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The Best and the Worst of the Week


Tipitina's Foundation
presented $500,000 in new musical instruments to nearly a dozen New Orleans schools on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Money for the instruments was raised by the foundation's five-year anniversary Instruments A-Comin' benefit concert as well as other concerts and donations by such stars as Willie Nelson, Arlo Guthrie and Bruce Springsteen. Since the inception of its Instruments A-Comin' program, Tipitina's Foundation has given local schools more than $800,000 worth of musical instruments.

Tulane University
beat out colleges and universities across the country to become the host university for the U.S. Department of Energy's new National Institute for Climatic Change Research Coastal Center. The center will review and recommend research projects that seek DOE funding. The projects will focus on the potential effects of climate change and sea level rise on coastal ecosystems throughout the nation. The center at Tulane will be the only one in the country that focuses on climate change and its effects on coastal areas.

John L. Renne,
assistant professor in UNO's Department of Planning and Urban Studies, will lead a team of experts that will evaluate evacuation plans and develop policies to train professionals across America on how to better prepare cities for evacuating residents without access to automobiles during emergencies. Many of those without cars are elderly, disabled or poor. Renne is planning a national conference on disaster planning for a "carless society" to be held in New Orleans in February.

Federal agencies,
particularly FEMA, Homeland Security and the Army Corps of Engineers, came in for more criticism last week, this time from the Government Accountability Office, which concluded in separate reports that those agencies and others are not adequately monitoring and reporting how federal hurricane-relief funds are spent. The GAO blasted the Corps for not finishing a key plan for responding to the next disaster and for failing to propose prudent long-term use of federal hurricane-protection funds.

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