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Catherine "Kitty" Kimball

was sworn in last week as the first female Chief Justice of Louisiana. Kimball, who was born and raised in Alexandria and graduated from LSU law school in 1970, served on the 18th Judicial District Court for 10 years before becoming the Supreme Court's first woman justice in 1993. She replaces former Chief Justice Pascal Calogero, who recently retired after 36 years on the Supreme Court bench.

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Barry Jean Ancelet,

an acclaimed Cajun folklorist and historian, has been named the "2009 Humanist of the Year" by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Ancelet — who has written numerous books about Acadian music, genealogy, Mardi Gras and culture — is a professor of French and Acadian culture and language at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is considered a major figure in the preservation of Acadian culture and language.

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5 of 7 Louisiana Congressmen

voted last week against the S-CHIP bill to provide health care to needy children — even though Louisiana's kids rank among America's least healthy. Voting against the bill were Republican Congressmen Steve Scalise of Metairie, Charles Boustany of Lake Charles, John Fleming of Shreveport, Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge and Rodney Alexander of Monroe. Shamefully, Boustany, Cassidy and Fleming are physicians. Kudos to Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao of New Orleans, the only Louisiana Republican to vote for kids in need of health care.

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George W. Bush,

during his last press conference as president, defended his response to the 2005 levee failures, saying, "Don't tell me the federal response was slow when there were 30,000 people pulled off roofs." Actually, Bush had little to do with rescues by first responders, ordinary citizens and the U.S. Coast Guard, which has a major installation here. Here's the truth: He failed to respond promptly to the greatest manmade disaster in U.S. history, and he departs office without admitting or taking responsibility for that failure.

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