BOUQUET Charter schools appear to be winning the hearts and, more importantly, the minds of local parents and children. LouisianaÕs Department of Education released school-by-school LEAP test results last week, and 17 of the 20 top-performing institutions are charter schools. Martin Behrman Elementary, operated by the Algiers Charter School Association, had 98 percent of its fourth graders score at basic or above on the testÕs English section. In 2005, only 35 percent of BehrmanÕs students tested at basic or higher on that section.
BOUQUET The City Department of Parks and Parkways, which is charged with keeping trees and neutral grounds trimmed, is mowing more than twice as much grass each week than it did prior to Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding Ñ despite equipment losses and a workforce reduction of 58 percent. The department had 235 employees before Katrina and currently has only 100 Ñ and it lost 40 percent of its equipment in the storm. June, July and August are typically the peak of grass-cutting season.
BOUQUET Terry Forrette, a local respiratory care practitioner, returned to south Louisiana after a three-month tour dubbed ÒRiding the Rim,Ó in which he rode his Harley-Davidson across America. During the tour, he met with media, wetland groups and everyday people to raise awareness about the effects of LouisianaÕs wetland loss on the rest of the nation on behalf of the AmericaÕs WETLAND Campaign. Forrette has been involved in environmental causes since 1970, when he attended his first Earth Day event in his hometown of Madison, Wis.
BRICKBAT-BRICKBAT-BRICKBAT Rickey Jackson, former New Orleans Saints linebacker, was long a fan favorite, but now he tops the state Department of Social ServicesÕ list of deadbeat dads. Jackson owes the mother of his child more than $150,000 in back support. DSS annually releases a ÒMost WantedÓ list of delinquent payors of court-ordered child support, and this yearÕs list has a photo of Jackson from his playing days (www.dss.state.la.us/departments/ofs/LA_Most_Wanted_Pictures.html#Most_Wanted). ItÕs time for Jackson to get back in the game and pay up.