100 episodes

Promoting the people and rich culture of Lafayette, the gateway to South Louisiana and the region known as "Acadiana."

Discover Lafayette Jan Swift

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9 • 26 Ratings

Promoting the people and rich culture of Lafayette, the gateway to South Louisiana and the region known as "Acadiana."

    Dr. Jeffrey Joseph of Acadian ENT

    Dr. Jeffrey Joseph of Acadian ENT

    Dr. Jeffrey Joseph, otolaryngologist and facial plastic surgeon of Acadian ENT joins Discover Lafayette to discuss his 29-year career in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. Dr. Joseph works with a team of other ENT specialists and staff, including Drs. Bradley Chastant and Ryan Chastant.  Their practice recently merged with Camellia ENT, which has been in operation since 1990, and now includes Drs. David Foreman, Lane Anzalone, and Jimmy White.

    Dr. Joseph has been seeing patients in Southwest Louisiana since 1993. His professional acumen in performing rhinoplasty and rejuvenation surgery on the aging face has made him well-known and in demand in our community. He is also known nationally and in 2003, Dr. Joseph was the only Louisiana facial plastic surgeon included in the book "The Beauty Makers" featuring talented facial plastic surgeons in the U. S.

    A native of Crowley, his father owned Emile Joseph Menswear in the Northgate Mall and in the South College Shopping Center. Dr. Joseph was always interested in medicine since he was a young boy, and followed the advice of his best friend's dad, the late Nolan Edwards, who told him if he was going to be a doctor, he should be a plastic surgeon because he liked to draw and paint. "I started thinking this would be a good avenue for me to do the two things that I'm most passionate about, taking care of people and drawing and painting!"

    At Acadian ENT, each doctor has their own niche and you have plastic surgery options as well as treatment for allergy and sinus issues, hearing loss, and hearing aid and cochlear implants. Patients have access to skincare and facial treatments, and innovative laser procedures. The full suite of services offered include • Allergy Center • Skincare Center • Hearing & Balance Center • Facial Plastics Center • Radiological services / CT Scan • Onsite pharmacy • Onsite surgical suite • Hearing aid repair options. In particular, Dr. Joseph is proud to offer a convenient onsite CT scanner so that patients don't have to go to another facility to get a scan taken. Dr. Joseph practices at their office at 1000 W. Pinhook Rd, Suite 201 and the South Lafayette location is at 1039 Camellia Blvd. Acadian ENT also has offices in Kaplan and Crowley.

    While Acadian ENT offers a full array of skin care services, Dr. Joseph gives simple advice to take care of your skin and avoid unnecessary damage. "Wash with soap such as Purpose or Cetaphil. Use sunscreen and a topical Vitamin C or retinol product. It all starts with taking care of your skin and protecting yourself from the sun. Consistency with good products is the key."

    Dr. Joseph won't operate on smokers and he works to try to get people to their ideal weight prior to surgery to obtain the best results. The most requested "anything" is people wanting to look like a Kardashian. Many of his patients have had skin cancer removed and need reconstruction of their face post-Mohs surgery to restore symmetry.

    While most plastic surgeons perform 12 to 20 facelifts a year, Dr. Joseph performs over 100, which is a lot for a town of our size. While surgery can cause immense bruising and discoloration for the first few days, Dr. Joseph follows up with his patients every day for the first five days to check the healing process and give an accurate assessment to the patients as to how well they are healing. On the fifth day, stitches are removed and the patient's hair is washed in the office. Most bruising is gone by the 7th day and by the 10th-day post-surgery, the typical patient can get out and about. Supplements such as arnica and bromelain work wonders to keep bruising and swelling under control. And more common sense advice from the doc: Vicks salve (Vaporub) helps with bruising for anyone....surgery or not.

    • 38 min
    Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser

    Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser

    Our guest is Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, the 54th person to serve the State of Louisiana in this capacity.

    Billy Nungesser's drive to rebuild the tourism industry of Louisiana as we exit the pandemic is admirable, and we are well on the way to breaking the historic number of visitors we experienced in 2019 right before the pandemic. "In 2019, over 53 million people visited Louisiana leaving behind $1.9 billion in tax dollars, over $1,100 for each Louisiana family. By 2023, we'll be back to record-breaking numbers, In Louisiana, we treat strangers like family. You leave Louisiana with a friend for life and you keep coming back. Especially in the Acadiana region."

    Billy brings a unique joie de vivre to his position. Enthusiastic and hard-working, he became nationally known 12 years ago when serving as President of Plaquemines Parish in the aftermath of one of the biggest environmental disasters in history, the BP Oil Spill. He became the voice of Louisiana’s frustration and the New York Times named him the "hardest working man in Louisiana."

    Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser pictured hunting with South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pam Evette in Louisiana swamps, 2022

    Never seeing himself as a politician, Billy and his wife were living in Plaquemines Parish where they had built a riding center for special needs kids. With the 26 horses (and a few donkeys) they offered, he said, "We watched miracles happen in these young lives who had been wheelchair-bound." He also was a rancher with 400 head of cattle and 200 head of elk and had a successful business converting shipping containers into offshore living quarters.

    When Katrina hit in 2005, Billy found himself not only with animals to rescue, but neighbors who were stranded with no help. He took in 30 people who lived with him for months. Commissioner Agriculture Mike Strain's dad and uncle, who were in the cattle business with him, lived with him for a year after Katrina, rescuing animals. "I never saw a politician come by. I got so aggravated that people were left on their own." He got angry enough to run for Plaquemines Parish President and won. He became a voice of Louisiana and its people.

    Billy Nungesser in the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill which was one of the biggest environmental disasters in U. S. history, leaving so many birds dead and destroying our seafood industry along the coast.

    Billy was elected to serve as our Lt. Governor in 2016. The Office of Lieutenant Governor oversees many departments, with its main responsibility being Culture, Recreation, and Tourism, overseeing state parks and nine museums. Keep Louisiana Beautiful is also an important focus, as Lt. Gov. Nungesser strives to build awareness in our citizens of the importance of cleaning up our state.

    Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser spoke highly of Matt Stuller and his initiative, Parish Proud, for its heroic efforts to clean up Lafayette Parish and end the habit of littering. We can all do our part to pitch in and change our culture. For more information on Parish Proud, visit https://parishproud.org/

    He also believes that the Historical Preservation and Revitalization of Downtowns throughout Louisiana is of critical importance. For an overview of grants and tax incentives, visit https://www.crt.state.la.us/cultural-development/historic-preservation/main-street/.

    As a former Parish President of Plaquemines, Billy shared the importance of all businesses, strip malls, and restaurants putting out trash bins so that it is easy to dispose of trash. "When I was Parish President, we put out 20 trash cans along Hwy. 23 at an angle where people could throw their trash from their cars.

    • 35 min
    Dr. Gary Wagner – 2022 Economic Update

    Dr. Gary Wagner – 2022 Economic Update

    We’re joined by Dr. Gary Wagner, Acadiana Business Economist and Endowed Chair at UL- Lafayette B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration.

    This is Dr. Wagner's second interview, the first having been conducted in March of 2020, right before the pandemic shut down things for a while and threw the employment market a curve ball unlike any other.

    The pandemic recession was historic. Dr. Wagner always tracks economic data and was taken aback by the number of job losses we saw in a short period of time, saying, "It was like nothing we had seen in 80 to 100 years."

    Thankfully, the U. S. has regained all the jobs that were lost. Lafayette has done very well in the past six months compared to the rest of Louisiana, with many job gains in the healthcare sector. The oil and gas sector has not lost jobs but is still hovering at about 13,000, where we were at the end of 2014 when the bottom fell out of the market.

    With oil and gas still being the highest-paying job field in Louisiana, the state of this industry is of crucial concern. Dr. Wagner reflected on the mid-1980s when the energy industry peaked and constituted one-third of Louisiana's economy; 33 cents of every dollar earned at that time was tied to oil and gas. Today, it's 1%. In Dr. Wagner's view, "We're now seeing the consequences of antiquated tax policies put in place decades ago which are not conducive to attracting business. By historically relying upon oil and gas production as a captive resource with our tax system built around that commodity," we can expect stagnant business conditions.

    Southern states tend to rely upon sales taxes rather than property taxes, which in Dr. Wagner's view is a less stable and regressive way to tax citizens. He prefers to see a property tax as the main source of revenue as it is more stable and less impactful on lower-income individuals who end up spending a bigger chunk of their income on taxes when they purchase basic commodities.

    Healthcare is driving job growth in Acadiana and is our top employer along with education, with 20% of our jobs coming from these two sectors. Six percent of our local economy is oil and gas related. Wagner noted that our region recovered very quickly after the hit it took in late 2014. "It says a lot about our people as not many regions have bounced back after such a blow to their economies."

    With UL-Lafayette now being designated as a Carnegie R1 university (top-tier research institution), Lafayette and the surrounding region have much to celebrate. Dr. Wagner said this recognition will attract talented people and not just academics who want to work for UL. Lafayette will be viewed as a hub for creativity, talent, and innovation. Innovation is what drives a region. Other metro areas that have R1 universities, such as Austin, Columbus OH, and Raleigh/Durham, have all grown exponentially and are known for attracting talent. He noted that he could think of only two thriving metro areas that don't have R1 universities: Boise, Idaho has Hewlett Packard and attracts top talent; and Rochester, Minnesota has the Mayo Clinic and is a medical hub.

    "Lafayette is a great place to live with a great university. I've worked at other R1 universities and I've never seen in other places the connection that our people have here to the university such as UL does. The community support for UL-Lafayette is amazing. And what a great place to live! People can work remotely anywhere now and have options as to where they can live. We have a very unique culture compared to the rest of the country and could become a bedroom community for Houston and other thriving metro areas. We can capitalize on our quality of life."

    Inflation is the biggest problem we're facing today.

    • 51 min
    Dr. Malcolm Stubbs, Orthopedic Surgeon, on ROSA robotic hip surgery

    Dr. Malcolm Stubbs, Orthopedic Surgeon, on ROSA robotic hip surgery

    Dr. Malcolm Stubbs, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine, joins Discover Lafayette to discuss the latest technique to restore mobility to patients with degenerative hip issues.

    In particular, we discuss the ROSA (Robotic Surgical Assistant) robotic hip surgery procedure that Lafayette Surgical Specialty Hospital has recently added.

    Dr. Stubbs graduated from LSU and LSU School of Medicine where he served as Chief Resident in orthopedic surgery. After completing a fellowship at the Mississippi Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center, he served as a staff orthopedic surgeon in the U. S. Air Force. Today, he practices at the Lafayette Bone and Joint Clinic and performs arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee, shoulder reconstruction and replacement, and hip and knee replacement surgery at the physician-owned Lafayette Surgical Specialty Hospital.

    When Dr. Stubbs graduated from medical school in 1993, arthroscopic surgery on the knee was rather commonplace; he says that "The move to minimally invasive surgeries was kicked off by the early pioneers of arthroscopic surgery of the knee. Thereafter, arthroscopic procedures advanced to repair the shoulder, and today, surgical practices have evolved to include this minimally invasive surgery on the hip, elbow, and almost every part of the body.

    By the late 1990s and early 2000s, surgeons and engineers worked together to develop robotic surgery, which has only become commonplace in the last decade. A robotic device is an additional tool to enhance the procedure for hip and knee replacement as the robot and robotic arms help guide the surgeon in making accurate and precise cuts to the bone while performing replacement surgery. The surgeon is still performing the surgery, but with the help of the robot, the procedure is conducted with more precision, flexibility, and control than is possible with conventional techniques.

    Robotic procedures have been shown to be highly effective in avoiding misalignment and getting a tight fit based on the individual's anatomy. While the procedure is still relatively new, the expected outcome is that robotic procedures will improve the longevity of prostheses and lead to better outcomes for patients. Already, studies are showing a reduction in patient pain and reduced length of hospital stays.

    Most people are leery about having hip replacement surgery and before it occurs, all other alternatives such as weight loss, physical therapy, medicine, and exercises such as yoga have typically been tried to no avail. In the past, the most common approach used to perform total hip replacement was a posterior hip replacement, where the surgeon would make the incision at the back of the hip close to the buttocks.

    With the newer direct anterior approach (front of the hip) developed in the past few years, patients' abductor muscles that operate around the hip joint are better protected from the damage caused by cutting, and patients are able to get up and walk quicker with less pain when these muscles aren't violated.

    With ROSA (robotic surgical assisted) hip procedure surgery using a direct anterior approach, Dr. Malcolm Stubbs says it "makes a better approach even better! Patients say, 'Doc, I wish I had had this surgery sooner." Hip replacement surgeries are occurring in more and more younger patients in their 50s and some in their 40s, and Dr. Stubbs isn't sure if this is a result of an increase in arthritic conditions or the improved prostheses which make for better surgical outcomes. Whatever the case may be, this ROSA hip minimally-invasive surgical procedure has been shown to reduce patient pain and length of hospital stays.


    • 26 min
    Donielle Watkins – Founder of D.R.E.A.M.S. Foundation of Acadiana

    Donielle Watkins – Founder of D.R.E.A.M.S. Foundation of Acadiana

    Donielle Watkins, Co-Director of the D.R.E.A.M.S. Foundation of Acadiana, joins us to discuss her passion for helping individuals with special needs have access to fun and enriching activities.  

    Donielle and her husband, Brian, founded D.R.E.A.M.S. in 2008, so that their son, Logan, who was born with spina bifida, could participate in activities and sports along with other kids with special needs. "DREAMS began when we were sitting at a baseball game one day and Logan looked over at us and asked, 'When am I going to get to play?' It stopped us in our tracks."

    Logan Watkins was the inspiration behind the DREAMS Foundation of Acadiana. His indomitable spirit is a source of joy for all who know him.

    There were no organized sports activities of any kind for children with special needs. Donielle found a program that had had some success up North and established a Little League with fifty kids with special needs. After the ball game was over, Logan looked at his mom and asked, "When does basketball start?" Logan just wanted to be like every other kid.

    The acronym, D.R.E.A.M.S., stands for Disability, Resources, Education, Activities, Management, and Services. DREAMS is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit serving 700 kids in Lafayette, Vermilion, Iberia, and St. Martin Parishes. Participants enjoy year-round activities such as basketball, softball, soccer, bowling, gardening, cheer, dance, music therapy, swimming, art, theater, and fitness classes.

    It boggled Donielle's mind how fast DREAMS grew. Many volunteers stepped up to offer arts, gardening, and sports activities. Individuals such as Damon Vincent of TrainUnique have even gone on to open a professional gym for people with special needs and provide for his family.

    DREAMS welcomes all and has participants from five years of age to 60 years of age, with many having Downs syndrome, autism, or cerebral palsy.

    "When you have a child with special needs, you accept certain things. He'll never play football. You accept that it's a new way of life. But who doesn't accept it? Little Logan. When we were sitting at a baseball game one day and he looked over at us and asked, 'When am I going to play?' It stopped us in our tracks."

    With a small budget, Donielle works hard to spread the word of DREAMS' work. Many people who would benefit don't know DREAMS exists. The 2010 Census indicated that 12,000 individuals in Lafayette parish would benefit from this service. The need is great and there is much work to be done.

    With a full-time job as an accountant, Donielle Watkins spends all of her spare time working to grow the reach of DREAMS. Her husband and Co-Director of DREAMS, Brian, is a special education teacher at St. Thomas More high school in the Options program; In 2014, Brian was awarded Teacher of the Year by the Louisiana Governor’s Office for Special Needs.

    D.R.E.A.M.S. Manufacturing Company has recently been established to create jobs for individuals with special needs in the Lafayette community. This work was jump-started by a $25,000 grant from the La. Department of Revenue and a donation of $5,000 to pay for wrapping the food truck. Currently staffed by 21 employees with unique needs, they manufacture ten different types of Kane River Meat Pies that are baked and sold at 12 grocers across Acadiana. At special events where they bring the food truck, you can purchase 2 stuffed pies and chips for $10.00 Donielle loves to bring the meat pies to businesses and will pre-contract with businesses that have 50 or more employees to bring the truck for lunches. "Eventually we'll be the Subway of meat pies," Donielle says. With tempting offerings such as boudin & cheese,

    • 34 min
    Dr. Rachel Pruchno, Author of Beyond Madness, a Guide for Bettering the Lives of People with Serious Mental Illness, Their Families, and Their Communities

    Dr. Rachel Pruchno, Author of Beyond Madness, a Guide for Bettering the Lives of People with Serious Mental Illness, Their Families, and Their Communities

    Dr. Rachel Pruchno, the author of Beyond Madness, joined Discover Lafayette to discuss how 11.2 million adults and 1.9 million children (statistics as of 2017) live with serious mental illness and how their families have a front-row seat to the ravages of serious mental illness as they try to make their way in the world. Mental illness can manifest at all stages of life, from within the womb to much later in life.

    Dr. Pruchno is a mental health professional with a doctorate in Human Development and Family Studies. Her book details her own experience with her mother, who suffered from mental illness and committed suicide, as well as her adopted daughter who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

    Her mission is to help get rid of the stigma of mental illness and encourage people to speak up as they share resources and reach out to others for help. It is imperative to obtain early treatment as it helps the long-term results for the patient.

    Beyond Madness is an urgent book addressing what Pruchno sees as a serious lack of information and resources for families as well as people in helping professions like teachers, clergy, and police.” I think that people need to be prepared for a long journey to find good care." says Pruchno. "But I think what's really important — and I wish I had known that at the time — is that you're not alone. You're not the only person going through this."

    Dr. Rachel Pruchno's book, Beyond Madness, may be purchased on Amazon here, as well at Barnes and Noble and other major book retailers.

    Even though Dr. Pruchno is a psychologist, she didn't readily know who to reach out to when her adopted daughter developed a serious mental illness. Sadly, there is a shortage of psychiatrists in the U. S. as many are retiring and they aren't being replaced.

    Pruchno is driven to share her knowledge and to encourage people to speak up with friends, family, neighbors, and health professionals as they endeavor to find treatment for their loved ones. Many people stay quiet due to fear of the stigma of mental illness and the thinking that their family is the only one suffering. Pruchno admits that she never spoke openly with her friends about the mental illness in her family, even her psychologist friends, and wonders now how her life might have been easier if she had done so.

    "After all the work I've done, I believe it's the odd family that doesn't have mental illness in it. It may be a nephew or a cousin if not one of your close family members. It's so prevalent and we've buried it for so long. I want people to learn from my own struggles. I've tried to make sense of it and Beyond Madness is written for lay people, for people who need it."

    In the United States, approximately half of all people with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depressive disorders, do not get treatment. Many rely upon alcohol and illicit substances to deal with their symptoms.

    Nearly a quarter of adults with a serious mental illness meet the criteria for substance use disorder. Relative to the general population, people with serious mental illnesses are 4.6 times more likely to be smokers, 4.0 times more likely to be heavy alcohol users, 3.5 times more likely to be heavy marijuana users, and 4.6 times more likely to use recreational drugs. Among adolescents who had experienced a major depressive episode within the past year, the proportion who used illicit drugs was more than twice as high (33.0%) as that for youth who had not had a depressive episode (15.2%). Adolescents with a past-year major depressive episode also were more likely than those without an episode to use marijuana, nonprescribed psychotherapeutics, inhalants, and hallucinogens.

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
26 Ratings

26 Ratings

Gwenniegirl57 ,

A Pleasure!

I enjoy the variety of guests and topics featured in this podcast. Jan’s interviewing style is very comfortable. I think this is what helps make her interviewees feel at ease. The bonus is that we get to learn a little bit about our talented locals and the community.

oilbuyer2002 ,


Love Jan work

listener mt ,

Great info.

Inspiring guest. Excellent interview skills.

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