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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

KIDsmART,
a local nonprofit organization, has been awarded a 2008 Governor's Arts Award in the Arts Education category. KIDsmART teaches life skills and increases student learning by integrating visual and performing arts into schools' core curriculums. The organization was founded in 1999 and provides extensive arts experiences — through after-school programs, arts-integration training for teachers and in-school artist residencies — for 3,700 public school students at 11 schools in the New Orleans area.

Piccadilly Restaurants LLC
fed those in need during the evacuations for Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Piccadilly chefs, servers and other employees from the Gulf South and elsewhere volunteered to participate in the hurricane operations, serving more than 250,000 meals throughout the storms and afterward. Following Hurricane Ike, the chain restaurant's volunteers prepared and served more than 65,000 meals out of one location, the Houma Civic Center, over the course of five days.

ExxonMobil Foundation
has donated $1.6 million to Tulane University's Cowen Institute to establish a college preparatory program in four New Orleans public high schools. The pilot program will be rolled out over the next five years and is intended to give students the necessary tools for succeeding in college. The institute's program will use performance-based monetary incentives for teachers and students, and provide teachers with training and materials in order to incorporate college awareness and planning into their curriculums.

Derrick Shepherd,
the embattled Marrero state senator, pleaded guilty to a felony count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and resigned from his state senate seat last week. Shepherd's troubles center on his helping Gwendolyn Moyo, a convicted felon, launder $141,000 — for which he received $65,000. Shepherd's misdeeds go far beyond this incident; he betrayed the public's trust at practically ever turn. He deserves the maximum sentence, 20 years in federal prison, for his crime.

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