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Chris W. Surprenant was awarded $47,000 by the Louisiana Board of Regents in support of a book he's writing that explores the money factor that prevents criminal justice reform. Surprenant is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of New Orleans.

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Cure and Chef Nina Compton each received a James Beard Award for excellence last week. Compton, head chef at Compere Lapin and Bywater American Bistro, received the award for Best Chef: South, while the cocktail bar Cure won for Outstanding Bar Program.

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Master P and Vision to Learn gave away 29 eye exams and 23 pairs of glasses to low-income children at Foundation Prepara- tory Charter School. The giveaway was a pilot program to demonstrate the feasibility of expanding free eye exams and glasses to more New Orleans schoolchildren.

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New Orleans Pelicans swept a four-game series against the Portland Trail Blazers and advanced to the Western Conference semifinals. Though many had counted them out earlier in the season, the Pels not only made short work of the Blazers, but also put on two thrilling sold-out games in the Smoothie King Center.

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Nailah Jefferson, a New Orleans filmmaker, was one of five recipients of a diversity fellowship from Chicken & Egg Pictures, an organization that supports women nonfiction filmmakers. Jefferson's latest documentary is Commuted, the story of a 52-year-old woman who was released after spending half her life in prison.

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Rohan Padmakumar, a Lusher Charter School student, will travel to New York City April 23 to participate in the English in Action National Shakespeare Competition at Lincoln Center. High school students from around the country compete in reciting sonnets.

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Mirya Holman and J. Celeste Lay, political science associate professors at Tulane University, received the 2018 Elsie Hillman Prize from the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University for their research on the gender gap in politics. The Hillman Prize is awarded annually for research in the area of women and politics.

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Hogs for the Cause raised $1.45 million to fight pediatric brain cancer at its annual barbecue cook-off, according to organizers. The 10th annual pig-themed fundraiser, which was started by friends Rene Louapre and Becker Hall in 2008, was held March 23 and 24 at UNO Lakefront Arena.

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The Galatoire Foundation presented $100,000 to Eden House New Orleans and Breakthrough New Orleans with proceeds from its popular Christmas and Mardi Gras table auctions. Eden House is a local charity that fights human trafficking; Breakthrough New Orleans works with at-risk middle school students to prepare them academically.

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Evangeline Doulens won the 2018 Greater New Orleans Trust Your Crazy Ideas Challenge with a plan for an app called Artist's Loft, which would connect artists to galleries. Sponsored by the Brees Dream Foundation and Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans, the award came with $5,000 of continuing education funds for Doulens, who is a senior at Lusher Charter School.

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The Landry-Walker High School brass band won this year's "Class Got Brass" competition at the Congo Square Rhythms Festival. The brass band throwdown, sponsored by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, is open to all middle and high schools in Louisiana.

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Jarrius 'Little JJ' Robertson, the 15-year-old New Orleans native and Saints superfan who has battled liver disease all of his 15 years, will receive the WWE's Warrior Award during Wrestlemania Week in April. WWE said in a statement that Robertson "has exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance" and "lives life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit of Ultimate Warrior."

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    Spotlight Events

    • Bayou Country Superfest @ Mercedes-Benz Superdome

      • May 25-27
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    Who is most responsible for not finding solutions to the estimated $648 million state budget hole?

    • Gov. John Bel Edwards
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    Popular Events

    • "Robot Apocalypse," new work by artist AZ; reception with DJs and bands 9 p.m. June 1 @ Bar Redux

      • Fri., June 1
    • Treme Creole Gumbo Festival @ Armstrong Park

      • Nov. 17-18
    • Louisiana Renaissance Festival @ Louisiana Renaissance Festival

      • Nov. 3-4, Nov. 10-11, Nov. 17-18 and Nov. 24-25
    • Dogfish Reading Series @ Private residence (2448 N. Villere St.)

      • Thu., May 24, 7 p.m.
    • "Crescent City Instantiate," recent oil paintings by New Orleans artist Stephanie Reed; opening reception 6 p.m. June 2 @ Gallery 600 Julia

      • Sat., June 2

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