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The Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Foundation awarded Boys Town Louisiana $15,000 for the organization's program helping young people transition out of foster care. Nearly half of the 500 children in Louisiana's foster care "age out" after 16. The state ended its foster care transition program in 2013.

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Jesmyn Ward, author and associate professor of English at Tulane University, was named one of two recipients of the Strauss Living for literary excellence award, which is given every five years by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Ward is author of Where the Line Bleeds, Salvage the Bones and the memoir Men We Reaped.

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Pamela Parker, a former employee of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in New Orleans, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Jan. 13 to demanding an illegal gratuity. Parker demanded, among other things, a doctorate in nursing in exchange for helping LSU's School of Nursing get a grant to help veterans transition into nursing careers. She faces up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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