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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

Louisiana residents
may earn less than the national average, but are also among the most generous donors in the nation, according to a national "Generosity Index" of charitable givers. Louisiana was ranked No. 5 on the list, which is based on IRS tax returns and compiled by the nonprofit Ellis L. Phillips Foundation. The index notes that Louisiana ranks 44th in the nation in earnings and says Louisiana residents gave more than $1.2 billion in donations in 2002.

Gootee Construction Inc.
of New Orleans has won an Award of Excellence from Louisiana Contractor magazine, recognizing its restoration and renovation of the historic Bradford Furniture Building in downtown New Orleans. The restoration included reproducing the fa&231;ade of the building, constructed in 1915, and repairing and replacing damaged areas.

New Orleans' tourism agencies
played a major role in bringing the Essence Festival back to New Orleans through 2006. Mayor Ray Nagin, who credits the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. with helping to secure the lucrative festival, said the 2002 Essence Fest drew 223,000 tourists to New Orleans. The city will be a participating sponsor of the festival.

The Kappa Delta Tau fraternity
at Southern Louisiana University has been permanently shut down after 19 members admitted they violated the university's hazing policy by subjecting a 19-year-old pledge to a November initiation rite that involved swimming in a pond in nearly freezing temperatures. The Mandeville teen blacked out after the swim and was hospitalized for hypothermia. Kappa Delta Tau, an independent organization, was the university's oldest fraternity.

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