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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

Vincent T. Sylvain,
publisher of an online newsletter, The New Orleans Agenda , recently joined a handful of black leaders nationwide to win the 2006 "Spirit of Democracy" award from the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. Sylvain, the only Louisianan honored by the group, was recognized for his efforts to link Katrina survivors with their friends and families immediately after the storm's devastation. The coalition consists of 80 organizations dedicated to full community participation by black citizens at all levels.

Brian Bromberger and Judge Jay C. Zainey
were recently honored by the Louisiana Bar Foundation for outstanding service to the legal community after Hurricane Katrina. Bromberger, dean of Loyola Law School, moved Loyola's law program to the University of Houston after the storm and was able to offer his and Tulane's displaced law students a full semester of courses. Zainey, a federal judge in New Orleans, co-founded the SOLACE attorney volunteer program to assist members of the legal community with various forms of aid after Katrina.

McMain Magnet School
in New Orleans was one of 11 public high schools honored by Panasonic Corporation of North America in the 16th annual "Kid Witness News" competition. McMain joined more than 480 schools worldwide to participate in the contest, and its student-made video on the range of emotions experienced by children in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina captured first place in the writing category. Winners were selected by an independent panel of professional filmmakers and educators.

Louisiana state representatives
often allow absent House members to vote on important legislation by pretending not to notice when lawmakers who are present vote the machines of those who are gone. That, despite a rule in the House that 21 members can invoke at any time Ñ the lockout rule Ñ which effectively bars absentee lawmakers from voting. It's one thing to cast a vote for someone who's several feet away from his or her desk as a courtesy. It's something else to vote for someone who's not even in the building Ñ as often occurs.

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