Carl Harrison and Helen Meridy,
local high school students, have received the 2009 Louisiana Young Heroes Award for their academic excellence and contributions to the community. Harrison attends De La Salle High School and has spearheaded an effort to renovate a neighborhood playground. Meridy is enrolled at Warren Easton Charter High School and has worked with the homeless and hosted birthday parties for disabled children.
a senior at Benjamin Franklin High School and a trumpet player, performed recently with the Berklee City Music All-Star Ensemble at the Quincy Jones Music Consortium conference in New York City. The ensemble represents the best and brightest students who have participated in Berklee College of Music programs. Smith attended the local Berklee after-school program, which was held twice a week and provided musician mentoring and other opportunities. It was co-sponsored by the Tipitina's Foundation.
New Orleans Public Defenders Office
has been honored with the 2009 Frederick Douglass Human Rights Award by the Southern Center for Human Rights. The office, which represents indigent persons charged with criminal offenses in Orleans Parish, is receiving the award for its contributions to the protection of human rights in the criminal justice system. OPD has a full-time staff of public defenders, investigators, administrators and a corps of dedicated volunteers, interns and law clerks.
Lighthouse Disaster Relief,
a Virginia company, will pay $4 million to settle a lawsuit filed against it for failing to honor a contract to build housing and provide a base camp for first responders after Hurricane Katrina. Under the False Claims Act, the Department of Justice alleged Lighthouse and two of its partners, Gary Heldreth and Kerry Farmer, filed false claims in order to be paid prematurely for the camp, which was to house and feed 1,000 responders but never provided all the services it promised.