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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

Johnette Downing ,
a New Orleans children's musician, is winning kudos for her new CD, The Second Line -- Scarf Activity Songs. The CD recently won a 2003 Honors Award as a "Best Resource for Parents" from the National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) and has been selected as one of the "Best of 2003" by Nick Jr. magazine. The singer-songwriter and guitarist is known for her Louisiana-themed songs that appeal to listeners of all ages.

Benjamin Franklin High School security guards
allowed a serious breach recently when a 15-year-old girl smuggled a box cutter into the school and slashed another student. Despite the security guards and metal detectors at the school's entrance, the teen was able to get the weapon onto school property and attack the other girl. Ben Franklin is consistently recognized for its high scholastic achievements, but academic excellence goes to waste at any school whose students aren't safe.

State parole officials
admit they shouldn't have let a convicted sex offender live in the same house as his 12-year-old stepdaughter. Upon Gerald Bordelon's release from jail in 2000, he was ordered not to have unsupervised contact with minors. He is back in jail, charged with molesting and murdering the girl, Courtney LeBlanc. State Parole Board officials say they erred in approving a parole officer's recommendation that Bordelon be allowed to live with LeBlanc.

Chevron Oronite Oak Point Plant
in Belle Chasse is responsible for an airborne toxic chemical leak last week that sent nearly 80 nearby residents to the hospital complaining of nausea, dizziness, throat and eye irritation and other symptoms of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide exposure. Local officials blamed equipment failure at the plant, which manufactures petroleum additives used for fuels and lubricants, on the chemical leak.

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