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The Best and the Worst of the Week


Biloxi Marsh Lands Corp.,
the largest landowner in St. Bernard Parish, has created the Biloxi Marsh Disaster Relief Fund with a $150,000 donation and will donate another $150,000 in match grants to provide financial assistance to residents, businesses and government agencies in St. Bernard. The fund's first grant was to St. Bernard Parish to renovate the Smith School so that it can continue to house volunteers who are helping residents gut and clean their homes. Tax-deductible contributions can be made at

LIFT Films,
a new local venture formed in part by local attorney Morris Bart, has partnered with Element Films of Los Angeles to produce more than $200 million worth of feature films in Louisiana during the next three years. LIFT and Element expect to make at least eight and as many as 15 films — all shot in Louisiana – with budgets ranging from $10 million to $15 million each. Element will choose the films to be made and LIFT, the local partner, will hire local crews to work on them.

Scholarship America
has awarded a $75,000 grant to the New Orleans Dollars for Scholars program, enabling it to continue four-year scholarship awards to nearly 100 local students — despite the upheaval in fundraising efforts caused by Hurricane Katrina. The grant also will help restore Dollars for Scholars' summer enrichment program for elementary and middle school students and cover operating expenses. Scholarship America has awarded more than $1 billion in grants to more than a million students since 1958.

Charles Foti Jr.,
Louisiana's attorney general, is supposed to be the state's top enforcer of open meetings laws — yet he recently convened a closed-door meeting with select members of the state casino board, legislators and casino interests to discuss tax breaks and other gaming issues. More than 50 people attended the meeting, but the public was excluded. Foti said afterwards that the public's presence might have inhibited a free and frank discussion — which is what open meetings actually promote.

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