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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

Fleur-de-Lis Ambassadors
continued to represent the best of New Orleans' recovery last week as Tulane president Scott Cowen, Xavier president and LRA chairman Norman Francis, attorney Kim Boyle, Tulane administrator Sharon Courtney and city council staffer Jill Hickson flew to the nation's capital for meetings with House and Senate leaders, editorial boards, federal recovery czar Donald Powell and other key administration officials. The meetings will help keep the nation's attention focused on our city's recovery.

Trafigura AG,
a subsidiary of Trafigura, the international commodities trading company, last week gave the NOCCA Institute the largest-ever donation in NOCCA's history — a challenge grant of more than $1.1 million. Funds from the Trafigura donation and local donors will provide NOCCA with additional classroom space, land acquisition and architectural planning and design of the new space. NOCCA will name a center on its campus for Trafigura as an expression of gratitude for the donation.

The La. Board of Regents,
which oversees higher education in the state, last week awarded more than $27 million in grants for research at Louisiana universities in hurricane-impacted areas. Tulane was awarded more than $15.6 million, of which nearly $6 million will be shared with the LSU Health Sciences Center for clinical research in New Orleans. LSUHSC got another $3.35 million for infectious disease research. Loyola got nearly $2 million, while Xavier and Dillard got $1.5 million each. Grant applications were judged by out-of-state evaluators.

EPA,
the federal government's environmental watchdog, failed its mission miserably in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, according to a recent congressional report. The General Accounting Office says EPA did not properly monitor asbestos dumping in sites that took in demolition and construction debris, took too long to rid wildlife refuges of hazardous materials and gave returning residents Òunclear and inconsistent informationÓ with regard to potentially harmful contaminants.

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