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The Best and the Worst of the Week

Abita Brewing Company
has donated $115,000 to the city of Abita Springs to underwrite a major expansion of a park located in the center of town. The donation, which comes from funds raised by the sale of the brewery's Restoration Ale, will be used to build an outdoor amphitheatre and a new playground. Over a two-year period, sales of the ale and related merchandise have raised more than $500,000 for hurricane relief.

Ryan Rilette,
Southern Rep's producing artistic director, has accepted an offer to become the managing director for the Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley, Calif. During his six seasons at Southern Rep, Rilette focused the theater company's work on new play development and production. Under his direction the theater produced 10 world premieres, including the Katrina-inspired Rising Water, written by local playwright John Biguenet.

Florists' Transworld Delivery Inc.
(FTD) is celebrating its 55th year of being part of the nationally televised Rose Parade on New Year's Day by honoring Hurricane Katrina survivors. All of the riders on the FTD float, "Magic of Mardi Gras," are storm survivors and residents of New Orleans' Habitat Musicians' Village, the community of homes built by Habitat for Humanity to house musicians, artists and other returning New Orleanians.

Dave Williams,
a resident of Algiers, recently was convicted of 10 counts of animal cruelty. When a dead horse was found on the boundary of Williams' property in February 2007, Louisiana SPCA officials investigated and discovered another deceased horse and a number of malnourished and mistreated horses. Williams was given a six-month suspended sentence, 40 hours of community service and a $600 fine.

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