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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

John Besh,
chef of Restaurant August and the Besh Steakhouse at Harrah's Casino, won the highly competitive 2004 Great American Seafood Cook Off held recently in New Orleans. The contest pitted more than a dozen renowned chefs from around the country, who were required to use only domestic seafoods. Besh took first place with his Pan Roasted Louisiana Blackfish with Corn, Crab and Caviar.

E.J. Ourso,
one of the state's most successful entrepreneurs, recently donated a $100,000 endowment to Angels' Place, a local nonprofit that provides respite care for seriously ill children and their families. Angels' Place has helped more than 100 children since it started in 1993 and was recently named a respite care demonstration model by the Children's Special Healthcare Services of Louisiana program.

U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey
has spearheaded a local program that provides legal services free to homeless clients. Since May, the rapidly expanding project has resolved legal problems for clients who can face numerous challenges, often due to a lack of identification. Attorneys from 15 law firms volunteer for the project, which is available at five local homeless centers and shelters. Zainey is helping to start similar projects in three other Louisiana cities.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander
used a particularly underhanded ploy in the race to try to keep his 5th District congressional seat when he qualified as a Democrat but pulled a last-minute switch just minutes before qualifying ended two days later, re-qualifying as a Republican. The tactic left Democrats with no viable candidate in the race. Given his timing, Alexander's explanation -- that he suddenly decided his personal philosophy didn't mesh with his party affiliation -- smacks of insincerity.

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