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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

Sony Pictures Entertainment
recently donated $100,000 to Children's Hospital to help fund state-of-the-art brain laboratory software that will help pediatric neurosurgeons conduct delicate surgeries to reduce the frequency of seizures in children with epilepsy. The software also will help surgeons locate brain tumors in children and allow many of them to be removed safely. The donation was made after Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee suggested it to Sony executives.

State and local tourism officials
finalized negotiations last week to bring the Essence Festival back to New Orleans for the next three years. The mid-summer music and empowerment extravaganza moved to Houston after Hurricane Katrina. Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau and Superdome manager Doug Thornton led the effort to induce Essence's return to New Orleans by offering a package of incentives that includes public as well as private financial assistance.

Phyllis Mann,
a local criminal defense attorney, is the 2006 recipient of the Arthur von Briesen Award from the National Legal Aid & Defender Association for her work to promote indigent defense reform in Louisiana. NLADA noted Mann's efforts to lighten the burdensome workloads of indigent defenders across the state as well as her efforts to protect the rights of prisoners during and after Hurricane Katrina. She will receive the award at the NLADA 2006 annual conference on Nov. 10 in Charlotte, N.C.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
has admitted — again — that its initial investigation into levee and floodwall failures during Hurricane Katrina was seriously flawed — particularly with regard to statements in a draft report that there was no evidence of negligence or malfeasance by the Corps or its contractors. The latest admission came after yet another independent study by leading scientists that showed the Corps' mistakes were entirely foreseeable. The Corps continues to claim that the system's failures could not have been anticipated.

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