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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

Maris LeBlanc,
deputy general counsel and chief spokesperson for the Louisiana Ethics Commission, left the agency last week after 19 years of service. Her by-the-book readings of the state ethics code (in response to inquires about ethically challenged politicos) attested to her fairness and professionalism. LeBlanc begins a less public role as a top lawyer for Jerry Luke LeBlanc, the No. 2 person in the Blanco administration.

A collaboration of three Orleans Parish agencies --
the District Attorney&185;s office, Police Department, and Criminal Sheriff&185;s office -- may have halted an alleged jailhouse plot to kill an 11-year-old boy preparing to testify against an incarcerated murder defendant. Last week&185;s example of teamwork was a refreshing change from previous reports of dissent among the agencies and proof that they can, and should, work together.

Zehnder Communications,
a New Orleans-based marketing agency, won five Silver Microphone Awards in a national advertising competition. Radio spots for Deanie&185;s restaurant and the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitor&185;s Bureau were named National Winners, while three other radio ads were named National Finalists. Zehnder staffers Henry Chassaignac and Mike Rainey wrote and produced the ads.

is last in the nation in public-defense funding, even though public defenders handle 90 percent to 95 percent of criminal defense cases in the state, says the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association. A researcher for the group found that Louisiana spent $1.70 per capita in 2003 on indigent defense, and compared it with Alabama, a state with a nearly identical population, which spends $6.42 per capita.

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