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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

The Allstate Foundation,
in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation, has awarded approximately $250,000 in grants to twelve New Orleans-area nonprofit organizations that are working to provide family housing, community and medical services to thousands of residents affected by Hurricane Katrina. To date, local nonprofits have received nearly $700,000 for local hurricane-recovery efforts from the Allstate Foundation. The grants dispersed to these organizations represent just the first round of awards.

The New Orleans Main Post Office
reopened last week, less than six months after 14 million gallons of floodwater from Hurricane Katrina forced the closure of the city's largest post office. Postal officials say the reopening signals a major milestone in the Postal Service's recovery plan and lays the groundwork for mail processing and distribution operations to resume within six weeks. In addition, all administrative offices for the U.S. Postal Service will be phased back into the building in the coming weeks.

LSU and the Veterans Administration
will join forces to build two new teaching hospitals in downtown New Orleans. Last week's announcement marked the first step in the long journey to rebuild the area's health-care infrastructure, which was knocked out by Hurricane Katrina. The ultimate goal is to create a larger medical complex that will replace the crumbling but badly needed Charity Hospital complex with facilities that include teaching, research and high-end health-care services.

Wanda Hopkins,
a former U.S. Customs inspector, was sentenced to seven years and nine months in prison last week after she admitted to selling cocaine out of her home and using a gun while trafficking in drugs. Hopkins and her husband were arrested a year ago after they were pulled over while transporting more than 250 grams of cocaine into Jefferson Parish from Texas. She flashed her federal badge to arresting officers, who found a marijuana cigarette and small amounts of cocaine in her credentials.

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