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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

Jefferson Performing Arts Society
has been awarded a $6,145 grant by the Arts Council of Greater New Orleans for its Cultural Crossroads program. The funds will support the artist-in-residency program, which integrates arts into subject areas and allows artists and teachers to work in tandem to co-create lessons. Four schools in Jefferson will house the program, including Waggaman Alternative School, a school for at-risk children.

New Orleans Center for Creative Arts
had four students receive awards at the annual National Association of Teachers of Singing Southern Regional Competition. Joel Dyson won first place for high school women; Ajani Gibson grabbed first place for high school men; Ashley Milanese took second place in the college freshmen/women division (Milanese won the high school division last year, so she competed in the college division this year) and Gregory Rittiner came in third in the high school men division.

Monique Pilie,
founder of the local nonprofit group Hike for KaTREEna, recently planted her 2,175th tree in New Orleans. In 2006, Pilie hiked the Appalachian Trail and created a Web site, which solicited visitors to sponsor the purchase and planting of a tree for every mile she walked on the trail, a total of 2,175 miles. Pilie and her organization, which replaces trees destroyed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, now have set a new goal to plant 100,000 trees in the Greater New Orleans area.

Terry Lisotta,
former head of Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation — the state's homeowner insurance program of last resort — charged $106,579 in questionable expenses to a taxpayer-funded expense account, according to a legislative auditor's report. For the period covering December 2003 through December 2006, Lisotta used the account for items such as LSU football tickets, hotel movie charges, office parties, airline tickets and possibly a dance party for his daughter's prom, the report claimed.

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