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The Best and the Worst of the Week

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David Utter,
director and co-founder of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL), was named the 2003 Distinguished Attorney by the Louisiana Bar Foundation. The group honored Utter's career-long dedication to indigent clients and his work with JJPL on improving Louisiana's juvenile justice system. Those efforts resulted in the groundbreaking Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2003.

Mayor's Arts Awards 2004 recipients,
all of whom received awards designed by featured artist Mark Rosenbaum at last week's gala luncheon, are: arts patron Dr. H. Russell Albright, dancer/choreographer Ausettua Amor Amenkum, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, musician Art Neville, photographer Michael P. Smith, and Tulane University's Summer Lyric Theatre. Theater director Stocker Fontelieu won the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Some St. Tammany Parish residents
are working to disband Fontainebleau High School's new Gay/Straight Alliance, a student club that met school requirements in its formation last month. In response to complaints by some parents and others, School Board superintendent Gayle Sloan and member Neal Herrigan are investigating whether the club, which seeks to promote understanding between gay and straight teens, can be ousted.

Louisiana
provides inadequate protection for the rights of indigent defendants, says a study by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. The report said Louisiana public defenders are massively underpaid and overworked and do not receive sufficient training or support. It faults the state's tradition of paying public defenders largely through local court surcharges instead of through state government funding.

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