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They Are the Champions 

With the steady exodus of good-paying jobs in Louisiana building to a drumbeat in recent months, area businesses are ready for good news. And the New Orleans Regional Chamber of Commerce aims to oblige its fellow business boosters. The Chamber on Wednesday, Aug. 29, will name its "Legislator of the Year" during its 2001 State Legislative Wrap-Up Luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton second floor ballroom, 921 Canal St.

The Chamber has announced the names of 26 legislators who will receive "business champion" awards. Special "state executive of the year" presentations will go to Gov. Mike Foster's No. 2 person -- Commissioner of Administration Mark Drennan -- and Don Hutchinson, secretary of the Department of Economic Development.

Jack Walker, director of public policy at the Chamber, says the Chamber's salon of the year will be kept secret until the awards ceremony. "There will be some suspense," Walker promises. The Chamber's legislator of the year for 2000 was state Sen. Ken Hollis of Metairie. The 2001 business champs from the metro include sens. Lambert Boissiere Jr. and John Hainkel of New Orleans, Francis Heitmeier of Algiers, and Tom Schedler of Slidell. House members receiving the award are reps. Charles Lancaster and Steve Scalise of Metairie; Peppi Bruneau, Mitch Landrieu and Ed Murray of New Orleans; and Jim Ticker of Terrytown.

Tickets for this year's awards luncheon are $40 per person. For more information, contact Phyllis Johnston at the Chamber, 527-6942.

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