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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

The New Orleans Opera
received a "Bravo! Award" from Opera America, a national service organization for opera companies and artists, at the group's recent conference in Miami. In bestowing a Special Recognition Award to the local company's entire board, staff and artists, the organization cited the New Orleans Opera's resilience and commitment to resurrecting the classical arts after Hurricane Katrina. The local opera staged a memorable post-Katrina fundraiser in 2006 featuring Placido Domingo and other international stars.

Chef Emeril Lagasse
last week announced more than $500,000 in grants from his Emeril Lagasse Foundation to local charities and nonprofits. Recipients of the latest awards include the Contemporary Arts Center, the Edible Schoolyard at Green Charter School, God's Vineyard 7-Pepper Hot Sauce Project, New Orleans Outreach, the NOCCA Institute, St. Michael's Special School and the Unified Summer Grants Collaborative. Since January 2006, Lagasse's foundation has given more than $1 million to area organizations.

Music For Tomorrow,
a nonprofit organization led by actor Jude Law, awarded a $10,000 grant to Big Chief Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias Mardi Gras Indian tribe at this year's Jazz Fest. The grant will help Dollis and his group return to New Orleans and continue the Mardi Gras Indians' time-honored celebrations, which have been part of local culture for more than a century. Dollis has been recording music for more than 35 years with the Wild Magnolias and has helped bring the culture and music of the Mardi Gras Indians to the world.

NOPD
for years has been stonewalling the timely release of all relevant crime data — both to citizens and to the City Council. Last week, the council's criminal justice subcommittee chided NOPD brass for not being forthcoming enough with citizens about the true extent of local crime. Police Chief Warren Riley did not attend the council hearing and did not comment, but this issue is in his lap, and it's up to him to make NOPD open and accountable — and that means leveling with citizens about crime.

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