News » Bouquets & Brickbats: local heroes and zeroes

The Best and the Worst of the Week

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"Kid-friendly" New Orleans,
a relatively new concept to a tourist economy that has long relied on adult visitors, was recently voted the top family vacation spot in the U.S. in an online poll conducted by Yahoo! Travel/National Geographic Traveler magazine. The New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, which has worked for years to promote New Orleans' all-ages attractions, says the number of parents visiting the city with their kids has soared in recent years.

Richard Chambers Jr.,
chief investigator for the child support enforcement division of the Orleans Parish District Attorney's office, acknowledged he has failed to make most of his own child-support payments since his 2001 divorce and now owes more than $11,000. Despite the seeming impropriety, D.A. Eddie Jordan continues to support Chambers in his position -- which includes pursuing 'deadbeat' parents -- as well as in his candidacy for Constable of First City Court.

Calcasieu Parish District Judge David Ritchie
ordered recently released ex-con and indigent defendant Wilbert Rideau to pay more than $126,000 for the costs of his January trial, in which his original murder conviction was downgraded to manslaughter. The fees did not, however, include reimbursement for Rideau's public defenders. Ritchie says he predicts Rideau, 63, will get a lucrative book deal and would eventually be able to pay up. Rideau became an acclaimed journalist during his 44 years in prison.

The Tangipahoa Parish School Board,
after being told by a federal judge last month to stop incorporating prayer into its meetings, opened its first meeting after the court order with a student program featuring the Lord's Prayer. The board attorney defended the recent breach by saying the teacher's aide who organized the program wasn't aware of the contentious court decision, and that board members didn't halt the proceedings because they didn't want to interrupt.

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