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Quotes of the Week 

  "I had no friends that testified." — Former New Orleans City Councilmember and state Rep. Renee Gill Pratt Feb. 24, minutes after Judge Ivan Lemelle declared a mistrial due to deadlock in her federal trial on charges she violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The U.S. Attorney's office indicated it would retry Gill Pratt on the same charges.

  "In New Orleans we've only gotten 30 percent of the population back." — Former New Orleans "recovery czar" Ed Blakely, in an interview Feb. 23 on Australian radio. The most recent U.S. Census figures estimate 75 percent of the population has returned to the city in the five and a half years since Hurricane Katrina.

  "I'm like the puppeteer. I sit down with the staff I have and the consultants, and we discuss where we need to go, whom we need to see, what the issues are. Then they will go to the Hill." — Former Rep. Charlie Melancon, now senior vice president of government relations for the International Franchise Association (IFA). The IFA, located on Washington D.C.'s K Street — Lobbyists' Row — has a stated mission "to protect, enhance and promote franchising through government relations, public relations and educational programs." Federal law forbids former U.S. Representatives from becoming lobbyists for a year after they leave office, but as USA Today put it in a Feb. 22 story, "they can work for lobbying firms, trade associations and consulting groups to provide behind-the-scenes advice."

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