News » Bouquets & Brickbats: local heroes and zeroes

The Best and the Worst of the Week

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Lionel Ferbos,
the oldest active jazz musician in New Orleans, recently celebrated his 97th birthday at Snug Harbor by performing with his band, Lionel Ferbos and the Louisiana Shakers. Ferbos, a trumpet player and singer, is an original member of the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra and is the last surviving member of the Depression-Era WPA band, which was made up of laborers in the city's Works Progress Administration. He has been married to his wife Margarite for 74 years.

Global Green USA,
a national environmental organization, is contributing $300,000 toward the renovation of Andrew H. Wilson Elementary, a public charter school located in Broadmoor. The donation, which will be combined with Global Green's technical expertise, will be used to transform the school into a model of sustainable building. The effort is part of the organization's Green Schools program, which was launched in 2004 and has received generous funding from the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund.

Norman Francis,
Xavier University's long-time president, served the citizens of Louisiana for two-and-a-half years as chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. Despite losing his home to the storm and struggling to get Xavier back on its feet, Francis worked tirelessly to help Louisiana get funds to rebuild its housing, infrastructure and other critical areas. Francis managed to secure $13.2 billion in federal funds for these needs. With little fanfare, Francis retired from the LRA this past June.

The City of Slidell
was ordered to pay $42,000 in attorneys' fees to the American Civil Liberties Union after the ACLU challenged the legality of a picture of Jesus Christ that was displayed at the Slidell City Courthouse. Originally, the ACLU asked the city to remove the image, but Slidell officials refused. Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle ruled the picture violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The fees could have been avoided if Slidell officials had not insisted on a court fight.

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