes to economic development! It doesn’t stop at city limits or parish lines.” Swift explains that funding for this joint marketing effort is made possible by a grant from The Chamber Foundation/SWLA.

Peter M. Stevens and Sandi Aucoin Broussard to Central Staff Directors at the Third Circuit Court of Appeal. Peter M. Stevens is the new Central Civil Peter M. Stevens Staff Director and Sandi Aucoin Broussard is the new Central Criminal Staff Director. Peter M. Stevens has been recently appointed Civil Staff Director for the Court of Appeal, Third Circuit, by Chief Judge Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux and the other eleven judges currently sitting on the court. Stevens will supervise Sandi Aucoin Broussard the central civil

Continued on Page 7

Continued on Page 7 JULY 14, 2005



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Future Growth, Continued from Page 5

“One way that private companies can get involved, as well as public agencies, is contribute COPYWRIGHT 2005 to the Chamber Foundation/SWLA,” says Swift. “This builds on an existing regional resource -- a base already laid down. We have the Chamber Foundation that can accept donations, so that businesses that want to help through charitable giving can do so. This excellent resource will make it possible for the Chamber/SWLA and the Partnership of Economic Development to market in a collaborative manner.” The Partnership will encourage businesses in the five parish area to make contributions to the Chamber Foundation/SWLA since it funds the grant that will market the entire region. “There’s no duplicating of efforts, scattering of resources or missed opportunities,” explained Swift. “Just a coordinated effort in marketing.” “It’s the best use of public and private resources to get the objective focused,” says Addkison. “For the public and private sectors, it will be a marketing plan for all of SWLA.” The SWLA Visitor’s and Convention Bureau also figures into this collaboration. “We are going to target the Houston market,” Swift says. “We will work along side the Visitor’s & Convention Bureau for their annual Houston Blitz each autumn. We’ll pull in players from all five parishes. There’s lots of potential for businesses there that could expand here. We already have close ties with Houston because of the ports and petrochem industries. We just need to focus and collaborate on our sales calls and trade shows to market southwest Louisiana.” Addkison concurs, adding. “We will also work with the State Department of Economic Development. When consultants come to our area to look at sites and evaluate our communities for new opportunities, we will be able to utilize our new marketing materials, videos, brochures and trade displays. This is a major first step to get private and public interests together to market the area.”

Industrial Construction Maintenance Energy Services Pipeline

Who’s News, Continued from Page 5

staff attorneys and oversees timely disposition of certain civil filings with the appellate court. Additionally, along with the Criminal Staff Director, Stevens will serve as Central Staff Director in the absence of the director. Sandi Aucoin Broussard has been recently appointed Criminal Staff Director of the Court of Appeal, Third Circuit by Chief Judge Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux and the other judges on the court. Broussard is responsible for the daily administration and supervision of the criminal staff, which consists of two senior research attorneys, nine staff attorneys, and support personnel. Additionally, along with the Civil Staff Director, Broussard will serve as Central Staff Director in the absence of the director.

Lynn Jones


Lynn Jones marked his first year as Calcasieu Parish Clerk of Court. Jones achieved many of the goals that were set during his first year in office. Jones calls the Clerk of Court's website "our signature jewel". "We feel it's the best in the state. It is filled with helpful and useful information about our departments and the services we provide. Users will see something new on a weekly basis," Jones said. "We have more than 1300 users in 35 states viewing our records via the internet," he added. Other notable information on the Clerk of Court website ( include residential home sales, Criminal Docket priority list, sample ballots, candidates who qualified to run for public office, election results, living will forms and information, marriage license applications, and much more.

Matt Redd and Andrew Vanchiere earn CCIM certification. Redd Properties, LLC announces the CCIM, Certified Commercial Investment Member certification of Matt Redd and Andrew Vanchiere. This designation recognizes commercial real estate agents as experts in the fields of commercial and investment real estate. To earn this designation a real estate practitioner must complete a series of four core classes, a resume of closed transactions and/or consultations showing a depth of experience in the commercial investment field and then successfully complete a written Matt Redd examination. Matt Redd has been a real estate broker for eight years and opened his own company in 1998. Andrew Vanchiere is a real estate investor for over four years and has been a commercial agent since April 2004. Redd Properties is located in Sulphur and provides real estate, property management, and construction services throughout the five parish area. Andrew Vanchiere

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Women and Children’s Hospital recently installed innovative medical imaging equipment, a state-of-the-art nuclear medical imaging device called the Millennium MG, manufactured by GE Healthcare. The dual-head nuclear medicine camera provides imaging of trace amounts of internal bleeding, small tumors, or kidney obstructions. If anything is wrong internally, the GE camera with SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) capability may help identify the problem and provide early detection. “The advantage of nuclear medicine over other types of imaging is that it shows how the body works versus how the body looks,” says Douglas Burnette, MD, radiologist and Radiology Medical Director at Women & Children’s. Acquired in April 2005, this new camera is useful in imaging multiple organ systems in the body including the heart, brain, lungs, liver, urinary tract, and bones, and has the capability of localizing tumors and infections. For more information contact Women & Children’s Hospital, 475-4102. Commercial Realtors of Southwest Louisiana will present “Taking the ‘Wet’ Out of Wetlands,” Thursday, July 21, from 8:00am - 1:00pm at the 5th Floor, Hibernia Tower. The goal of the seminar is to educate realtors, real estate investors, attorneys, the general public and all of those associated with wetlands development on the correct processes and steps involved in identifying wetlands property and how to utilize it for development and real estate investment. Registration is $50.00 per person and $35.00 for realtors. The seminar is sponsored by Hibernia National Bank. For more information, contact the Southwest Louisiana Board of Realtors at 478-9717. Healthcare professionals at CHRISTUS St. Patrick School Based Health Centers will be hosting a free community seminar on how to effectively deal with teenagers on Thursday, July 28, beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Garber Auditorium, located on the corners of South Ryan and Foster Streets. The seminar will feature local Licensed Professional Counselors Scott Riviere, MS, LPC, RPT-S, and Ray Melerine, MA, LPC., and will concentrate on understanding common parenting mistakes, as well as effective techniques for transitioning your teenager into adulthood. Participants will learn how to communicate, as well as encourage independence, and identify the signs of drug and alcohol abuse. Seating is limited. Call CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital toll-free at 1-888-72BWELL, extension 358, or log on to


One of the best ways to learn about the vibrant, growing community of Graywood is to just browse around. And if there’s a mouse in your house, it’s now easier than ever. Our website highlights available properties and homes, recreational facilities, community activities, future developments and more. Feel free to email questions or request information about any aspect of the community. And when you’re ready for an even closer look, contact Flavin Realty for a personal tour and sales information. Be a Browser:

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Tax Defeat Is Blessing For Blanco he failure to increase the tobacco tax to fund a teacher pay raise outweighed the Blanco administration's meager accomplishments in the legislative session. But the defeat of the tax could have been worse for the governor. It could have passed. Certainly the $3,300 pay raise over two years, boosting salaries to well above that of neighboring states, would have been great for teachers and the state's national image. It would have demonstrated a strong commitment to public education and thus aided the governor's business recruitment efforts. But the quadrupling of the cigarette tax in a budget already swelled by $1.2 billion in new money also would have undermined the governor's credibility on fiscal matters and eroded the political support among voters she needs for re-election. Kathleen Blanco started on the right track before the session when she envisioned a smaller tax hike for smaller pay raises within a tight budget. That plan could have worked with little adverse political fallout. But when the world changed, when revenue projections leaped in May, she both fattened the budget and the pay raise proposal and pressed lawmakers for the full $1-per-pack hike on cigarettes. Having just presented a leaner budget accompanied by little parables about families living within their means, she could not convince the public or enough legislators that a pay raise could be managed from the new revenue without a tax. She had a big idea. She swung for the fences. She struck out. There is no joy in Blancoville or the classroom, but there is hope. Legislators roundly predict that, barring a collapse of oil prices, revenue projections will be revised higher again sometime in the fall. Then Blanco can call a special session before the year is out to appropriate a taxless pay raise. Had the governor succeeded in ramming through the tax increase and then to have more money recognized a few months later, smokers would not have been the only ones fuming. As it is, Blanco's failed tax quest cost her converts among conservatives who did not vote for her but had warmed to her economic development efforts and the fiscal restraint she showed in her first year in office. She can win re-election without them, though it would be another close race. She can less afford to lose votes she won in 2003 among lower middle-class rural whites who happen to smoke. They might forget or forgive what she tried to do to them, but not had she succeeded in taking an extra


dollar from their wallets with every pack they would buy between now and the next election. The re-invigorated Republican Legislative Caucus claims credit for blocking the tax attempt, but their victory is somewhat hollow. How much better it would have been for them for Blanco to have succeeded in raising taxes over their strenuous objections. A higher tobacco tax would have a minor impact on GOP constituents compared to a business or income tax. Because the governor folded, there was not even a record vote that Republicans could use to beat up Democrats in the next election. Sure, they can say that Blanco tried to pass a tax, but that hasn't the same ring to it.

“There is no joy in Blancoville or the classroom, but there is hope.” Also, the gains the Republicans made as an effective and influential caucus will be difficult to maintain without the rallying cause of a tax fight. The tax campaign consumed the governor's energy and options, forcing her to bargain, barter and grovel for two-thirds majorities. She had to coddle Democrats to hold their support and accede to more spending that she might otherwise have squashed. If she doesn't try to raise taxes again, Blanco can maneuver more easily and get back to adopting conservative positions that co-opt Republicans. At this time, all of the above may be cold comfort to the former schoolteacher who tried her very best (more than the teachers tried) to reward her old classroom colleagues. If the economy cooperates, however, their raise will come without the tax baggage for her. If, two years from now, she can look back on this week as the nadir of her term, she will probably win another one.


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Cookin’ Up Success! By Kelly Roberts Duff y sister, Sara, is a gumbo guru. No matter where she goes, if there is gumbo on the menu, she is going to test Pat’s of Henderson it in her quest to find the ideal concoction. From upscale posh to down and dirty dive, she enters every encounter with the hopefulness of a child at Christmas. Since we travel together quite a bit, she has even dragged me in on this insane odyssey, which usually ends in disappointment because it is very difficult to find the perfect gumbo in Crested Butte, Colorado or Key West, Florida. Hello, we are Louisiana girls. We need look no further than our own great state for delectable dishes like gumbo and fried…well, anything. For me, my journey to a perfect bowl of gumbo beyond the kitchen of my own mamma ends at Pat’s of Henderson in Lake Charles. Readers of The Times seem to agree with my theory. They have voted Pat’s “Best Of” in several categories since 1998, including the almighty Best Gumbo. These honors come not only from a passion for good food, but also a family commitment to service and tradition. For the Huval/Perioux family, this wonderful legacy began way back in 1948, when Agnes and Pat Huval opened the original Pat’s of Henderson in Henderson, Louisiana. Ricky Perioux was just a sophomore in high school when he began dating Nancy Huval, his wife of thirty-three years. Shortly thereafter, he started working for Pat and Agnes at their family restaurant cleaning tables, working as a cashier, and eventually managing the Henderson location. And the rest, as they say, is history. I had a little bit of trouble pinning Ricky down for an interview. After speaking with him (he has a beautifully rich Cajun accent that is as thick as his gumbo) I quickly understood why. He is an extremely busy guy. Although I had never met him before this, I recognized Pat’s is made to order except the gumbo and etouffee, which are both cooked fresh him immediately. On various occasions he has seated me, poured water for me, and and cooled and then reheated in smaller batches. even taken my money at the register when I have had the pleasure of dining at Pat’s. I If you are a frequent patron of Pat’s, you are familiar with the sea of pink chiffon think it is safe to say that I have never been in the restaurant when he was not there and penguin suits that flock to the restaurant for every prom and homecoming in the actively overseeing things. I did not get to meet the rest of his family but I am pretty area (my baby sister, Nicki, was traumatized when she celebrated her prom at Pat’s sure I would have recognized them as well. only to loose a fake nail in her gumbo and for fear of embarrassment in front of her With days that begin as early as 7:00 in the morning and end after closing and date felt compelled to continue eating). Ricky attributes the popularity of his place for cleanup, it is obvious that one vital key to the success of Pat’s is the investment of such events to the fact that he can accommodate large groupings. Kids come in and time and energy that Ricky and his family put forth. Nancy and Ricky have four chilwant to sit twenty people at a table, which is no problem for this restaurant that is dren who have all had some part in the family affair. Kaysha, thirty, and Nicholas, accustomed to handling large crowds. In fact, hardly a day goes by that they do not twenty-six, are both actively involved on a daily basis and plan to continue in their have some sort of private function going on including business meetings, rehearsal parents’ footsteps. Natalie, twenty, attends LSU and works at the restaurant during dinners, banquets, and parties which they can provide a special menu for. Recently, school breaks. Lucas, eighteen, is a high school senior and works part-time while Pat’s even added wireless Internet access to the main dining rooms to oblige the busigoing to school. Dedicated employees are also a big plus when operating your own ness crowd. business. Menola Zeno and Willie “Belle” Marks have been with Pat’s from the Aside from spending just about every waking moment doing what you really love beginning creating those wonderful dishes in the kitchen, and Ricky was quick to sing to do, what is the most difficult part of running your own restaurant? According to the praises of these two ladies. Amen to that! Ricky, keeping good staff is a very tricky task. There is a lot of turnover and he Pat’s of Henderson got its start in the Lake Charles area in 1978, when Pat Huval spends a great deal of time interviewing for new employees just about every week. decided to lease a space in the old Chenault Building. At the time, it was known as Maybe I should quit my day job and go after more secret recipes. I wonder if I could the “Officer’s Club”. In October of 1979, Ricky had the opportunity to buy his fatherget paid in fried shrimp? in-law out locally and jumped at the chance to try his hand at being a restaurateur. Deciding to branch out even further, Ricky and Nancy purchased property in 1981 and by 1982 they were up and running in their current location. Ricky designed much of the building himself while Nancy tended to the overall décor. While initially built with a colonial theme in mind, through renovations and redecorations over the years it The Times’ newest column, Southwest Louisiana’s Homegrown Businesses, is dedihas taken on a more New Orleans flare. My favorite feature, aside from those great cated to featuring successful businesses, like Pat’s of Henderson, that began and are swings that line the front porch, is the tin ceiling in the dining area. still located in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, or Jeff Davis parishes under What’s the best selling item on the menu? Well, duh, the gumbo…and the seafood the management of the original owners and/or their family. Recommendations for the platters, and the steak. The steak? Have you ever had a steak at Pat’s? Since my huscolumn will be accepted online only at band is not a lover of the seafood, I had the opportunity to taste the steak one day (otherwise I would have never ventured away from my beloved fried shrimp). It was an awesome cut of beef swimming in this “secret” sauce that requires extra bread to sop up the remains. Yes, I did finagle the recipe out of Ricky and no that is not the only reason I did the interview! I also like how they bring out a sample plate of the fried catfish nuggets. It really whets the appetite for the feast. Almost everything at


JULY 14, 2005



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Whitney Bank is a proud sponsor of the Imperial Calcasieu Top 50.


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The annual ranking of Southwest Louisiana’s largest privately held businesses his is the 10th Annual Times of SWLA list of the Imperial Calcasieu Top 50. Last year, in an effort to encourage more businesses to participate in our Top 50 survey, we asked business leaders if they were reluctant to give out specific revenue figures for 2004, to indicate their range of revenue on a chart. This year, to our surprise, many companies, especially those in the top ranges, opted for actual revenue figures indicating they wanted to return to a numeric ranking. This posed a slight problem for the Times. Last year we merely listed companies within each range in alpha order. This year, especially in the top revenue ranges, the majority of companies gave revenue figures and wanted to be ranked. So we have revised this year’s rankings to reflect the Top 10, based on actual revenue figures. Then we continued the report in revenue ranges with companies listed in alpha order. We hope this compromise is agreeable to all. The Top 50 ranking is based solely on research by The Times and reports submitted by area privately held businesses who wished to be included in the survey. Some companies who were previously among the Top 50 opted to not participate this year. Other businesses decided to submit information for the first time. The Top 50 are ranked by the most fundamental barometer of business success -- gross revenues in the past calendar year. Revenues in every case were reported by the owner or principal in the business, which must be headquartered in the Imperial Calcasieu parishes of Calcasieu, Cameron, Allen, Beauregard or Jeff Davis. All of these businesses are private companies. While a number of the companies serve the petrochemical or timber industries in the area, many of the plants themselves are owned by national or international concerns. Similarly, many financial institutions are either owned by larger companies elsewhere, or — in the case of locally headquartered banks — there is a public market, however limited, in the stock of the banks. Savings and loans are mutual associations and thus also ineligible. Because of the sky-rocketing price of oil, petrochemical related industries posted large gains this year. Very few of the Top 50 took big hits, although once the numbers were in, there was quite a bit of shuffling among the top 20 companies, reflecting the increase in oil prices. Also of interest is the number of companies that increased not only revenue, but numbers of employees – another economic indicator with significant impact on the five-parish area. The Top 50 issue of the Times and an August luncheon at the Lake Charles Country Club honoring the Top 50 is sponsored each year by Whitney Bank.


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The Top Fifty

Business Name

Business Type


Number of Employees

Year Founded

Central Crude Amerisafe, Inc Navarre Chevrolet

oil and gas insurance auto dealership

Lake Charles DeRidder Lake Charles

85 460 280

1974 1985 1982

steel fabrication building materials

Sulphur Sulphur

170 660

1978 1946


Superior Supply & Steel Stine Lumber Co


Talen's Marine & Fuel Martin Automotive Group

marine fuel and supplies auto dealership

Lake Arthur Lake Charles

135 110

1970 1966


Southwest Beverage Solar Supply Corp Pumpelly Oil Cameron Communications

wholesale beverage distributor air conditioning bulk gasoline telecommunications

Lake Charles Lake Charles Westlake Carlyss

158 205 95 136

1954 1954 1951 1928


AllStar Pontiac GMC Bubba Oustalet Lee-Dee Wholesale LEEVAC Industries Mark Dodge R & R Construction

auto dealership auto dealership wholesale food shipbuilding auto dealership construction

Sulphur Jennings Lake Charles Jennings Lake Charles Lake Charles

79 95 26 240 65 600

1987 1952 1946 1964 1997 1995


Alfred Palma, Inc. Bessette Development Dunham Price Group Kite Brothers Port Aggregates

construction construction cement contracting RV sales limestone & cement

Lake Charles Lake Charles Westlake DeRidder Lake Charles

140 120 125 30 93

1986 1982 1939 1961 1979


Gray Nissan Ford Mercury Lake Charles Auto Auction Lake Charles Diesel, Inc. McDonald's of Lake Charles Miller Livestock Markets R&R Auto Sales The Rush Companies Thermoplastic Services Group Industrial Equipment & Engineering

auto dealership auto auctioneers diesel sales retail food livestock sales used auto dealership retail sales & services plastics manufacturing heat exchange

DeRidder Lake Charles Lake Charles Lake Charles DeQuincy Lake Charles Oakdale DeQuincy Sulphur

47 21 54 530 30 12 135 42 100

1965 1991 1946 1972 1962 1984 1966 1993 1966


Century Group Gulf Island Shrimp Health Systems 2000, Inc J & J Exterminating Kennison Forest Production Levingston Engineers OilQuip Inc. O'Neal's Feeder Supply

cement fabrication seafood health care services pest control wood and wood products design engineering oilfield equipment feeds and fertilizers

Sulphur Lake Charles Lake Charles Lake Charles Sulphur Sulphur Lake Charles DeRidder

88 90 255 180 7 185 45 60

1946 1998 1994 1959 1980 1961 1967 1953


Calcasieu Mechanical Contractors Eagle Electric Machinery French Market Foods Honda of Lake Charles Northfork Enterprises Russell Stutes Construction Sabine Pools & Spas Southland Coins & Collectibles Unibill

construction services motor repair Cajun specialties Honda sales & service electrical contractor home construction pool construction retail sales billing services

Lake Charles Sulphur Lake Charles Lake Charles Westlake Lake Charles Lake Charles Lake Charles Lake Charles

60 26 60 17 50 40 72 3 19

1988 1989 1998 1986 1954 1979 1975 1987 1997


Cycles & More Johnson Funeral Home

cycles & ATVs funeral services

Lake Charles Lake Charles

11 28

2001 1975



The Top Fifty

COPYWRIGHT 2005 list. With crude oil prices skyrocketing, MORE THAN $150 MILLION CENTRAL CRUDE, INC. Employees: 85

Last year, Steve Jordan, CEO of Central Crude, predicted that the company would gross $240 to $250 million. He was only off by $13 million. With gross revenues in 2004 of $263 million, Central Crude easily stepped up to the number one spot on our Steve Jordan

companies like Central Crude are in the right place at the right time. According to Jordan, “We are the tail that wags the dog! As independents, we can go into areas that are considered ‘marginal producers.’ The big companies don’t find those areas viable to continue drilling in because of economies of scale. But we can go into smaller, partially depleted fields and get the last drop out of the barrel!” They’ve found producers in 4 new wells in Cameron Parish in the last three years. Additional explorations west of Denton, Texas have also paid off. Central Crude, Inc. was founded in 1974 and now includes sister companies Louisiana Tank and Jordan Oil. AMERISAFE, INC. Employees: 460

DeRidder-based insurance company, Amerisafe, reported revenues of $249 million and a stable employment level for 2004. Their service area spans 31 states. The company was founded in 1985, expects continued steady growth. Amerisafe emphasizes working with their clients to prevent workplace injuries. Technology allows for efficient and competitive provisioning of information and services to their clients.


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Sponsored by Whitney Bank BILLY NAVARRE CHEVROLET HONDA HYUNDAI Employees: 280

Navarre Chevrolet came in as the top car dealer in Southwest Louisiana again this year, with revenues at $150,000,000. With GM cutting back on GMC, Pontiac and Buick dealerships, Chevrolet looks to grow even stronger in 05-06. Navarre says the future looks bright. Chevrolet is introducing new products, including the HHR, Impala, Monte Carlo, SS Trailblazer, SS Malibu, and Z06 Corvette. Hyundai has been setting records the last 5 years and has eight new products premiering in the next 18 months. Honda just introduced a new truck and the all-new Civic will arrive in showrooms in September. Navarre says that 2005 may just turn out to be the best year ever in their 23 years in business.


Revenue at Superior Supply & Steel was up 40% in 2004, kicking it up to a whole new level on the Top 50 list. What changed? According to Paul Lancaster, VP

of Business at Superior Supply & Steel, the “very robust economic conditions…There are many, many large capital projects under construction not only locally but all over our entire marketing area…Rig day rates are at an all-time high, many new projects are already announced for future years – LNG plants, new ship and barge builds, rig upgrades, etc.” Superior Supply & Steel is headquartered in Sulphur and services the Gulf Coast, Midwest and Central United States as well as Nigeria, Venezuela, Brazil and Mexico. STINE LUMBER COMPANY Employees 660

Stine Lumber Company, Louisiana’s largest independent building materials dealer, just opened a 140,000 square foot building in Lake Charles – the largest of their ten stores in Louisiana and Mississippi. They are now in the process of replacing their Abbeville facility with a 120,000 square-foot drive-through lumber yard. To staff their new facilities, 120 new employees were hired this past year. An eleven million dollar increase in gross revenues also moved them up a level on our Top 50 list. Truly a local success story, Stine’s has remained family owned and operated since J. W. Stine started his little lumber company in Sulphur in 1952.


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R&R Auto Sales wants to thank Southwest Louisiana for making them the #1 used car dealership in Southwest Louisiana. They also want to thank all of the residents of this great community who have helped them earn the great reputation and successful name that they have today. It has often been said that “Business goes where it’s invited and stays where it’s well treated.” That accounts for the success and popularity of R&R Auto Sales located at 101 W. Prien Lake Rd. in Lake Charles, phone 478-5100 or toll free 1-800-696-5101. This well organized and very reliable car dealership delivers quality, integrity, and hassle free business, which we all know is what makes any visit to any car dealership a pleasant one. R&R Auto plans to keep up their great reputation in the future by offering the same one-on-one service that they have done in the past. Also R&R Auto will strive to keep up the great effort and support of their professional sales force with over 80 years of combined experience in the car business.


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JULY 14, 2005

The Top Fifty


Gayle’s Hardware Est. 1902


“100 Years of Family Service” Crawfish Cooker Burners Regulators Galvanized Trash Cans & Tubs Buckets Hoses

Old Smokies Barrel Pitts Pipe Cut To Fit Threading Cypress Swings Gliders Chairs

Sausage Maker Meat Grinders Nut Crackers Cast Iron & Stainless Cookware Turkey Fryers Roux Spoons

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Founded in 1970, this Lake Arthurbased company is becoming a major player along the Gulf coast from Mississippi to Texas. Talen’s delivers fuel, lubricant and services to the oil and gas industry, and marine and inland fuel consumers at convenience stores, aviation-oriented businesses, utility companies, and inland oilfield drilling rigs. Talen’s reputation for customer service has also increased their customer base and sales volume. In one year revenues increased by $35 million and their workforce grew from 112 to 135 and the company is expanding to include 2 new docks and additional service lines.

Malt beverage distributor Southwest Beverage posts steady growth each year, keeping them in the top ten. They now serve 11 Louisiana Parishes; the Imperial Calcasieu plus Vernon, Sabine, Avoyelles, Rapides, Evangeline, Grant and the City of Eunice. According to Ben Marriner, President of Southwest Beverage, “The nearterm future looks good for our trade area. Lake Charles and Alexandria areas expect employment growth…Leesville area is secure due to Fort Polk.” Although delivery costs are increasing (fuel and labor) in a stagnant marketing, Southwest Beverage is countering with efforts to bring efficiencies into their delivery service system. The company was founded in 1954.

Revenues were up for Martin Automotive Group last year. A rapidly growing commercial business is what Martin Automotive credits with their growth in the highly competitive new car and light truck market. Large orders for vehicles for national clients are boosting their commercial business along with the national economy. Martin Automotive sells and services not only Pontiac and GMC vehicles, but also Freightliner and Sterling. Martin Automotive Group, locally known as Martin GMC Pontiac, the oldest GMC dealer in Southwest Louisiana, established in 1966 by patriarch and board chairman Ed Martin.

(Next to Pappy’s)



TALEN’S MARINE & FUEL Employees: 148


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SOLAR SUPPLY Employees: 205

Solar Supply is an air conditioning and heating distribution company that operates over 50 branch locations in the five-state area of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas and Alabama. They opened three new sites in 2003 and two more in 2004. Revenue is up five percent over last year and business is up 10 percent, because of a good economy, said Ron Dingler, President of Solar Supply. Solar Supply began 51 years ago and their corporate offices are in Lake Charles.

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The Top Fifty PUMPELLY OIL Employees: 95


Pumpelly Oil moved up a range to round out our Top 10 this year. Their revenues for 2004 were $54 million and they took on 20 new employees. According to Glenn Pumpelly, president, revenues were up, in part, due to higher prices of petroleum products. Pumpelly Oil also acquired two neighboring distributors toward the end of 2004, which further increased their volume which was already up 10%. “High prices of our products are our biggest concerns,” said Pumpelly. “Further consolidation and reorganization among petroleum distributors will continue to benefit us,” he states. Pumpelly Oil, headquartered in Westlake, was founded in 1937 and serves customers in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Bubba Oustalet Automotive Group experienced moderate growth in 2004, selling and servicing Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Toyota, Chevrolet, and Cadillac products. The family-operated business offers the same quality service which has come to be associated with the Oustalet name for 109 years. In 1896, family patriarch Emile Oustalet opened a wagon manufacturing plant in New Orleans and built his success on customer satisfaction. Today, Bubba Oustalet Automotive Group credits their success to that same attention to customer service. Oustalet Automotive has serviced a five-parish area from their headquarters in Jennings since 1952.


Cameron Communications is a familyowned local exchange carrier providing telecommunications to over 13,000 residents and businesses in southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas. Changes in technology, government regulations and market conditions affect the telecom industry daily, but Cameron has added to their revenue stream by pursuing data and video in new and existing markets, bundling services for cost effectiveness. In 2004, Cameron Communications deployed a large-scale fiber optic network in Grand Lake, providing high-speed internet, digital television and telephone services all over fiber optic cable, contributing to their continued growth in revenue. Headquartered in Carlyss, Cameron Communications was founded in 1928 as Cameron Telephone Company.


Loyalty has been the key to success for Allstar Pontiac GMC since they opened on Hwy 90 in Sulphur back in 1987. This family-run business continues to grow steadily, year after year. Their body shop now covers 35,000 square feet and is equipped to handle any make and model from the family vehicle to heavy-duty 18 wheelers and buses. Allstar purchased and blacktopped 30,000 square feet of property for a truck lot for their expanding inventory. The “Hometown Dealer” is set to offer customer incentives from General Motors, offering five new models from Pontiac and GMC in 2006.


Lee Dee is a wholesale convenience store supplier serving southwest and central Louisiana and southeast Texas. Company president Robert Hale notes that, “The economy should be good in SWLA…Hopefully our future economy should be good. Industry work drives convenience store business.” Hale notes that technology is getting better while competition is driving prices and profits down. Fuel costs and insurance are key factors and good employees are a real issue for their business. LEEVAC INDUSTRIES, LLC Employees: 219

Last year LEEVAC Industries completed the vessel for Pinnacle Gaming, which would become the L’Auberge casino. Described by Pinnacle President Dan Lee as “a huge triple-wide” the project was the biggest -- from a financial standpoint that LEEVAC ever tackled. They also constructed a 135,000-barrel barge -- the biggest boat they have ever built. Founded in 1998, LEEVAC is headquartered in Jennings, but considers the entire nation their service area. W. F. Stokes, LEE VAC company president, cautions that high inflation on steel and the high cost of fuel can slow their work considerably. MARK DODGE CHRYSLER JEEP Employees: 65

Although Mark Dodge (formerly Roundtree Dodge) on Highway 14 saw a slight dip in revenues in 2004, they still had a solid year. Mark Dodge is a Five Star Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep dealership; a designation that is the highest recognition DaimlerChrysler Motors Corporation can award a dealership for excellence in customer service. Five Star dealerships follow a strict set of training, facility and process

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The Top Fifty

COPYWRIGHT 2005 requirements, and DaimlerChrysler only front ship and barge unloading facility. In grants this status to dealerships that consistently meet Five Star score standards on customer surveys. Mark Dodge has been serving the five-parish area since 1997.

business since 1939, Dunham Price, serves Louisiana and east Texas out of their headquarters in Westlake. KITE BROTHERS RV Employees: 31

R & R CONSTRUCTION Employees: 600

New to the Top 50 list, R & R Construction debuts at the $35 to $49 million range. The construction company was founded in 1995 to serve all of southwest Louisiana, and they are now expanding into sites outside of the area. The future looks good for R & R Construction with new LNG projects opening up and the federally mandated guidelines for cleanup for the refineries spell more business ahead. The only downside that R & R sees on the horizon – the rising prices of natural gas.


The luxury market has not rebounded for Kite Brothers RV, but the company is holding on as one of the nation’s top RV suppliers. Alan Kite, secretary-treasurer of the business, said that 2004 was little slow. He attributed this to higher gas prices, the stock market and the continued war in Iraq. “People don’t have a sense of wealth as they have in prior years,” Kite said. Several years ago, RV sales were strong and new companies selling RVs began to crop up everywhere. “Now because of the economy, many of those companies have started to drop out. Kite Brothers is committed to remaining strong in the RV industry.” Kite Brothers RV was founded in 1961 and serves customers in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas.

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Revenues are up again this year for general contractor Alfred Palma, Inc. So much so that they moved up a range. Alfred Palma, president said the lack of money available to state, local and industrial entities can affect the amount of work that is available, he thinks the outlook for this year looks fair, with a number of commercial construction projects in the works. Founded in 1986, Alfred Palma does strictly commercial jobs, usually within a 100-mile radius of Lake Charles. BESSETTE DEVELOPMENT CORP. Employees: 165

In the past year, Bessette Development expanded into the Hotmix asphalt business and opened their plant location on Bayou D’Inde which has allowed them to move into the manufacture and installation of asphalt on city, parish and state roads. All this expansion increased their employee count – up 45 in one year. According to Harvey Bessette, president of the company, the future continues to look bright and positive with 34 active projects ongoing. The construction firm opened in 1982 and serves eight southwest Louisiana parishes. DUNHAM PRICE GROUP LLC Employees: 125

Dunham Price reports a great year last year. According to Ted Price, Sr., Chairman of the Board, big jobs like Pinnacle and the Highway 27 overpass kept this manufacturer of ready-mix concrete and concrete pipe and pilings very busy. And, says Price, the outlook for the future is very positive. Dunham Price also has a water-

New to our list this year, Port Aggregates joins the Top 50 with revenues in 2004 at $18.95 million. Founded in 1979, Port Aggregates provides limestone, concrete, precast and concrete supplies to 11 Louisiana Parishes; Acadia, Beauregard, Vermillion, Lafayette, Allen, Jeff Davis, Cameron, Calcasieu, Sabine, St. Landry, and St. Martin. Port Aggregates reports that in the past year, new employee were hired, and more business and expansion resulted in an increase in earnings.


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In 2004 Gray Nissan Ford Mercury in DeRidder saw a 2 percent increase in sales. Troy Blackmon, general sale manager, attributes the increase to the stability of Ft. Polk and the company’s effort to be more customer friendly. The company sends out newsletters targeting specific zip codes through Louisiana and Texas, letting potential customers know that they are a home grown business that spans three generations, committed to service. “It’s a full time job to stay competitive,” Blackmon said. “You have to be about service and that’s what customers want. We’re putting an emphasis on service whether it is in the sales or service department.” Blackmon said their outlook for 2005 is promising, which attributes to the stability of Fort Polk. “As people move into the area, it will be good for the economy,” Blackmon said.

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JULY 14, 2005


The Top Fifty

COPYWRIGHT 2005 “We plan to be as big a part of that as posand son of the founder, Art Cooling, “We sible.” Gray Nissan will celebrate its 40th anniversary this September. LAKE CHARLES AUTO AUCTION Employees: 19

Lake Charles Auto Auction, in its 14th year of operation, is owned and operated by Mike Pedersen, with assistance from his two sons, Matt and Ben. Their service area stretches from Houston to Shreveport and east to New Orleans. When buyers go into a dealership to buy a new car and trade in their vehicle, the dealers send the traded vehicle to the Pedersen’s at Lake Charles Auto Auction. Pedersen reports that their weekly run of cars is down a little from last year, but they are still very busy. Mike Pedersen is well-know for his skill as an auctioneer. In 1988 he was Louisiana State Champion Auctioneer and this June he placed 2nd in the United States Horse Auctioneers Championship. LAKE CHARLES DIESEL, INC. Employee: 56

This home-town company, founded in 1946, now supplies an international market in the sales and service of diesel engines and the manufacturing, sales and service of marine transmissions. According to Art Cooling, president of Lake Charles Diesel

see our market much more positive compared to the past two years. More of our customer growth is coming from international rater than domestic business. Most of our growth is internal. The more product we put in place, the stronger our after market becomes.”

Sponsored by Whitney Bank R & R Auto Sales

MCDONALD’S INC. Employees: 625

McDonald’s of Calcasieu Parish moved up one tier this year in our Top 50, with revenues at $18.8 million. Doug Gehrig reports that revenues are up 23% and 2004 brought remodeling, internet connectivity and new menu products. The outlook for the Golden Arches is good, according to Gehrig. “More competition hurt and the employee market is tightening, but a good economy helps,” Gehrig reports. Gehrig is president of McDonald’s. His late father, Mel, began the local eateries in 1972. Through the decades, the Gehrigs added locations, and now have restaurants in Lake Charles, Iowa, DeQuincy, Westlake, Moss Bluff, and Sulphur. MILLER LIVESTOCK MARKETS, INC. Employees: 35

Since 1962 Miller Livestock Markets have sold goats, sheep, hogs, cattle and

horses for seven Louisiana parishes and three Texas counties out of its headquarters in DeQuincy. According to Jim Miller, revenues are up compared to last year with higher beef prices causing more demand and higher prices for feeder cattle. Government regulations on beef imports have had a direct impact on their business. Sales start each Saturday morning at 10, with special horse sales the first and third Monday of each month. Additionally, Miller Livestock Markets is open Monday through Friday because they also sell livestock trailers, equipment, veterinary medicine and supplies.

R & R AUTO SALES Employees: 12

R & R Auto Sales had a good year in 2004. Revenues were over $16 million and once again, they were voted “Best Used Car Dealer” by the Times readers, an honor that R & R is very grateful to receive since they value customer service. Roy Hollingsworth notes that, “We give our commitment to keep this reputation.” Location is a big plus for R & R; they are very quite visible at the corner of Prien Lake Road and Ryan Street, adding to convenience. R & R has been in business since 1984 and serves all of southwest Louisiana.

Celebrating our

Forty Fourth Year, we would like to express our appreciation to the area industries for a great relationship. Levingston will continue their commitment to provide area industries with Quality Design Engineering Services.

LEVINGSTON ENGINEERS, INC. Professional Design Engineers Phone: (337) 527-3806 • Fax: (337) 625-8213


JULY 14, 2005

Founded August 1, 1961 ISO 9001 Certificate GAC 207

The Top Fifty

COPYWRIGHT and 2005 houses its manufacturing operations in two locations in the DeQuincy Industrial THE RUSH COMPANIES Employees: 137

Headquartered in Oakdale in Allen Parish, the Rush Companies includes a variety of enterprises; furniture, finance, funeral homes, cemeteries, insurance and floor coverings. Founded in 1946 by Howard J. Rush, Sr., his singe furniture store grew into the diversified businesses that are today run by his daughter, Kelly Rush Williams, president of the Rush Companies. In 2003 the Rush Companies acquired four funeral homes in Oakdale, Glenmora, Oberlin and Pitkin, bringing their total to nine funeral homes in central Louisiana. The outlook for Rush Companies, according to Rush Williams, is continued business expansion into areas with the greatest sustainable profitable growth potential. She credits the loyalty and strong support of employees and customers for past and future successes. THERMOPLASTIC SERVICES GROUP Employees: 75

Thermoplastic Services Group in DeQuincy, family-owned businesses, has enjoyed a tremendous amount of growth, hitting $23 million in revenues in 2004. Thermoplastic Services, Inc., founded by Eddie Wade in 1993, is a worldwide supplier of commodity grade plastic products,

Air Park. Paragon Plastic Sheet, Inc. was founded by Ashley Wade in 2000, and represents “vertical integration” with TSI which processes raw materials. Paragon purchases them and converts them to its patented High Density Polyethylene sheets used in various industries, including poultry producers, transportation and hurricane panels and skylight panels. The demand for Thermoplastic and Paragon products is so great according to President Ashley Wade, “An expansion is currently underway to double production and -- you guessed it -- more jobs for DeQuincy!” INDUSTRIAL EQUIPMENT ENGINEERING Employees: 100

New to the Top 50 this year is Brask Inc, dba, Industrial Equipment Engineering. Headquartered in Sulphur, they manufacture and repair heat exchangers. Their service area incorporates all of the United States and Canada as well as Aruba and South America. Bal Sareen, CEO of Industrial Equipment Engineering, reports they experienced over 20% growth in 2004 and they expect to grow 15 to 20% a year for the next three years as demands for their services increases. So watch for Industrial Equipment Engineering to remain on the Top 50 and move up!

Sponsored by Whitney Bank $10 MILLION TO $14.9 MILLION CENTURY GROUP INC. Employees: 88

It started in 1942 when Alma Como, despite his blindness, created a mold to pour concrete steps. Now Century Group in Sulphur is the leading manufacturer and supplier of precast concrete steps, concrete railroad grade crossings, railroad spill collection systems and other precast concrete products, servicing customers throughout North America and Europe. Revenues are up due to spending in the petrochemical and light rail transit industries. Century’s new line of architectural precast concrete products is also contributing to growth. Their economic outlook is positive although increasing fuel costs, truck shortages and cement costs will be critical factors in shaping the immediate future for Century Group. GULF ISLAND SHRIMP AND SEAFOOD Employees: 90

Gulf Island Shrimp & Seafood, a seafood processing, marketing, and distributing company, began operating in 1999. Headquartered in Lake Charles, they have


two shrimp processing plants in Dulac, La., and sell wild-caught Gulf shrimp to restaurants and distributors throughout the United States and Canada. They anticipate sales increases for their “Wild American Shrimp” to continue as the “natural, better tasting choice of consumers,” according to managing partners Mark Abraham and Larry Avery. Although high fuel prices are hurting shrimpers, the successful trade action suit against foreign imports should help shrimp prices rise, make a brighter future for the American shrimping industry. HEALTH SYSTEMS 2000 Employees: 255

Health Systems 2000 was founded in Lake Charles in 1994 by Jonald and Lisa Walker. Now the company serves south Louisiana out of 11 branch offices. They experienced an increase in revenue last year and added hospice care services at the end of 2004. Although changes in Medicare may impact the industry as a whole, but for the most part, they see continued growth for Health Systems 2000 because of our aging population and a shift from hospital stays to home healthcare and hospice care.


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The Top Fifty

J & J EXTERMINATING Employees: 180


J & J Exterminating services the majority of Louisiana as well as part of east Texas as the largest independently owned pest control business in the state. Founded in 1959, they consider their success is due “to putting customers and employees first,� according to owners Robert John, Jr. “We are always willing and ready to give back to the community.� They have locations throughout Louisiana including Lafayette, New Iberia, DeRidder, Crowley, Ville Platte, Natchitoches, Shreveport, Alexandria and New Orleans.

This Sulphur-based company grows each year. This past year they added 30 employees and revenues increased to push them up a range on our Top 50 list. They experienced a 26% increase in gross revenues last year reflecting the petrochemical industry’s continuous work toward higher production requirements. Their outlook for 2005-2006 is one of continued growth, says Executive Vice President, Mark Nixon. “The expanding energy sector along with refining demands and chemical industry needs should warrant engineering services,� said Nixon, which will contribute to future growth. Founded in1961, Levingston Engineers services the Gulf South of Texas and Louisiana will civil, mechanical and electrical engineering projects.


Kennison Forest Products, based in Sulphur, is a nationwide distributor of forest products. They have a branch office in Riverside, California and distributors in Columbus, Ohio; Chicago, and Louisville, Kentucky. Kennison is a wholesale lumber supplier that serves the continental United States, Canada and Mexico. Business is up 30% and, according to President Dick Kennison, they foresee an excellent outlook for the next two years with new product expansion and a rising economy.

OILQUIP, INC. Employees: 45

OilQuip debuted on the Times Top 50 last year. This year it’s up one tier with revenues increasing into the $10 to 14 million range and with ten additional employees. OilQuip is growing with help from an upturn in spending projects by industries. Founded in 1963, OilQuip builds and fabricates hydraulic systems, servicing paper,







JULY 14, 2005

Sponsored by Whitney Bank lumber, rubber and petrochemical industries in Louisiana, east Texas, southern Arkansas and west Mississippi. OilQuip has offices in Lake Charles, Beaumont, Baton Rouge and Shreveport. Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;NEALâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S FEEDERS SUPPLY Employees: 60

Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Nealâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Feeder Supply in DeRidder had a good year, according to Ed Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neal, vice president, â&#x20AC;&#x153;But a little more challenging than expected.â&#x20AC;? The challenges have been caused by relatively dry weather. Limited rain means farmers, who buy from the company, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t buy as much feed and fertilizers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The weather, and increase energy cost have hurt the business, but overall itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pretty good,â&#x20AC;? said Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neal. The company generated just over 11 million in revenue during 2004. They are a wholesale and retail feed and fertilizer facility. Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Nealâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s has over 200 dealers in Louisiana and east Texas. The outlook for 2005 is promising, and Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Nealâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s is looking toward the future, expanding by adding automated bagging equipment and a robot to palletize their bagged feeds. Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Nealâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s is the only feed manufacture in Southwest Louisiana.


Calcasieu Mechanical Contractors is a commercial air conditioning and plumbing company serving southwest Louisiana, east Texas and Lafayette. Service volume was up 10% last year although construction was down due to more competitive market conditions. But their business outlook remains very good, according to Ray Blanchard, president of Calcasieu Mechanical Contractors. With the opening of Lâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Auberge, a boost in local economy should translate into more jobs for area contractors, says Blanchard. EAGLE ELECTRIC MACHINERY Employees: 26

Eagle Electric Machinery in Sulphur has built success on electric motor repair and sales and climate control storage. Because the business and industries they service are doing better this past year, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reflected in Eagle Electricâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s volume. Citgo, Louisiana Pigment, Firestone, Entergy, and W.R. Grace are among the major companies in the area serviced by Eagle Electric Machin-

The Top Fifty

COPYWRIGHT 2005scooters, and generators, and ery. Business demands remain good, motorcycles, according to Gerry Weldon, general manager, adding to their growth. FRENCH MARKET FOODS Employees: 60

Since 2003, French Market Foods of Lake Charles has been manufacturing and distributing Tony Chachere’s sausage, boneless stuffed chickens, turduchens and single serving entrees. They have seen a 50% increases in sales in the past year. To prepare for continued growth, they hired 15 new employees and are constructing a new office and freezer. According to managing partners Mark Abraham and Larry Avery, “We believe there is good business growth for the next few years with consumers wanting more convenient, value added, easy to prepare foods. That is why we expect our distribution to increase from 5 states to 9 states…we want people all over the country to have a taste of our great culture.”

an expanded service department from their “Honda Powerhouse” showroom building on College Street. Designed by Honda Corporation for their powerhouse branded dealers, the 20,000 square foot building is one of Honda’s new ‘Concept Stores’ for their top dealerships, said David Hardy, General Manager and co-owner. Honda of Lake Charles has remained in the top 100 in sales in the United States for Honda Corporation for the past several years, certifying them as a powerhouse dealer. Honda of Lake Charles


After many years in the rice drying business in Lacassine, the Hardy family decided to diversify their business interests. In 1986, they bought Honda of Lake Charles and now offer a full line of Honda ATV’s,

Sponsored by Whitney Bank NORTHFORK ENTERPRISES Employees: 50

Lake Charles Electric Company is the cornerstone of Northfork Enterprises, Inc., which also encompasses Lake Charles Mechanical, Inc. and Ins-Trol. Headquartered in Westlake, Lake Charles Electric specializes in industrial and large commercial projects, providing quality workmanship with the high safety standards to Southwest Louisiana for over 50 years. President Earl O’Quinn Jr. attributes the

longevity and success of the company to a skilled workforce and a team of dedicated individuals. The volume of work has increased over the past few years as Lake Charles Electric diversified its customer base. RUSSELL I. STUTES CONSTRUCTION Employees: 40

The husband and wife team of Russell and Cissy Stutes started their home and light commercial construction business in Lake Charles in 1979. Last year was another successful season for Russell Stutes Construction and now son-in-law Patrick Milligan is taking on more responsibility in management of day-to-day operations. The economy appears to be growing and Russell Stutes intends to grow with it. “This year promises to be even better than last,” says Cissy Stutes. SABINE POOLS & SPAS Employees: 72

Sabine Pools and Spas saw continued growth in all sectors of its business last year. Custom pool building and their new outdoor furniture lines experienced the biggest growth. They were named, for the second year in a row, as one of the top 100 pool companies in the nation (Aqua Magazine, April 2005). Joey Tassin, President,

Executive Director Needed The Board of Trustees of Louisiana School Employees' Retirement System (LSERS) is seeking a highly qualified and experienced individual to serve as Executive Director and manage day-to-day operations of a state public defined benefit retirement system with $1.4 billion in assets and 25,700 active and retired members. This unclassified, executive level position reports to an 11-member Board of Trustees (6 elected and 5 ex-officio) and is responsible for planning, organizing, directing, and managing a professional staff of 40 that provides services to members and beneficiaries of LSERS. The individual must have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in business administration, finance, or related field; advanced degree preferred. The individual must also have a minimum of eight years executive level management experience interacting with government, possess strong management and communication skills, and be able to instill a high degree of integrity and professionalism through leadership qualities and work ethic. Administrative experience in management of public pension systems, interacting with elected officials and working with legislators highly desirable. Actuarial and investment cognition also desirable. Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience, but not less than $115,000 per year. Position profile is available on the LSERS website at or upon request by calling Ms. Jennifer Champagne at (225) 925-6485. Qualified individuals may submit a letter of application, resume, and five letters of reference addressed to Mr. Jeffrey Faulk, Sr., Chairman of the Search Committee, Louisiana School Employees' Retirement System, 8660 United Plaza Blvd., 1st Floor, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70809 and sent to the personal attention of Ms. Jennifer Champagne, Board Secretary. All applications must be received in the LSERS office no later than end of business day on July 27, 2005. • Background check will be conducted on prospective candidates. • Visit for more details about this system. • LSERS is an equal opportunity employer and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

JULY 14, 2005


The Top Fifty

Sponsored by Whitney Bank

COPYWRIGHT 2005 expects good results in 2005 as they stay on U.S. Unwired and Cameron Communicatop of market trends and advancing techtions. Additionally, Unibill offers outnology. “From our new 3-D design software to our exquisite craftsmanship and materials to our unique offerings of fine outdoor furniture, we strive every day to meet and exceed customer expectations,” says Tassin. SOUTHLAND COINS & COLLECTIBLES Employees: 3

For the fourth year in a row, Southland Coins & Collectibles has made the Top 50. According to Malcolm Self, president, “Last year we decided to pursue international sales. This proved to be difficult but ultimately profitable since international sales have increased by over 1200%.” Total sales for the year were up 38%, mainly due to internet sales. Southland Coins & Collectibles restructured their operation to aggressively pursue Internet sales. Southland specializes in the wholesale and retail rare coin and bullion markets. “I’m excited about the future,” says Self. “People will always be buying or selling in good times or bad.” UNIBILL Employees: 19

sourced billing solutions. They experienced employee downsizing in 2004 through attrition and are currently using contract labor for software development. Additionally, Unibill expanded their product offerings for voice, data, video and wireless billing solutions. Unibill was founded in 1997 and is based in the former Calcasieu-Marine National Bank building.

Sen. David Vitter


Rounding out our 2005 Top 50 list is newcomer, Johnson Funeral Home in Lake Charles. They’ve been at the service of bereaved families in Calcasieu Parish, as well as south Beauregard, north Cameron and west Jefferson Davis parishes since 1975. They pride themselves on continually upgrading their services and technology.


Sponsored by

Making their debut on the Top 50 list is Cycles and More in Lake Charles. Wes McFadden notes that their family-run business has grown steadily since 2001. “Our new neighbor, Lake Charles Honda, has actually brought more traffic to the area! Rising gas prices have motorcycle sales up and so we’ve hired more employees.” He forecasts high fuel prices will continue to bring in customers and they plan to add to their facility and may pick up more products to offer to the public next year.

Each summer, the companies that make the Times annual list of Top 50 privately held businesses are honored at a luncheon banquet. Senator David Vitter will be the guest speaker at the annual Top 50 Luncheon Monday, August 15th at the Lake Charles Country Club. The Annual Top 50 publication, awards and luncheon are sponsored each year by Whitney Bank.

Unibill does nationwide billing services for telecommunications firms including

Dunham Price Group, LLC …locally owned and operated

Thank you Southwest Louisiana for voting us, Best Restaurant in SWLA, Best Place for a Romantic Dinner, Best Service in a Restaurant, Best Chef

217 W. College, Lake Charles, LA. 70605 PAGE 30

JULY 14, 2005

• • • • • •

Ready Mixed Concrete Concrete Pipe Prestressed Concrete Pile Precast Concrete Products Construction Materials Aggregate/Limestone


Pumpelly Oil Company 1890 Swisco Road • Sulphur, LA 70665 337-625-1117 • 800-256-2512

Stop 92 3901 Verot School Road, Youngsville, LA. The Store, Inc. 3558 Hwy 27 North, Sulphur, LA. Jimbo's Quick Stop 5402 Common Street, Lake Charles, LA. Ridge Road Food 1710 Ridge Road, Duson, LA. Bowtie Marina 1245 Giovanni, Lake Charles, LA.

Pumpelly's Conoco #217 334 Sam Houston Jones Parkway, Lake Charles, LA.

Cormie’s Grocery 4907 Big Lake Rd., Lake Charles, LA.

Tiger Mart 801 N. Hwy 26, Lake Arthur, LA. Fuel Stop 36 108 Hwy 397 North, Lake Charles, LA.

Lake Street Citgo 2700 Lake Street, Lake Charles, LA.

Chesson Grocery 1005 Hwy 27, Bell City, LA.

Golden Tor 2021 Ruth St., Sulphur, LA.

Gaspard's #1 9346 Gulf Hwy, Lake Charles, LA.

Winner’s Choice Plaza 2650 Hwy. 108, Sulphur, LA.

Guidry's Food 1030 Coteau Rodaire Hwy, Arnaudville, LA.

Speedy Stop 715 North Thompson, Iowa, LA.

Gaspard's #2 5042 Creole Hwy, Creole, LA.

Bailey's Conoco 402 Moro Street, Fordyce, AR.

Fifth Wheel 500 N. Beglis Parkway, Sulphur, LA.

Pumpelly's Conoco #201 1200 Sampson Street, Westlake, LA.

Lakeview Market 11028 Hwy 171, Longville, LA.

Pumpelly's Conoco #211 909 N Beglis Parkway, Sulphur, LA.

Campbell's Grocery Hwy 13 North, Pine Prairie, LA.

Cajun Fast Mart 4796 Hwy. 27 South, Carlyss, LA. Rudy’s Corner Store 2945 Davis Rd., Westlake, LA. Russell’s 904 Rees St., Breaux Bridge, LA.

Chesson Grocery 1005 Hwy. 27, Bell City, LA.

Tony’s Mini Mart 1807 Main St., Elton, LA.

Hebert’s of Henderson 1046 C. Henderson Hwy., Breaux Bridge, LA.

Distributor of quality fuels, lubricants, chemicals and specialty products. JULY 14, 2005



United Way Tricycle Races T. S. Cooley ( Partner in Education) Yearly Choir Visit

T. S. Cooley (Partner in Education) Yearly Christmas Card Contest

Basell Employees earned the Louisiana Chemical Association's Prestigious "Best in Louisiana Award"

Basell is proud of the commitment of our employees to safety and the environment, and their involvement as a vital part of the local community!

Congratulations Central Crude for being Ranked #1 in the 2005 Top 50 Businesses in SWLA


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“The Beach Boys Were Playing Our Songs” n 1962, the year The Beach Boys first charted with “Surfin’ Safari,” I was a 9-year-old sleepaway camper, listening to the counselors’ skiffle band sing folk and pop songs in the dining lodge on rainy afternoons. The college kids were enthusiastic sing-alongers, and we campers fired back on request with our high piping (and a few cracking pre-pubescent) voices. The Beach Boys’ songs, featuring the California-sunshine-flecked five-part harmonies of Wilson brothers Brian, Carl and Dennis, their cousin Mike Love, and school chum Al Jardine, turned out to be perfect for group singing. All that first camp summer and during many summers that followed it, I osmosed the words to Beach Boys’ hits the first time I heard them, phonetically, I guess, because the songs registered in my brain only as pleasurable nonsense sounds, and not as poetry or stories. Sure, I grew up with white sand beaches and the high-waving surf of the Atlantic Ocean, with its right coast echo of a California summer. But in the early ‘60s, surfing, fast cars, Hawaiian-shirted boys and other touchstones of The Beach Boys’ ouevre were still abstract concepts to this little girl, and would only become real in the far-off days of my adolescence. In those days there were other popular songs and singers coming out of my dad’s tinny monoaural car speaker on superstar DJ “Cousin Brucie” Morrow’s New York radio show. But for me, The Beach Boys were then, and still are, the sound of summer. Apparently, that holds true for 1,559 of my closest friends belting out choruses at The Beach Boys’ L’Auberge du Lac opening show here in Lake Charles on July 1st. The sold-out crowd cheered for pop froth like “Surfin’ Safari,” “Barbara Ann,” “Little Deauce Coupe,” “Help Me Rhonda,” and “California Girls,” hummed and swayed along on the slow and melodic “In My Room,” and roared out the climbing chorus of that still extraordinary production, “Good Vibrations,” faithfully reproduced in all its layered sound bits glory by “The Jukebox,” as Mike Love’s Beach Boys’ cover band is often dissed by the critics (but never by the fans). Well as a mostly retired critic and renewed fan, I have to take my hat off to this company: Founder member Mike Love has licensed The Beach Boys’ moniker and gathered together long-time band members Mike Kowalski (drums) and Bruce Johnston (keyboards, vocals, and Grammy-winning composer of “I Write The Songs”) and young(er) Turks Randell Kirsch (fantastic falsetto vocals and rhythm guitar), Scott Totten (vocals and deceptively simple lead guitar), Tim Bonhomme (keyboards, invisible throughout the show from my seat), Scott Farmer (bass and vocals), and John Cowsill (of the real ‘60s family pop band who inspired the Partridge



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Family TV series, on keyboards, tympanum, congas, vocals and a hip-shagging, collar-raising Elvis wink). If I felt one pang of longing for the original Beach Boys (Wilson brothers Dennis, the only surfer, who drowned in the 1980s, and Carl, who died of cancer in 1998, and the retired Al Jardine), it was simply a wish for a face-to-face view of electrifying genius surviving founder Brian Wilson, whose songs, arrangements, and productions are the heart, soul, and mighty river’s source of all the familiar Beach Boys’ sounds – layered harmony vocals over tightly scripted complex instrumentals – that have captivated and enslaved all of us all these years. He was there in every note-for-note performance, and when the band sang “In My Room,” I could feel the hairs stand up on my neck, as I imagined Brian singing invisibly over the ringers’ shoulders. While gathering my thoughts for this story, I read deeper into some old Beach Boys biographies, and realized that Mike Love and I share a birthday (the Ides of March). That might be one subliminal reason I was inclined to give his “Jukebox” band the benefit of the doubt. I know, of course, that there is some bad blood around the use of the band’s name and goodwill, and that the surviving members don’t speak to each other, except through their lawyers, on the obvious occasions. But after seeing the shining faces of my bald, gray- and white-haired peers having a cheerful blast singing along, I am here to testify that Mike Love ain’t doing a thing to harm The Beach Boys’ legacy. If anything, he is keeping the mad genius of Brian Wilson and the close harmony of the Wilson brothers’ memories alive. And deserves to be honored for it. As for the show, with a few genial jokes from Mike Love scattered throughout, the octet practically drag-raced their way through a 25+ song, 70-minute single set. Early on in the evening, after the band had segued seamlessly through an eight-song medley, Love joked that by request (of the band), there would be an overnight intermission, and the band would resume at a slower pace at a more reasonable hour on the following day. We laughed, of course, but I was winded myself when the show was over. As we streamed out into L’Auberge du Lac’s lobby and clustered around a very modest merchandise display table – one tour dates T-shirt and a few generic ones, “Kokomo” license plates, a single CD, and one or two smaller objets -- I hoped for a souvenir recording of this lineup’s covers of the hits. But when I slit open the shrinkwrap I was just as happy to see that the 30-song $20 souvenir I did choose was a digitally remastered compilation of all the original studio recordings, which was a different kind of satisfaction. And it had certainly been soul-satisfying fun, fun, fun.


By Gary Shannon olid Gold Friends I have a great group of friends and I’m proud to say that that circle includes doctors, lawyers, mayors and senators. I don’t say that to impress you. I say that so that I can add that, within my circle of friends, I feel like the village idiot. And yet, most of my friends think I have the greatest job in the world. Maybe I do. I can identify with their line of thinking because I once thought the same thing about another radio personality. Back in the early 80’s I took a long weekend and drove to Woodville, Texas to visit relatives. Now, Woodville is a beautiful place but, there is nothing to do there on a Saturday night so I decided to check out the radio offerings. I had all but given up on finding anything but country music when I heard Bobby Vee’s “Rubber Ball” coming from the speakers. That was the first time I ever heard Dick Bartley. At the time, he was hosting the nationally syndicated “Solid Gold Saturday Night.” As I drove around listening to his show I recall thinking, “That guy has the best job in the world.” Not only did he have the best job in the world, he seemed to know and appreciate the fact. The music was great but what made the show was his obvious love and knowledge of the music. Listening to Dick was like listening to an old friend play your favorite songs just for you. I recall going to a high school reunion a year or so later and having more than one person ask, “Have you ever met Dick Bartley?” To my old high school buddies, Dick wasn’t just a radio personality; he was a friend with a great record collection. They were all quite disappointed to find that I didn’t know Dick and had never even spoken to him. A few years later all that changed. La 92.9 had just come into existence and we were planning to do an old fashioned record hop when my good friend and coworker Bryan Taylor said, “Call Dick Bartley and see if he does that sort of thing.” I recall thinking “Yeah, right, I’ll just pick up the phone and give Dick a call. When he hangs up on me, I can at least say to my high school friends, ‘Dick Bartley? Why sure, I called him just last week’.” Cutting to the chase, I called and found that Dick Bartley has no ego. None. He doesn’t think of himself as a celebrity or a radio


star. He thinks of himself as a husband and father first, and a radio guy who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I think he “doth protest too much.” Dick is one of the best in the business and young people who are considering entering this profession need to tune in “Rock and Roll’s Greatest Hits” and hear how it’s done. Over the years, I’ve stolen from the best and I’d say that Ron Chapman in Dallas and Dick Bartley are the best this business has to offer. I have a reputation (foisted quite a bit by John Bridges on “7 News Sunrise” constantly suggesting that I be given a call to answer a trivia question) as being an oldies expert. Now, I will admit to knowing quite a bit about the genre but a lot of what I know I learned by listening to Dick Bartley. Not only did I steal some of his factual knowledge of the music, I also copied, to a certain extent, his delivery. Not that I compare myself to him, I just learned from him that the best approach is “just be yourself.” LA 92.9 recently brought Dick back to town to host our “Summer Bash ‘05” dance party. The listeners came out in droves to dance and just have a good time. As usual, there was a line of people wanting to take pictures with Dick Bartley. No one goes home disappointed. There was something in the air at the “Summer Bash” I can’t quite describe. There was a sense of unity, of belonging. It was like a High School reunion in that we all seemed to have a common bond and yet there was more to it than that. The dance was scheduled to end at 11 o’ clock but no one wanted to leave. We decided to stay an extra hour and the crowd seemed to love that. Here we are, all grown up and we get to stay out an extra hour! It was a great evening thanks to the music, Dick Bartley, and our incredible listeners. For those of us who love oldies, Dick Bartley is our “connection” or “dealer”, if you will (and even if you won’t). Week after week, he comes into our homes and plays the same songs we’ve all heard a thousand times and yet, just by being there he makes them come alive again. He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Dick Bartley is my friend. I’m proud to say that. Plus, I do have a high school reunion coming up!

**Nextel also imposes a Federal Programs Cost Recovery (FPCR) fee of $1.55 or $2.83. The FPCR is not a tax or government required charge. Offers expire June 30, 2005. $25 Mail-In Rebate: Allow 8-12 weeks after new activation and mailing in of a complete and valid rebate form. Not available in all markets. Full terms and conditions on rebate form or visit Offer available only when new activation is purchased through Nextel Partners’ local direct, local indirect and Las Vegas Telesales. National Achiever Plan: One year contract required. Caller ID information is not available on all calls. Additional Fees: $200 early termination and up to $35 setup fee per phone. Shipping charge of $14.99/month may apply. Monthly bills include fees to cover our costs of complying with federal programs, up to 1.5% per bill and $2.83 per phone. Fees for state and local programs may apply (vary by area), plus government taxes/fees. Cellular: Overage($0.45/min.). Partial minutes charged as full minutes. Nights (9:00pm to 7:00am), Weekends (Fri. 9:00pm to Mon. 7:00am). Bonus minutes do not share. Walkie-Talkie: Nationwide walkie-talkie ($0.10/min.) times number of participants. Offer available only when new activation is purchased through Nextel Partners’ local direct, local indirect and Nextel Partners’ company stores. Unused minutes do not accumulate to the next billing cycle. Cellular minutes share with same plans on the same account only. Direct Connect minutes are available in your local calling area only. TeleNav: First 60 days of TeleNav service are free with new Nextel service activation. After the initial 60-day trial period, a monthly fee of $9.99 will apply unless you cancel by contacting Nextel Customer Care at 1-888-566-6111. TeleNav offer includes 0.5MB of data (@ 10 routes per month). An overage rate of $0.01/kb applies. Service available only on GPS, Java-enabled handsets. Not available to Major w/VPL, corporate, strategic accounts and public sector customers. TeleNav service available only in the United States. Terms and conditions of use will apply and must be agreed to prior to activating the TeleNav service. Additional restrictions may apply. Please call your Nextel Customer Care Representative at 1-88-566-6111 for plan details and requirements. Nextel reserves the right to cancel/extend offers without notice. Offers may not be available in all markets. Nextel’s Nationwide Network serves 297 of the top 300 markets. ©2005 Nextel Partners, Inc. Nextel, Direct Connect and the Driver Safety logo are service marks, trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Nextel Communications, In. MOTOROLA and the Stylized M Logo are registered in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. All other product or service names are property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

JULY 14, 2005



Deft Directing And Diligent Acting

Johnnie Bankens (Scene Stealer Extraordinaire), choreographer Jessie Thibodeaux, and star Allie Parton relax at the reception following the premier of “Lobster Alice”.

Proud parents Claudia and Matt Troll, whose son Bradley was the director of “Lobster Alice”.


ake Charles Little Theatre ended its season with a bang Saturday, June 25, by throwing a noholds barred barbeque at its New Stable Playhouse, honoring and thanking all who helped in making this year a banner year for the theatre. Not only found enjoying the food, but the roster of plays scheduled for next season, were Ethel MacDonald, Ron Kemmerly, Paul Land, Barbara Downer, Ed Sherwood, Monica Mere, Cynthia Doyle, and Conrad Fuselier. Also seen loosening their belts after all of the food were Mike Mayo, Anita Tritico, Tony Hanks, Veronica Kemmerly, Penny Palermo, Marissa Jinks, Kevin Driscoll, and Waverlyn Bayard. Various awards were given out for special performances from the past season, much to the surprise of those assembled. Among those that received awards were, Kathy Bergstrom, who tied with Amanda Fontenot, for Best Newcomer, Alexandra Lee (Biggest Scene Stealer), Debbie Loftus (Timex Award for Promptness), Anne Drake (Biggest Ham), Mona Campbell (Golden Zipper—don’t ask), and a special award was presented to the “Christmahaunnukwanzica” Holiday Show. (FYI: did you know that LCLT is one of the oldest arts organizations in the State, celebrating its 80th year in 2006? Now that’s a cause to celebrate! Happy Birthday a little early, LCLT!) Following the awards, Barbara Downer, LCLT President, announced the line-up of shows slated for next season. Among them are “Twentieth Century”, “Death of a Salesman”, “Little Women”, “Sylvia”, and the musical, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”. President Downer also informed the assembled talent that auditions for the first show;

LCLT Director Tom Cole (left) and LCLT Board Member Heather Fazzio (right) pose with award winner Caralie Chrisco (Who won for best performance from an oven…You would have had to be there!)


JULY 14, 2005

Cheryl “Fuse” Fuselier, one of the many LCLT Volunteers, gets her “Just Desserts” at the annual BBQ.

Lisa and Mike Sober were beaming when they informed me that their children were performing with “Les Petite Voix”.

LCLT mainstay, Joann Rigney poses with LCLT Newbie Charles Simpson and his beautiful wife, Cynthia.


Luxury is at Home…

• Private, Gated Apartment Community • 24-hour Business Center • Resort Style Pool • State of the Art Fitness Center • Full Size W/D Included

Close to Everything … Far from Ordinary Our real American heroes: James Johnson, James Tidwell, Cletus Baber and Lynn Walters celebrate at Red, White, Blue and You.

“Twentieth Century” are August 1st and 2nd. (If you are interested in auditioning, please contact LCLT!) Designed as a way to thank the volunteers who give so freely of their time throughout the year, LCLT hopes this is just the start of yet another tradition, which will add to the already colorful and interesting local history that is Lake Charles Little Theatre. ON FRIDAY, July 1st, the audience of MSU’s, Lobster Alice, was treated to a wonderfully bizarre, Dali-esque journey of the mind. Superbly directed and cast by Bradley Troll, the off-kilter antics of a 1940’s Disney animator and his secretary, Alice, guided the audience on a Technicolor stroll through the minds-eye of playwright Hyra Obolensky. With deft directing and diligent acting, it drew in the audience and made everyone think. (Not a simple task in Lake Charles!) Shining stars in the production included Alli Parton, Chris O’Bannon, Johnnie Bankens (in 3 roles no less!), and the Shadow’s favorite ham, Jeffery Cramer. Of course, without the help of the fine technical crew, Lindsey Moreland, Stan Morris, Lauren Martin, Jessie Thibodeaux, and Cat Oubre,

the actor folks would have had a whole lot more to do than just turn in stellar performance! Spied during this “think fest” of the absurd were Joseph Frazier, Tom Cole, Heather Fazzio, Matt and Claudia Troll, Suzie Seager Shadrick (who was celebrating her birthday that evening- Happy Birthday!), Peter Dart, Susan Kelso, Dave Brown, James Johnson, Caralee Chrisco, Michelle Martin, Waverlyn Bayard, Marilyn Monroe (yes, it’s her real name!), Russell Guidry, Cathy Chapman, Joann Hanks, David Rigney and his lovely wife Jo Anne, and Paul Land. In case you didn’t know, this was the first ENTIRELY studentdone production in the colorful history of the “Bayou Players”, which is no small feat considering they have been around since the midforties when the inimitable Margery Wilson founded and launched them on their journey. Special kudos to the members of the Pi Gamma Cast….Great job! (A cryptic message only MSU theatre people understand.)

4650 Nelson Road ❦ Lake Charles, LA 70605 (337) 474-9445 ❦

Shopping for asphalt? We can cart it to you. Asphalt is the perfect material when you need a smooth, solid, durable surface. And at Bessette Development, you can bag it yourself or we can deliver it to your doorstep. Because we own our local asphalt plant, our manufacturing, delivery and professional installation is quality controlled, convenient, quick and competitively priced. With over 35 years of contracting experience, trust Bessette Development for your next asphalting job.

SHORTS, ICE CHESTS, screaming children…sounds like Contraband, huh? But it’s not! It was the “Red, White, Blue, and You” Independence Day celebration host by the

Michele Woodyear and Dick Holliday enjoyed Sen. Vitter’s speech at the Chamber Luncheon in Sulphur.


Supply and labor. Pickup and delivery.

Private owners and contractors: call today at 337.312.3600 ASPHALT DIVISION 3025 Lake Street • Lake Charles, LA 70601

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12 COPYWRIGHT 2005 Proud to be Serving SWLA for

years! 1993-2005

Voted “Best” Place for a Business Lunch Now offering “The Board Room” Private Room available for your Business Meetings Chairman of the Chamber/SWLA Bob Graham and President & CEO of the Chamber/SWLA Donna Addkison hosted the luncheon in Sulphur for Senator David Vitter.

Monday’s “Martini Madness” - Buy one get one Free Tuesday’s “Two for Tuesday” - Buy one get one Free Excluding call wines & premium or top shelf

Wednesday’s “Ladies Night” - $3.00 house wine & cosmopolitans Thursday’s “Thirsty Thursday” - 100 well liquor high balls Friday’s “Friday Night Fever” - 25% off all drinks excluding wines by the bottle Saturday’s “Beer Bust” - $100 domestic beer

Call for our Live Entertainment lineup!

(337) 439-2054

901 Ryan Street

Butch Ferdinandsen, CFP®, CRPC, CRPS Investment Adviser Representative

Why Is Diversifying My Investment Portfolio So Important? Virtually any investment has some risk associated with it. The stock market rises and falls. An increase in interest rates can cause a decline in the bond market. The key to successful investing is to reduce that risk while maintaining an attractive return on your investments. One of the most effective ways to help manage you investment risk is to diversify. The main philosophy behind diversification is really quite simple: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Spreading the risk among a number of different investment categories — stocks, bonds, money market instruments, for example, or over several different industries, can help offset the loss in any one investment. Likewise, the power of diversification can smooth your returns over time. As one investment increase, it offsets the decrease in the other, and vice versa. By reducing the impact of market ups and downs, diversification can go far in enhancing your investing comfort level. Diversification is one of the main reasons why mutual funds are so attractive for both experienced and novice investors. For a modest initial investment — often as little as $250 — you are purchasing shares in a diversified portfolio of securities. You have “built-in” diversification. Depending on the objectives of the fund, it may contain a variety of stocks and bonds, or a combination of the two. Mutual funds can be an easy and effective way to build a portfolio. They can help you save and invest for long-term growth or current income. Diversification does not guarantee against loss; it is a method used to manage risk. Mutual funds are sold only by prospectus. Please consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing. The prospectus, which contains this and other information about the investment company, can be obtained from your financial professional. Be sure to read the prospectus carefully before deciding whether to invest.

THE PERRY AGENCY, Inc. Lake Charles, LA 70601 Ph. 337-491-9236 • Fax 337-491-9212 Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. P.O. Box 64284 St. Paul, MN 55164 (651) 738-4000, (800) 800-2000 member NASD, SIPC, and Registered Investment Advisor.


JULY 14, 2005

city at the Lake Charles Civic Center. With literally hundreds of smiling, sweating, faces, the patriotically-inclined braved the heat to gather on the lawn of the amphitheatre Monday evening, to enjoy music, parades, fun, and fireworks! Highlighting the evenings events were sing-a-longs (led by Les Petites Voix), a salute to the Armed Forces (led by Lt. Col. Paul Rainwater), and a spectacular “Light Up the Lake” fireworks extravaganza! Seen amongst the throngs of people fighting for shade and cool breezes were Brittany McDonald, Pat McKee (Tell Monica I said hi!), Louise Pease, Evelyn Thompson, Gary Shannon, Jim Streete, Caroline Garrett, Sammie Ward, Tommy Steen, and Dr. Fred Seay with his wife, Ruth. The “Light Up the Lake” fireworks extravaganza was the perfect ending to a perfect Fourth of July celebration. It was nice to have people appreciate what others are giving so that we may continue to live free. Kudos Lake Charles!!! Pat yourself on the back.

FRIDAY, JULY 8, community leaders gathered at Marilyn’s Veranda in Sulphur for a luncheon sponsored by the Chamber/SWLA with Senator David Vitter as special guest speaker. Senator Vitter spoke about the previous legislative session and the impact of national and world events on the upcoming session. Among those enjoying the luncheon and Senator Vitter’s speech were Bob Graham, Chair of the Chamber/SWLA; Donna Addkison, President and CEO of the Chamber/SWLA; Monsignor Jace Eskind; Larry Duracell, Lake Area Industry Alliance; Buddy Leach; Tom Morris, United Way; Shannon Spell; Sharon LaFuria and Adam McBride. The Shadow also noticed Dick Gregory, Dick Holliday, Michelle Woodyear, Steve Hebert, John Gregory, Vernon Meyer, Abby White, Rob McCorquodale, Mandy Mitchell, and Len Knapp.

• Desktop Support • Web Site Design • Complete System Upgrade/Migration • Network Design/Implementation • Virus Protections/Prevention • Custom Software

Ph. (337) 990-0090 • fax (337) 990-0092 811 Pujo Street, Lake Charles

Ledral M. Simon, LMT, NCTMB Certified Medical Massage Therapist, ML Medical Massage - Repetitive Use Injury Therapy Ashiatsu - Deep Tissue - Swedish & Esalen Massage Belavi Facelift Massage

Insurance Billing Provided Gift Certificates & Spa Packages Available All Employees are Licensed by the State of Louisiana LA Lic.# 1760 • Nat. Cert.# 281272-00 Member IMA

343 Broad St., Lake Charles 337.494.1113 (by appointment only)


Karla Hunt 3028 Ryan St. • Lake Charles 433-9720

Lake Charles’ Only Home-Owned and Operated Travel Agency Cruises • Tours • Resorts • Group Travel • Airline Tickets Cars • Hotels • Incentives • Custom Trips • Travel Insurance Honeymoon Registry • Foreign Currency

YOUR TRAVEL IS OUR BUSINESS! 1407 W. Prien Lake Rd. (Holly Hill Plaza), Lake Charles • 337-480-0246

Our Tenth Birthday $200,000 Blowout! July 11 – 29 Monday – Thursday 4:30 – 9:00 p.m. Friday & Saturday 7 p.m. – Midnight Sunday 3 – 7 p.m. 10 Winners daily—10 Winners of $10,000! The last 10 years have been a blur, but we’re taking time to give out $200,000. Enter to win every day, plus earn additional entries based on play. Entries are available at the IsleOne® Club in the Pavilion. Hey, it’s our birthday, but you get all the gifts!

July 30 at 7 p.m.

2nd Chance Saturday: Any unclaimed prize moves to the Second Chance Saturday drawings. Watch our money board to see the money grow! Winners have 30 minutes to claim their prize. Full details at the IsleOne® Club in the Pavilion.

Sinbad July 30 • 8 p.m. & July 31 • 4 p.m.

In the Flamingo Bay Ballroom Ticket prices range from $25 to $40 and go on sale June 30 in the Banana Cabana Gift Shop. Supply is limited. Must be 21.

1-800-960-7665 I-10, Exit 27 • Lake Charles, LA 1-800-THE ISLE (or 1-800-843-4753)

Monday-Friday 9am-6pm Saturday 9am-3pm

Compulsive or Problem Gambling? Call 1-877-770-STOP (7867).

LAKE CHARLES 3213 Common St. • 433-1193

SULPHUR Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. The Leader in Fun, Games and Responsible Play

106A Cities Service Hwy. • 625-3452

JULY 14, 2005



Times of Southwest Louisiana  

Top 50 Businesses in Southwest Louisiana

Times of Southwest Louisiana  

Top 50 Businesses in Southwest Louisiana