The Voice of Southwest Louisiana March 2019 Issue


The Voice of Southwest Louisiana News Magazine March 2019

March 2019

Vol 6 No 8

New to





SWLA Center for

Health Services

Pg. 10

Pictured L-R:

Jessica Jolly

Chief Operating Officer

JayVon Muhammad

Chief Executive Officer

Lead Healthcare with

Compassion and Clarity

"Caring for the Community,

because at the Center is You!"


L C-NORTH REPORT: Purpose of the

LC North Redevelopment Authority

Pg. 5

My Senior Moment 2.0

Mended Hearts Join to

Help Others

Pg. 14

SWLA Business

Building Wealth Through

Tax Planning

Pg. 16

Q&A with Tonja Phillips,

Make-Up Artist

Spring Makeup for SWLA

Pg. 24



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2 March 2019 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 6 • Number 8


By Brenda Hill

A Trumped




light manufacturing use

loading facility for marine and

construction equipment was

proposed to the Planning and Zoning

Commission by applicants/property

owner, Powell Timber Company, and

proposed purchaser of the land and

business operator, Edward T. McCain, M

& M Electric Services Co., LLC., a Marine/

Heavy Equipment Construction business

to locate on property directly north of the

tracts on land serving the Orleck ship off

Enterprise Blvd.

African Americans from the ‘North Lake

Charles’ neighborhood opposed this

project and highlighted how the negative

impacts of the present salvage yards

and other industrial enterprises along

the riverfront affected the citizens living

there. They expressed how allowing

additional manufacturing/industrial uses

would show inconsistency with plans for

economic re-development in North Lake

Charles near the upgraded Enterprise


On January 14, 2019, members of the

Lake Charles Planning and Zoning

Commission voted 4-1 against the

project honoring the concerns of the

North Lake Charles citizens, and the

applicants, as were their right, appealed

the Commission’s decision to the Lake

Charles City Council and it was scheduled

for February 20, 2019.

As I have mentioned before, I spent all my

school age years in what is referred to as

‘North Lake Charles,’ so I was determined

to attend that meeting and ‘Voice’ my

supportive vision of community to the

Editor's Pen: Partly sponsored by Angela

Williams in loving memory of L. C. Williams.

city council and our mayor, to uphold

the Planning and Zoning Commission’s

vote of 4-1 against. Mr Geyen addressed

unbecoming comments made about

the Planning & Zoning Commission

members, and encouraged respectful

communication about them.

Doug Cook, white male with 34 years at

Powell Timber Company stood first and

said that this vision is “misguided” and that

the redevelopment we propose “will never

happen.” I disagree totally.

African Americans from the ‘North Lake

Charles' neighborhood including a family

of senior citizens living there since 1926,

were present. More opposition to this

project were ‘Voiced’, including Marshall

Simien, former District A City Council.

The city council was reminded of

their consistent support to ‘South

Lake Charles’ residents’ concerns and

oppositions for their neighborhoods. (Ex.

Shell Beach Road – No Restaurant)

Three African American city council

members (two females and one male);

Mary Morris, District A, (where I grew up),

Luvertha August, District B and Council

Vice President, and Rodney Geyen, District

C, voted to uphold the Planning and

Zoning Commission 4-1 vote against.

Four white male city council members;

John Ieyoub, District D, Stuart

Weatherford, District E, Johnnie

Thibodeaux, District F, (speaking as my

voice from my district) Mark Eckard,

District G and Council President until July

2019, voted 4-3 and rejected the Zoning

Board and me!!

African Americans want to

participate in our city's political and

economic process, and still we are

told we are not going to help you!!

Oh, What Privilege!! Color It!!

Pick up your copy of

The Voice of SWLA while

you’re out and about.


• West Cal-Cam Hospital

• Stines

• Pitt Grill


• Goodwill

• Hollier's

• Dairy Barn


• Pujo St. Cafe

• Chase (Downtown)

• Steamboat Bill's

• Civic Center

• Carnegie Library

• Luna Bar & Grill


• Peto's

• Market Basket

• Southern Spice


• Post Office

• Market Basket

• Love's Truck Stop


• Brookshires Bros.

• City Hall

• DeRidder Hospital

• Post Office

• Steamboat Bill's




Volume 6 • Number 8 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM March 2019 3

Mar 2019

The Voice's Choice

The Voice's Choice will spotlight groups, individuals or topics

that spread love, joy and peace throughout SWLA.

Tonja Phillips

AKA - Faces By Tonja

Tonja Phillips was born

Tonja Johnson and reared

in Lake Charles, LA. Tonja

loves to share her love of

the south and growing up

in the culture of the Bayou.

Her childhood was vibrant

and filled with family. Tonja’s

household was Christian and

she and her siblings grew up

in the church. As a kid she would take her baby dolls and

draw make up on them with anything she could get her

hands on. It made sense that after finishing high school

at Washington-Marion High School, Tonja decided to go

to cosmetology school at Demmons School of Beauty.

She recounts loving the originality of the school and felt

the school didn’t receive the proper acknowledgement it

deserved considering the amount of amazing MUA and

Hairstylists the school produced.

See more on Q&A with Tonja Johnson Phillips on page 24…

22 ADVENTURES of the Lake



8 Healthy Recipes


Brenda Hill

General Manager

Tracy Clark

Art Director

Vinh Alexander

Community Coordinator

Ken Williamson /Sales

Acquisition Editor

Braylin Jenkins

Copy Editors

Jason Clark

Cecely Clark

Ann Champagne


Gene R. Hill, Sr.

Reginald Clark































DISCLOSURE: All materials contained in the publication are copy-righted and not to be reproduced or reprinted in part or its entirety without the expressed written permission

of The Voice of SWLA. The views expressed in articles of The Voice of SWLA are not necessarily the views of the ownership or sponsors in this publication. The Voice of SWLA assumes

no liability for errors or omissions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all content.


Brenda Hill

Marshall Simien

Emily Ashworth RN, BSN

Braylin Jenkins

Joyce R. Kebodeaux

Kelly Love

Carra Sergeant, Ph. D.; LPC-S

Lela Gholar Tizano

Tonja Phillips, Make-Up Artist



Team Publications LLC.

4310 Ryan St. Ste. 123

Lake Charles, LA. 70605

In the McNeese SEED Center


4 March 2019 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 6 • Number 8

SWLA news

By Marshall Simien


Purpose of the LC North

Redevelopment Authority

This article was written by Marshall Simien, District A City Council 2009. It is being

reprinted in response to occurrences at a recent Lake Charles City Council meeting

on February 20, 2019. People perish without strong vision.

The Lake Charles North

Redevelopment Authority

has been created. It is

now up to the Board to be up to a

task that is both undeniably noble

and historically difficult. Some

feel the Board is unnecessary.

Some supposedly communityminded

folks are teeing up to

put in their potshots at this

Board. Naysayers will issue

invitations to dwell with them in

their bottomless pit of excuses

to fail. Yet others are genuinely

instilled with a sense of hope for

the better future that has eluded

this community until recently.

Some will enthusiastically offer

encouragement and, most of

all, prayers to uplift this Board

as it works. Still others are so

desperate for anything resembling

progress, this Board will do no

wrong. Such a broad spectrum.

What’s up with that?

The Board must signal very

quickly how serious this

community is about its

redevelopment. Not only will it

weather storms on the horizon,

but also navigate icebergs hiding

in calm waters. This ship cannot

sink. The Board’s purpose is to

work with government to deliver

services, develop, and redevelop

infrastructure, the backbone of

every community. It is to work

with private businesses to help


Volume 6 • Number 8 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM March 2019 5

SWLA news


LAKE CHARLES-NORTH REPORT: Purpose of the LC North Redevelopment Authority

offer services and jobs to raise

community quality of life. Even

more important, it is to work with

the people to help build the many

bridges needed to cross that divide

and mindset that eats away at

real progress. To do so, it must

be focused, prepared, organized,

methodical and real about what it

can, should and must accomplish.

The mountain in front of this

community can be moved but only

by much faith and really hard work

– from EVERYONE!

Some people believe we have

been handed a lemon. So, let’s

make lemonade. All you need is

a pitcher, some water, something

sweet, and something to stir it

up. The cupboard is not empty.

The pitcher is the people of this

community. Not only will they

contain, maintain, carry and hold

the progress of this community

in their hands, but they also

have the ability to tilt their base

beliefs and pour out refreshment

that can nourish growth and

redevelopment. They must be

cool as ice and be able to handle

the sweat and condensation that

comes from both outside and

within where there is growth and

progress. The bigger the lemon,

the bigger the pitcher!

Okay, what about water? There

is actually plenty of it. The lake

runs into the Calcasieu River which

runs into English Bayou which

runs into Kayouche Coulee. This

community is surrounded by some

of the most beautiful and pristine

waterbodies and wetlands in this

State. And guess what? There is a

way to tap into it. The North Lake

Charles Riverfront Parkway and

Redevelopment Plan is already

being implemented. Some believe

it only deals with development

of the riverfront area where the

Enterprise Boulevard Parkway

extension will be constructed. It

is much more comprehensive

than that. This Plan is for the

redevelopment of Lake Charles-

North in its entirety. It deals

with substantial infrastructure

projects, private investment to

develop much needed services

in the community, and housinghousing-housing.

The waterfront is

simply the most underdeveloped,

underappreciated asset in the

community. It, along with the

I-10 corridor and MLK Highway,

are the prime for the economic

development pump.

How about something sweet?

There is a 60-acre tract of land on

the north side of I-10 between

the Enterprise Boulevard exit

and Kirkman Street. Enterprise

Boulevard between Broad

Street and I-10 has already been

reconstructed. Texas turnarounds

will soon be constructed at the

I-10 underpasses on Enterprise and

Kirkman. At least one shopping

center developer has expressed

an interest in the area. How

sweet it would be if the various

property owners in that area came

together and parcel assembled

this property for future commercial

development? The same holds

true with the open areas along

Enterprise between Broad and

I-10. Would this Board be helpful

in facilitating common ground

between current property owners

first, and then between them

and potential future developers?

This Board can be an asset to this

community’s future growth.

How about something to stir?

When communities develop,

usually housing comes in first,

then businesses and community

support services such as schools,

restaurants, medical centers,

retailers, etc. follow. Not with

redevelopment. Everything is

lifted up, just like everything can

be pulled down. This community

is home to a disproportionate

number of adjudicated properties

which remain out of commerce

because the cost of clearing

titles far outweighs the land’s

value. What a stir it would create

if these properties could be

purchased, titles cleared, and

placed back into commerce

for newly constructed, owner

occupied housing and business

development. What would be

stirred? Homeownership, and

in particular pride of ownership,

brings stability, investment and

enhancement to any community.

When people own homes, they

become concerned about crime.

They want high performing

schools. They patronize

neighborhood businesses and

establish long term relationships

with service providers. When the

quality of life is uplifted, demand is

enhanced and property values rise.

Even rental properties are forced to

raise their standards. Recreational

facilities become social venues.

That certainly should whip up

something sweet. There is a thirst

out there. Let’s quench it!!

6 March 2019 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 6 • Number 8

Volume 6 • Number 8 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM March 2019 7

SWLA business

The Gift

of Hair

Braylin Jenkins

Carol Brent is originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia

and began doing hair at age 14.

Brent became manager of Avery James

School of Cosmetology four years ago.

Hair has been her life. “I have the gift of

hair. “says Brent

Avery James School of Cosmetology was formerly

Demmon School of Beauty. The school was originally

established in 1955 and in 2015 it was purchased and

became Avery James School of Cosmetology.

Cosmetology life tends to

repeat itself. A hair style like

the 'jerry curl, or a flat iron

and straightening comb makes a

comeback.’ A salon hairstylist knows

the differences between hair textures

and hair types. Brent’s role is to

prepare stylists for those entry level

skills. It is with hands-on experience

that they become proficient and

get a true feel for what the hair

industry is like. Brent’s job is to teach

professionalism and to ensure that

students pass their test.

Brent assists students in a multitude

of ways, including everything from

financial aid to personal, marital and

home counseling, etc...

While discussing trends, Brent shared,

“Alternative hair is a hot trend right

now, and is the most lucrative business

in generating more money. Braiding

hair and styling wigs can cost as much

as $300.00 each.” It was interesting to

learn that four out of five people have

alternative hair and the average hair

stylist can earn from $40-$50,000 a year.

As a follow-up, The Voice of Southwest

Louisiana February 2019 Issue

highlighted Barbers and informed

our readers that the March 2019 Issue

would highlight Stylists. We asked

Brent how stylists are trained and what

types of equipment are used for the

different hair textures.

Brent shared insight by saying, “It was

about 20 years ago when different

hair textures, other than Caucasian

textures, were taught and included in

the curriculum across the board."

Avery James School of Cosmetology

assists each stylist with their job

placement following each student’s


One thing to keep in mind regarding

salons and the hair industry is, if

schools or salons close, the need for

cosmetology will never die.

8 March 2019 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 6 • Number 8

SWLA Health Center

Healthy Recipes




8-ounce (2½ cups) medium shell pasta

1, 8-ounce carton (1 cup) plain nonfat yogurt

2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard

2 tablespoons salt-free herb seasoning

1½ cups chopped celery

1 cup sliced green onion

1 lb cooked small shrimp

3 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes (about 3 large)


Per Serving

Makes 12 servings

calories: 140 total

fat: 1g

carbohydrates: 1g

saturated fat: 0.1g

protein: 14g

cholesterol: 60mg

sodium: 135mg

dietary fiber: 1.3g


1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; cool.

2. In a large bowl stir together yogurt, mustard, and herb

seasoning. Add pasta, celery, and green onion; mix well.

Chill at least 2 hours.

3. Just before serving, carefully stir in shrimp and tomatoes.





1 angel food cake

1 pint blueberries 2 pints strawberries

1 package strawberry glaze (1 cup prepared)

1 pint blackberries

1 lemon (sliced)


1. Bake or buy an angel food cake.


Per Serving

Makes 6 servings

calories: 387

total fat: 1.04g

saturated fat: 0.07g

carbohydrates: 88.64g

protein: 9g

cholesterol: 0mg

sodium: 747mg

dietary fiber: 6.70g

2. Cut tops off one pint of strawberries. Combine with ½ pint

of blackberries, ½ pint of blueberries, and strawberry glaze.

Reserve remaining berries for garnish.

3. Mix well so that berries are thoroughly coated with glaze.

4. To serve, spoon ½ to ¾ cup of glazed berry mixture over

each slice of cake. Garnish each slice with a slice of lemon

and a few unglazed berries.

Volume 6 • Number 8 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM March 2019 9

SWLA Health Center

By Braylin Jenkins

"Caring for the Community, because at the Center is You!"

Jessica Jolly

Chief Operating Officer

JayVon Muhammad

Chief Executive Officer

New to



It’s one thing to see brick and mortar at 2000

Opelousas Street in Lake Charles, Louisiana, but it’s an

entirely different perspective to get to know the people

who occupy the space and their stories. The Voice of

Southwest Louisiana was honored to have met two

women whose heart and careers have been focused on

ensuring the black community does well.


March 2019 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 6 • Number 8

The Lake Area can now

be proud to know that

these two women are now

residents of Southwest

Louisiana and have brought

their skills, education and

experiences to the SWLA

Center for Health Services

implementing several

key adjustments and

changes that are already

significantly making the

community happier and

most importantly healthier.

Lead Healthcare

with Compassion

and Clarity


One of twelve girls, born and raised

in the San Francisco Bay Area,

JayVon Muhammad, the newly

named Chief Executive Officer at the

SWLA Center for Health Services, comes

from what she refers to as a challenged

family that faced numerous social and

economic challenges. Like many other

Black families in the early 1980s and

1990s, her mother, a fashion model,

struggled with a drug addiction, and her

father, in addition to being the manager

of Sly and the Family Stone, was a wellknown

‘hustler’ in the community. She

became a young mother in high school

which marked the beginning of her

journey to the SWLA Center for Health

Services. As a young mother with a GED,

training and experience she became a

midwife spending much of her adult

career in delivery with an attachment

to pregnant teens and working in

clinics; a strong believer of home birth.

Muhammad has five grandchildren of her

own, with most being home births.

After having her daughter, she became

a medical assistant and had the desire

to become a foster parent. She was 21

and there were only two homes in the

area that would take care of pregnant

teens. The region did not understand

why someone at her age would want to

become a foster parent and work with

teenage moms.

Working in two communities that

faced many challenges, one of them

being a historically black community.

Muhammad became a midwife and was

passionate about serving the people

who made a way for her. Her journey in

midwifery came with addressing many

of the disparities in pregnancy outcomes

for black women. Just as infant mortality

rates are a factor, maternal mortality rates

often go undiscussed.

In the United States, Muhammad

says, “Studies show that black

women are almost 4 times as

likely to die during child birth than

white women.”

Muhammad was hired as the Maternal

Health Coordinator at a clinic in Marin

City, California. She set up a much needed

maternity program similar to one in the

community she grew up in. Muhammad

was later appointed CEO. She admits

she was afraid of the title and position

at first, but after much thought, she

recognized the opportunity to work to

influence health care for women. As C.E.O.

Muhammad was able to oversee dollars

associated with a variety of disciplines of

medicine. Typically, a black person may

get a position, but rarely can have the

opportunity to be most effective due to

lack of control over the money.

"Sometimes the challenge for

those who are trying to build in

the black community is lack of

resources. So, you might get a

position, but you don't get to have

control of the money. You don't

get to have control over what

programs you create, you have

other people in your ear telling

you from the outside in, what

they think the community needs,

sometimes just based on what

others think is important."

Six years later in 2019 Muhammad

relocated and joined the SWLA Center for

Health Services. Learning of Judge Gene

Thibodeaux and Milton Bellard’s story of

opening the clinic confirmed everything

for her. “I have to do my part historically

to give because it couldn’t have been

easy for two black men to declare I’m

going to open a clinic and then win

some resources,” said Muhammad. She

expressed that she accepted this role

because of the similar stories between

the current and former clinic knowing

that she can potentially make a difference

for the betterment of our community and

its residents.

The second God send comes in

the form of Jessica Jolly, Chief

Operating Officer, hailing from

the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. Early

on, Jessica was exposed to poor air quality

in her community leading her to be born

premature. Less than five pounds, Jessica

spent the first months of life in the hospital.

She suffered with severe asthma

and relied on her inhaler daily. Her

experiences led to her interest in the

health field. Her father who was a

teacher, instilled in her the importance

of education, however her health

condition caused her to miss up to 12

days of school each year and nearly

failing courses.


Volume 6 • Number 8 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM March 2019 11

SWLA feature story

Initially Jessica thought she would

pursue a career as a pediatrician.

Jessica attended the University of

Michigan where she earned a full tuition

scholarship majoring in Psychology

and minoring in Spanish. Her course

changed after a professor told her she

didn’t deserve to attend the University.

This serve as a springboard to explore

alternative options to pursue community


Jolly shared a pivotal moment in

her academic career that changed

her life’s trajectory. Jessica sought

assistance from a professor who

she expected guidance and

support from. Instead she was met

with indifference and callousness.

"I thought he was going to be

very supportive. I attended office

hours to receive assistance. I was

there early and stayed late. "Do

you know what that man had the

nerve to tell me? He said, "You

don't belong, you don't deserve

to be in this class. Why are you

here?" That moment really shook

me because I deserved to be there,

I worked my butt off, I got full

scholarship and did everything I was

supposed to. I remember having

to go to the bathroom and take a

moment to regroup and think.”

That moment in her life placed a new

objective before her to look at the

administrative side of health systems

and change the institutions who train

and develop our medical professionals. In

2007 Jolly met her first mentor, a highly

educated, strong, and compassionate

woman of color who showed her the

path to public health and giving back to

the community.

During her internship with Henry

Ford Health System, Jessica worked


with providers, staff, and patients to

significantly reduce the time for those

waiting for a bone marrow transplant.

When Jolly arrived, the wait was

anywhere from 12-24 months, if not

longer. With the new process in place

the wait time decreased to 30-40 days

changing those lives for the better. That

process has been replicated across the


Jolly knew health administration was her

niche, but she took a detour and became

a teacher for three years in honor of her

dad, a teacher.

Her most significant experience gained

came while teaching, kindergarten,

first grade and fifth grade in an

underprivileged community of Atlanta,

Georgia. School was the only resource

of their community. Jolly played many

roles as mom, nurse, grandma and

interacted with moms and their children

frequently. She even assisted in a dental


Many parents struggled with addictions,

poverty and lack of education. Jolly

felt these were the most life changing

opportunities for her to love on the

children and do what she could

for them. Reflecting back gets her

emotional just knowing how much

of a difference she was able to make.

Jolly shared her story of Jason, whose

character changed after having difficulty

with his teeth, later to learn he had an

abscess. This experience made her want

to go back to the medical field because

their were no clinics in the area for

Jason. Especially for him to access high

quality comprehensive health services.

Jolly had a diverse set of experiences

that formulated her passion for health

and health care. Her dad was diagnosed

with HIV and his near-death experience,

inspired her to join the AIDS Resource

Center of Ohio, a Ryan White federal

grantee clinic. Thanks to treatment he

is alive today. Jolly returned to Georgia

to work with the Emory University

Eye Center working to expand vision

services at eye clinics in the community.

She helped establish certifications at a

community-based hospital to adequately

care for stroke and hypertension patients.

She developed programs to assist young

people in middle and high school enter

the health field to give back to their


Hurricane Katrina put the city of

New Orleans in a unique position to

provide quality healthcare services.

This lead Jolly to accept a position at

Ochsner Health System in New Orleans.

After facing a situation where leadership

refused to see a grandmother and

granddaughter on the basis of their

insurance, she departed from the

organization. Her thought being how

could they turn her back on the very

people who make them money, but

yet the health system wouldn’t see

them. Jolly accepted a position with the

Louisiana Department of Health Office of

Public Health where she advocated for

public health and access to health care

for vulnerable populations. This ultimately

led her the opportunity to work in Lake

Charles at SWLA Health Services Center

with JayVon Muhammad, CEO.

With shared and different focuses

and expertise, Muhammad and Jolly

plan to implement, grow, and expand

services for all four SWLA sites. Obstacles

in Louisiana particularly in the black

community include access to care, infant

mortality, chronic diseases, and HIV/STI

rates. They are focused on taking steps

beyond just plans and seeing how they

can translate those plans in a real way

to make change and create a healthier

Southwest Louisiana.

In an effort to raise more

capital for the clinic and make

the gymnasium profitable,

Muhammad has just made an

offer to a Development Director


March 2019 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 6 • Number 8

whose sole job is to raise funding

for the clinic which would allow

for expansion of services that

goes beyond what a federal

grant allows. This goes back to

Muhammad’s core desire for black

people to do well. She believes

that when black people do well,

everyone of all nationalities and

backgrounds benefits.

Jolly is currently focused on

implementing strategies that improve

the patient, employee, provider, and

commmunity experience.

The Voice of Southwest Louisiana

Editor-in-Chief Brenda Hill expressed her

appreciation to both women for sharing

their stories and allowing The Voice to

use their platform for purposes such as

these. It is no question why these two

women featured in this piece will carry

out both the mission and vision daily,

ensuring that patients no longer need

to wait outside earlier than necessary to

make sure they are seen. Nor limit hours

that make it more difficult for patients to

receive care. These are only a few of the

issues they have taken notice of and are

working to improve for the betterment of

our community.

If you are unfamiliar with the center’s

history, SWLA Center for Health

Services is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit

community-based organization that

was incorporated in 1978.

Milton J. Bellard

Judge Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux

and serve them with respect and dignity.

Also, to provide the highest quality

of health care that is essential to the

patient that reflects the essence of the

health care profession while aspiring

to eliminate all disparities in access to

healthcare. That is why we have sought

and have been accredited by the Joint

Commission of Health Care Organization

since 2006

Milton J. Bellard, a local community

advocate and organizer along with,

Judge Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux

organized and founded Bayou

Comprehensive Health Foundation

Incorporated in 1978. The goal was

to organize a community health center

that would diminish deplorable health

conditions for over 23,000 residents living

in the North Lake Charles area.

The corporation received twenty-five

thousand dollars in grant monies in

1981 which led to the opening of a

free-standing health clinic on Moeling

Street. Two physicians, Dr. Pamela Hollins

and Dr. Reginald Sykes were brought on

and supported by two clerical support

staff members and Mr. Bellard. It was

three years later that the clinic received

a Section 330 grant from the U.S. Public

Health Service to operate a federally

funded community health center (FQHC)

in the Southwest Louisiana region.

The Center has since grown from one

site with five employees to four facilities

operating; Lake Charles, Lafayette,

Crowley and Oberlin, Louisiana, nearly

two hundred employees with an annual

budget approaching $16 million, and an

aim to make sure their patient services

are coordinated across all four locations.

SWLA Center for Health Services

prides itself on the development and

implementation of services to provide

quality, cost effective comprehensive

primary health care and support services,

If you have a student or know of one,

please refer them to the SWLA Health

Center site to review the criteria and if

eligible, apply for a scholarship with a

deadline of March 22, 2019.

For more on the SWLA Center for

Health Services, please visit www. and visit the links included

in this article to better understand what

our community is facing and what it all

means in relation to you and your family.



Volume 6 • Number 8 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM March 2019 13

My Senior Moment 2.0

By Joyce R. Kebodeaux

L-R: Jesse Hite,

Mike Richard,

Agnes Vaughn,

Elena Miller, Helen

Budge, Chip Burns.

Back Row L-R: Kay

Morgan, Josephine

Edwards, Sue

Richard, Joe Miller,

Dave Weinfeter,

Judy Weinfeter,

Steve Guidry.

L-R: Joe Miller,

Helen Budge,

Elena Miller.

It’s great to be alive

and help others is

the motto of the

Mended Hearts.

Mended hearts

based in Dallas,

Texas is a national

organization with

300 chapters all over

the country. Mended

hearts was begun

over 65 years ago

and visits 200,000

patients every year.


March 2019 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 6 • Number 8



Join to



In Lake Charles, Chapter 18 meets monthly

on the third Wednesday at 11 AM. The

meeting place alternates between Lake

Charles Memorial Hospital and Christus St.

Patrick Hospital. Anyone interested in heart

disease or heart problems is welcome. Guest

speakers attend the meetings with information

pertaining to the heart. New discoveries in heart

health are discussed. Home health groups come

in to discuss what they have to offer the patients.

At the meetings healthy eating and exercise

are encouraged. New ideas and healthy recipes

are exchanged at the meeting A healthy meal is

served to members at all meetings.

Helen Budge has been a dedicated member

since her late husband, Ray had open heart

surgery. She is 91 years young and doesn’t

suffer with heart disease. Helen is busy at the

bake sale fundraiser. Last year she baked 120 pecan

tarts. She enjoys the camaraderie of the group

and continues to work at educating others about

heart disease. She has served as both treasurer and

secretary. Helen received an award last November in

honor of her 21 years of service.

Mended Hearts members wearing red vests can

be seen in the halls of the hospitals. After surgery

Mended Hearts gives a certificate to patients with

the name of the hospital, type of surgery, name

of visitor chairperson and the visitors sign for

verification. If a patient is moved to rehabilitation

the doctor must give permission for a Mended

Hearts member to visit there.

They visit only with those cleared by their doctors

for their visits. Mended Hearts Visitors must be

certified to make these visits. To be certified the

visitor must attend a hospital seminar. It is also

required that they get their flu shots and be tested

for tuberculosis. Members receive the magazine,”

Heart Beat” and pamphlets that contain information

about new techniques and other helpful tips. Mended

Hearts members also take part in health fairs to offer

information and make the community aware of the

role they play in heart health.

Their red vests identify them as visitors. They

visit with patients awaiting open heart surgery to

put them at ease. They also speak with them and

their families after surgery. Joe and Elena Miller

became certified visitors twelve years ago right

after his open-heart surgery. Joe is now president

of the local chapter while Elena serves as secretary.

Theirs is a team effort. They visit patients and

families together. On their visits Joe tells patients

of his own personal experiences. Elena talks to the

caregivers about her experiences while she cared

for Joe after his surgery. Elena said preparing their

meals around Joe’s diet makes her own eating

healthier. She too stresses exercising for a healthier

heart. She goes on to say;” It is rewarding to us

members to give back what we received.”

Volume 6 • Number 8 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM March 2019 15

SWLA business

“Building Wealth

Through Tax Planning”

By Kelly Love

Manager – tax services

J. Walker & Company, APC

Accumulating assets is

a lifelong process with

many considerations

and changes over time.

Basic principles involve

increasing income and

reducing expenses.

The following are

some suggestions for

reaching a more secure

financial future.

Make a budget that is

reasonable and that you can

live with, then stick to it. It

will take modification, but the

important thing is to begin.

Start with the fixed items such

as monthly income and set

expenditures such as rent or a

house payment. Next, review

discretionary items that you

have some control over. You

may control and reduce your

utility costs, dining out or the

all-inclusive cable television

package that you may not

really use. Review your

spending habits from your

check book, bank and credit

card statements to see your

actual activities. Consider

how you feel about those

expenditures and adjust your

lifestyle accordingly.

It’s your life and your lifestyle,

consider what is important to

you. Reducing debt is better

than increasing income. An

increase in income involves

paying taxes on that revenue.

Reducing or paying off debt

does not involve being taxed

on the payment. Additional

principal payments on your

mortgage reduces the number

of years that you are in debt

and it saves on interest

payments. Examine your

mortgage, auto loan and other

loan statements. The early

years of the loan involve very

large payments for interest and

far less toward the principal.

Simply put, the bank makes

their money first. Paying down

in the early years is far more

productive than near the end

of the term. A dollar saved is

actually a dollar earned plus

the taxes you would pay on

that earned dollar.

When you receive a raise or

bonuses, consider saving them

and living on your previous

level of income. Living on

your previous salary over

the years can help attain a

rather painless accumulation

of wealth. Placing the

new-found income into a

retirement vehicle such as

an IRA or employer matched

plan is even more beneficial

as it may offer tax savings as

well. Compounding the effect

of saving funds, tax benefits

and a matching employer

contribution is a great way to

accelerate the accumulation


Review your prior years income

tax returns. Did you receive a

large refund or owe taxes?

A large refund may

be nice, but you

have really given

the government an

interest free loan to

use your money during

the year.

Consider adjusting your

withholding so that you do

not owe taxes but also so that

your refund is not too great.

Looking back on last year is

beneficial in planning for this

Jonald J. Walker III, CPA, CGMA

Kelly Love, CPA

Ming Yang, CPA

year particularly in the areas

that you can control such as

retirement plan contributions.

Consider the way you

think. Do you get excited

over a 20% discount on a

$50 expenditure? That’s a

savings of $10. What about

a 5% discount on $200? Not

so much? It’s the same $10.

Remember, you will never

save money if spending it only

for a discount. Consider the

purchase for its own merits –

were you going to make the

purchase anyway?


March 2019 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 6 • Number 8

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Volume 6 • Number 8 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM March 2019 17

SWLA business


Basic Principles of Life

By Braylin Jenkins

Paul Charles began as a child growing small

gardens with his grandfather, which is where

he developed his green thumb, learning how to

grow and harvest a multitude of produce.

Before you begin, Charles says, “Having a soil test

known as the “pH” (a scale used in chemistry to

represent acidic, basic or neutral nature of solutions)

is most important to decide what will grow best with

the soil you have.” The pH test can be done at your area

agricultural center.

High concentrations of nitrogen can alter growth

depending on what you plant and the time of year.

Personally, Charles avoids using heavy commercial

fertilizer by using rabbit and chicken manure to stay as

natural as possible.

The primary thing to take into consideration when

gardening after checking the soil is the weather. If

it’s a rainy season it will be difficult to grow anything,

however if there’s plenty of sun it’s ideal for your crops.

Charles’ grandfather based his gardening on the moon

and by seasons.

Leafy vegetables like mustard greens, kale, collards,

turnips etc. are best during the winter/fall phase. In

spring you cultivate your ground around February and

the season is great for underground vegetables like

potatoes are best. Around Good Friday, Charles plants

his okra, beans, peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Another factor to consider is the ground. If possible,

organic gardening is the best way to go, the natural

method of growing, without the use of chemicals.

Charles encourages you to consider gardening.

While gardening you have the opportunity to connect

and communicate with God and nature, relieve stress,

take your mind off any difficulties or challenges you

may be facing, and it can also be a great opportunity

to teach young people basic principles of life.


March 2019 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 6 • Number 8


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Lake Charles and Jennings






Volume 6 • Number 8 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM March 2019 19

Peace from Pieces

By Carra Sergeant, Ph. D.; LPC-S

Licensed Professional Counselor

LADIES: Is He Mr. Right

or Mr. Right NOW?

I am not single. I am not taken. I am simply on

reserve for the one who deserves my heart.


OK, so you are officially in the

dating game, either as a firsttimer,

or as a returnee. It feels

both thrilling and terrifying at the same

time, doesn’t it? If you are dipping your

toe into the dating pool as a first timer,

you probably have NO CLUE what to

run towards and what to run from. If,

however, you are just out of a marriage/

relationship, you probably have a more

clear view of what you are looking for in

a partner. You have been hurt, though,

so it is likely that you no longer trust your

intuition. Either way, you have decided

to send out the casting call for “Mr. Right.”

At worst, you get a sense of what “not my

type” looks like, in the middle, you make

a few good friends, and at best, you find

the partner you have been looking for.

BRACE YOURSELF… I promise you that

this will be a total emotional roller

coaster ride, complete with exhilarating

hair-raising highs and painful stomachchurning

lows. Is it worth all that? Well,

since highs and lows are all part of

tapestry of day-to-day existence anyway,

wouldn’t it be awesome to have someone

to partner with you through that

amusement park ride called life?

For a while, I recommend that you just

jump in and enjoy the ride. Relax, have

fun and savor every moment of the

dating process until you finally meet

someone that you enjoy being with. Over

time, you go on dates, sit close, kiss, hold

hands and one day it hits you: it’s time to

decide whether this is someone that you

want to have in your life over the longhaul,

or whether this is just a time-filler.

Remembering that the operative phrase

here is “OVER TIME,” what is your answer

to the question: Is he Mr. Right or Mr.

Right NOW?


Mr. Right makes you feel indescribably

giddy, fluttery and happy when you have

contact with him. You miss him when you

are not together, but still feel connected

to him. You feel emotionally safe, even

when he is not in your presence.

Mr. Right Now makes you feel

indescribably giddy, fluttery and happy

when you have contact with him. You

miss him when you are not together, but

his absence makes you nervous. What is

he doing? Who is he with? You do not feel

emotionally safe.


Mr. Right hangs on to your every

word. He remembers things that are

important to you, your birthday, favorite

movie, favorite food, etc. He is eager to

learn more about you and what your

life experiences have been. Likewise,

he shares these same things with you,

because he is equally eager for you to get

to know him.

Mr. Right Now hangs on to HIS every

word. He wants to be sure that you

remember HIS birthday, HIS favorite

movie, HIS favorite food, etc. He is eager

for you to hear about his life experiences.

Does he ever ask you about your life, your

interests, your passions and then LISTENS

when you respond?


Mr. Right freely shares his future hopes

and dreams with you. By doing that,

he opens himself up to criticism and

scrutiny but feels safe enough with you

to do just that. In the same vein, he

encourages you to share your hopes

and dreams and sincerely cares about

challenging you and supporting you in

pursuing those dreams.

Mr. Right Now does not even pursue any

discussion of “future” with you. You have

no real idea what direction he is heading

in and likewise, he does not know where

you are headed – because he has not

asked. Is it possible to have a future with


March 2019 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 6 • Number 8

someone without knowing whether he

even has a direction?


Mr. Right is the one person who can

actually make you forget your ex. He

does not make the experience disappear

from your life, but Mr. Right can help

you not give a damn who you were with

before him. He can safely allow you to

talk about your pain and help you work

through the residual damage. The real

plot twist here, is that he allows you to

do the same for him.

Mr. Right Now does not care about any

previous pain you have endured. He does

not want to hear about it. He is THE ONE

in your life now and he is all that matters.

You should be happy that you were lucky

enough to find him because he, and only

he, can protect you from life.


Mr. Right is strong enough to take care

of you emotionally, and loving enough

to take care of you physically. This does

not mean that you cannot take care

of yourself, but a healthy relationship

requires that you allow someone else

in your personal space to support you

in moments that you feel emotionally

vulnerable or, are physically ill. You return

the favor because he will allow you to

support him emotionally and care for him

when he is physically ill.

Mr. Right Now is so needy that all

you have time to do is take care of his

feelings and his needs. Even if you start

to express your emotional vulnerability,

you will notice that, in short order, the

conversation will circle back to how he

feels and what he needs. He is not willing

to defer his gratification long enough

to truly care about your feelings or your



Mr. Right initiates communication with

you. It is not always your responsibility to

start the conversation. If you do initiate,

he takes time to respond even if he is

busy. Sure there are jobs that do not

allow time for long texts or conversations,

but, in this techno age, it takes about

a second to acknowledge you with an

emoji. He does not leave you hanging

all day and half the night.

Mr. Right Now does not reach out

to you. If you want to talk to him,

you have to call. If you text him,

he make or may not respond. If

you find yourself in the middle

of the endless loop of “why

doesn’t he call >>>he’s too

busy >>>why doesn’t he call

>>>oh well he is busy,” my

one word of advice is RUN!


Mr. Right lets you know how he feels. He

is comfortable enough with his emotions

to openly express them to you. There are

no secrets and your gut feels calm and

safe when you think of him. You know

that you are in his heart and that you are

an integral part of his life. You know his

friends, his family and all the stories of

his past. You fit…like pieces of a puzzle,

you fit.

Mr. Right Now treats you like his dirty

little secret. You have never met his

friends or family, and what do you really

know about his past? You feel uneasy

when you are together and sometimes

even catch him sneaking a side glance at

other women on the street.

LADIES, this is not an exhaustive list

but just a few things to watch for while

looking for the right one to spend your

life with. I am not trying to paint Mr. Right

Now as a bad guy. Mr. Right Now for you

may actually be the perfect Mr. Right for

someone else. Also know that dating Mr.

Right Now is not necessarily a bad thing

and you may learn a thing or two from

him. Remember, you gotta kiss a lot of

toads until you find your prince. I wish

you well and hope you find the great love

of your life.

Carra Sergeant, PhD, LPC



For an appointment, call



Volume 6 • Number 8 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM March 2019 21

ADVENTURES of the Lake

By Lela Gholar Tizano



Ethel was tired! Changing bedpans,

cleaning soiled linens, and dealing

with some of the meanest patients

at the nursing home had taken its toll on

her. One of the meanest ever was Miss

Rosie, at least that's what everyone called

her. But it was something about Miss

Rosie. In some strange way, Ethel felt a

connection to her. On her lunch break,

the two of them would sit on the patio,

many times in complete silence. But on

this particular day, Miss Rosie was very


"It sure is a pretty day today don't you

think, Miss Rosie?" Ethel asked cheerfully.

"Season about to change," she


“Yeah, I think so,” Ethel said.

"How long you planning on breaking

your back here doing all this hard work?"

she asked, as she changed the subject.

"It's all I can do right now Miss Rosie. I

want to go back to school and get my

degree, but I don't have the money right

now. Until something better comes

along, you're stuck with me," Ethel

answered with a smile.

"Humph, if you ask me, I think you ought

to get away from here as soon as you

can," she mumbled.

"Miss Rosie, you trying to get rid of me?"

Ethel joked as she ran the brush through

Miss Rosie's silky grey hair.

Miss Rosie waved her hand like she was

shooing an annoying bug,"ain't nobody

trying to get rid of you.” She was too

stubborn to admit she enjoyed Ethel’s

company. She was the only one who ever


Later that night, Ethel sat at the foot of

her bed and massaged her aching feet.

She tossed and turned as Miss Rosie's

advice rang in her ears. Every word she

said was true, but the truth was not

comfortable for Ethel. Going back to

college would mean she would have to

work all day and take classes at night.

Her plate was already full being a single

parent. Then there was the money, the

biggest deal breaker of all.

"That's it," Ethel said to herself, "there's no

way, I can do it.”

The next morning Ethel marched into

Miss Rosie’s room to let her know that

she would not be taking her advice. The

room held an uncomfortable silence.

Miss Rosie’s bed was stripped of its linen

and her things were packed away in the


The nurse walked in with an envelope

with Ethel’s name on it. “Miss Rosie

passed away last night but she left this

for you.”

Ethel steadied herself with the arm of the

chair and tried to gain her composure.

Through tear filled eyes she opened the


“Thank you for being so kind to me. Take

this money and go to college like I told

you,” Miss Rosie had written on a small

slip of paper with a check inside.

Ethel reflected on their last visit together.

Truer words had never been spoken

when Miss Rosie told her “season about

to change.”

That day Ethel’s season changed. Because

of her encounter with a little old lady,

she was able to go college and get her

degree. She was forever grateful that she

took the time to reach out to someone

who needed a friend.


March 2019 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 6 • Number 8

SWLA community event

LC Community Band

Spring Concert

Legends Concert:

The Music Makers

Sunday, March 17 at 3 PM

Trinity Baptist Church on

Nelson Road

Admission is FREE

to the public

The Spring 2019 concert will feature special guest,

the Bayou Bell Ringers under the direction of Bruce

Allured. They will perform "Allegro Giocoso" from

"The Water Music" Suite composed by legendary Baroque

composer George Fredrick Handel. Other performances by

the Bayou Bell Ringers include "Hallelujah" by Leonard

Cohen, "Stairway to Heaven" by Zeplin, and "Over the

Rainbow" by Harold Alden and Chris Peck.

As the concert will occur on St. Patrick's Day, guests can

look forward to hearing a piece inspired by a British poet

of Irish descent, "The Music Makers" by Alfred Reed. Some

of the many other selections planned for the concert will

include "The Golden Age of Broadway," "El Gato Montes

(The Wildcat)," and "Into the Woods," which debuted on

Broadway in 1987 and was released as a movie version by

the Walt Disney Company in 2014.

Next up on the calendar will be the "Catch-A Concert

Series" every Monday in June and the "Red, White, Blue,

and You" concert on July 4.

The City of Lake Charles fully complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Americans with Disabilities Act, and related statutes, executive

orders, and regulations in all programs and activities. The City operates without regard to race, color, national origin, income, gender, age, and disability.

Any person who believes him/herself or any specific class of persons, to be subjected to discrimination prohibited by Title VI/Americans with

Disabilities Act may by him/herself or by representative file a written complaint with the City of Lake Charles. The City's Title VI Coordinator/ADA

Coordinator may be reached by phone at (337) 491-1440, the Mayor's Action Line at (337) 491-1346, or contact the appropriate Department Head.

City of Lake Charles, 326 Pujo Street, 900 Lakeshore Drive, 1001 Ryan Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601

Volume 6 • Number 8 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM March 2019 23



Tonja Johnson Phillips, Make-Up Artist

Who started with the practice of

Q wearing makeup?

ATonja: The originators of

cosmetics would be the

Egyptians. They applied eye makeup

called Mesdement- a mixture of

Copper and Lead Ore to put around the

eyes. We have now evolved from that at

this point with makeup.

Tonja Johnson Phillips

Make-Up Artist (MUA)

“I enjoy going out and listening to live music with my

husband in DC!!!! And I love to walk around downtown

DC and look at all the beautiful monuments.”

The Voice of Southwest Louisiana reached out to Tonja

Johnson Philips, Make-Up Artist (MUA), and asked her

questions about makeup, the beginning and to share tips for

makeup as it pertains to Southwest Louisiana.

Enjoy her responses to our questions, experience her 2019 Spring Faces by Tonja

and view her short video.



com/2014/05/22/ Why Did Women

Start Wearing Makeup?

QAre there any health concerns

about the long-term use of

wearing makeup?

ATonja: It is always best to properly

remove your make up daily and

follow up with your daily cleansing

regiment for long lasting beautiful skin

and drink lots of water.

QHow do you maintain your

health and professional look after

growing up in Southwest Louisiana

experiencing its flavors, seasonings and


ATonja: I try to exercise daily by

walking and doing yoga at home.

I also eat lots of fruits and vegetables

with low carbs. And I try to live a vegan

lifestyle 2 to 3 times a week. And I drink

lots of water.

QWould you get us ready for Spring

fashion by sharing some makeup

tips pertaining to our climate and

culture in Southwest Louisiana?

ATonja: For Spring Look 2019

-The Look will be: Glowing and

Dewey skin. Bronze cheeks, shades

of pretty pastels on the eyes! Lips for

the Spring will be a pop of color like

electric Pinks, Rosie Reds, and vibrant

Corals. With the climate in Southwest

Louisiana less is more! Create a Healthy

Even Glowing skin with a light to

medium coverage foundation with a

very good setting powder and setting

spray! Groomed Brows are a must to

Frame your Gorgeous Sun Kiss Face.

Lashes or waterproof mascara as well

as waterproof eyeliner! Put on popping

lip and you’re ready to go!!


March 2019 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 6 • Number 8



Faces By Tonja Phillips

Volume 6 • Number 8 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM March 2019 25

SWLA nonprofit






Society Top

20 Event

Contributed Article

The Southeast Tourism Society (STS) recently

honored the Black Heritage Festival as a 2019

Top 20 Event for the month of March.

Celebrating diversity, culture and education, the festival

kicks off on March 9 at the Lake Charles Civic Center from

noon to 6 p.m. The event is filled with legendary Zydeco,

Blues and Gospel performers, as well as The Market Place,

featuring African art, clothing and more! Admission to the

festival is free. On Sunday, “The Other Black History,” a play

by Lake Charles native Flint Michell, will be performed at

the Central School Arts & Humanities Center Benjamin

Mount Theatre. The play will begin at 4 p.m. and tickets are

$20 for adults and $15 for students.

The Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors

Bureau is a member of STS, an organization that

promotes travel to and within the southeastern part of the

United States. The bureau nominates all area fairs, festivals

and events quarterly. The STS Top 20 Events marketing

program highlights the “best of the best” from submitted


Events are selected from each of the following STS

member states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky,

Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina,

Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The Top 20 Events

publication is sent to over 1,600 newspapers, magazines,

radio stations, TV stations, AAA publications and others.

The combined circulation of organizations using the

publication is well into the millions. Therefore, the

potential media coverage of these events has made the

Top 20 Events list a coveted honor.

PHOTO: Left to Right: Evette Gradney, Vice Chairman of the Lake Charles/SWLA CVB

Board, and Judith Washington, Executive Director of the Black Heritage Festival.

For more information, contact the Lake Charles/Southwest

Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau at 436-9588 or



March 2019 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 6 • Number 8

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Volume 6 • Number 8 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM March 2019 27

“ Caring for the Community, because at the Center is You!”

“ Caring for the Community, because at the Center is You!”

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