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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

The Fair Grounds
will run 65 stakes races worth more than $7.7 million — the highest totals in the track's 134-year history — in its first post-Katrina racing season. The track's owner, Churchill Downs, has scheduled five stakes races (four of them Grade II stakes) worth $2.1 million on Louisiana Derby Day (March 10, 2007), making it the richest day of racing in Louisiana history. Scheduling such races at the Fair Grounds is tangible evidence of Churchill Downs' commitment to thoroughbred racing and to New Orleans' recovery.

Chely Wright,
a Nashville-based country music artist, visited New Orleans last week to donate new and refurbished musical instruments to the band at Holy Cross School, which lost most of its instruments in more than 5 feet of floodwater during Hurricane Katrina. Wright, whose visit was co-sponsored by her Reading, Writing and Rhythms Foundation and Coca-Cola, promised to send more instruments to the school in the coming months — and to help replace a flood-ruined sound mixing board.

Mercy Corps,
a worldwide nonprofit agency that works amid disasters, has released a publication called Helping Children and Teens Cope with Hurricane Season: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers. The guide is available free of charge at www.mercycorps.org/katrina. Mercy Corps notes that children in the Gulf area are more vulnerable to psychological troubles after last year's hurricanes. The guide includes tips for identifying trouble signs in children, which can include sadness, irritability, physical complaints and sleep problems.

FEMA
can add one more snafu to its long list of Katrina foul-ups: front door locks on thousands of trailers may have to be changed because too many of them are keyed alike. Baton Rouge TV station WAFB 9 first reported — with video demonstrations to drive home the point — that the keys to one trailer can open up 50 others. FEMA says the problem is that only three companies make trailer locks, but that's no excuse. The agency knew that trailers would be placed in large concentrations after Katrina.

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