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Equine Wonderland All people who visit or utilize City Park should embrace and be proud of the work volunteers and staff have done post-Katrina ('Putting It Together Again," Sept. 11). All venues are necessary to the success of the city and park. However, I am continually frustrated that the stables are rarely mentioned. Hundreds of young and old people, those with and without their own horses, visit the stables each week. There are lessons, clinics, riding and jumping for all ages. On any given day, you can find parents bringing their young children out to simply see a horse up close for the very first time.

Equest Farm is an oasis in what is still a devastated but rebuilding area. I moved here post-Katrina and have loved having a horse and the opportunity to ride within the city, which, coming from the Dallas area, is a rare commodity. Clare Durrett We Must All Work Together To achieve national public support and funding for the proposed Marshall-like plan for Louisiana ('The Next Marshall Plan," Commentary, Sept. 4), it must function as a regional plan, not just for one state but for all at-risk Gulf Coast states and perhaps all coastal states that are also at increased risk due in part to a global-warming environment.

If half of our national population lives or will live within coastal states, then this is the constituency for such a plan. The original Marshall Plan succeeded, as you indicate, by involvement of the European region, and by analogy, not for Louisiana alone. Robert Tannen Respect Nature and Heritage When I visited my old Mid-City neighborhood recently, I was pleasantly surprised by the rebuilding efforts of urban pioneers on every street. I haven't lived in New Orleans in decades and remember my old street as a clean, safe locale, with nondescript white shotguns and duplexes.

In some weird way, Katrina has conjured up a spirit that was dormant for generations. Everywhere I looked I saw dramatic improvements " imaginative home facades, vibrant paint colors, all kinds of personalized treatments that show off the old town's personality. I like the lack of golf course development in City Park, a place I have many fond memories of.

The only real letdown was the entrance to the New Orleans Museum of Art. Looking at the picture of it in 'Putting It Together Again," Sept. 11, I am still repelled at the sight of crape myrtles on parade (along Lelong Avenue). Instead of planting majestic live oaks, bald cypress, pond cypress, Southern Magnolia and other trees native to south Louisiana, someone chose a tree from China, then planted dozens of them in straight lines like can-can girls kicking up their heels to show off their fancy petticoats. I found the ride home " alongside the Pontchartrain marsh " more interesting.

I hope the next generation of New Orleanians will continue to restore their hometown's beauty, this time with a healthy respect for nature. Betty Miley Norwood All Candidates Should Be Heard This is a pivotal point in Louisiana's history which has a direct bearing on the future. A new CEO of Louisiana will be elected by the voters this year. This new leader will have many challenges ahead of him or her. The citizens will need to be fully armed with information to make an educated vote. A vote in this case is an investment in our state. For too long we've equated money with leadership; the candidate with the biggest pot of gold wins the election. Seemingly, time after time, this recipe leads to failure. This month the Council for A Better Louisiana (CABL) is partnering with Louisiana Public Broadcasting to hold gubernatorial debates. It's an excellent idea, except for one issue: They are force-feeding the public four candidates of their choice. At last count there were 13 candidates. A criterion was set to shrink the number included in the debates to a modest number, ultimately discriminating against the other candidates because the criterion was based on money and polling. The candidates who were excluded were never seen on a poll.

The head of the CABL said: 'This year, more than ever, our state elections need to be about issues. We hope citizens will use the resources we have developed to become better informed voters and find out where the candidates stand on matters important to our state."

This statement seems oxymoronic if the debates limit the public's exposure to the richer candidates and deny the other candidates the benefits of free modern media. All the candidates have a message that should be heard. Denying any of them the opportunity based on finances is discrimination and censorship in their purest forms. Anthony "Tony G" Gentile

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