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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

Harrah's New Orleans Casino
recently distributed more than $200,000 to 15 local nonprofits through its COPE (Community Opportunity Prosperity Empowerment) grant program. The grants, between $10,000 and $20,000 each, went to such organizations as the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, WRBH Radio for the Blind and Print Handicapped, Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, and the New Orleans Musical Legends Foundation Inc.

The state Department of Health and Hospitals,
particularly its Medicaid office, has made strides in reducing the number of uninsured children in Louisiana, according to a recent study by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. The report showed Louisiana as the state with the greatest improvement, with a 6 percent reduction rate. The state's percentage of uninsured children dropped from 20.4 percent to 14.4 percent between 1999 and 2001, the report says.

The New Orleans Saints
last week presented 500 tickets for the 41st Annual National Association of Basketball Coaches All-Star game to youths involved in the New Orleans Police Department's "C.O.P.S. for Kids" program. The giveaway was part of the Saints' overall donation of 5,000 tickets to local school systems and youth organizations. "C.O.P.S. for Kids" helps at-risk youths maintain healthy lifestyles.

New Orleans Public Schools,
whose technological capacities leave much to be desired, should have been a shoo-in for the federal e-Rate grant program that assists schools in building their information technology. But because school administrators failed to follow correct protocols in the bidding procedure that's part of the application process, New Orleans schools were rejected for the third year in a row, according to the agency that reviews the grants.

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