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has announced that it will no longer buy or sell cypress mulch that is harvested, bagged or manufactured in Louisiana starting Jan. 1, 2008. The decision was praised by the Save Our Cypress Coalition, which has been pressuring Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowe's to stop selling unsustainable cypress mulch. Lowe's has put a moratorium on mulch from cypress harvested south of I-10 and I-12 in Louisiana, excluding the Pearl River Basin, but the coalition warns that it is difficult to tell if suppliers are honoring the policy.

The Specialty Graphic Imaging Association
is donating dozens of large, colorful panels to the city as part of an effort to beautify boarded-up storefronts along Canal Street. The association is a trade group of printers and manufacturers that is working with the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau to bring more travelers to town. The panels feature hallmark images of New Orleans and will cover storm-blighted areas in heavily trafficked sections of Canal Street while rebuilding continues.

The Gulfsouth Youth Action Fund,
a program of Operation REACH and the Greater New Orleans Foundation, will utilize local students to identify youth-led and youth-serving philanthropic endeavors to reduce crime, productively engage young people and rebuild New Orleans. Thirty middle and high school students will serve on the fund's youth advisory council and offer grants up to $5,000 to qualifying organizations. Nominations for youth advisory council members will be accepted this month by calling 905-8754 or visiting

once again has allowed bureaucratic "logic" to trump necessity on the part of south Louisiana storm victims. FEMA recently announced a new program to reimburse people displaced by the storms for their relocation expenses — the costs of moving back home or somewhere else. For reasons that are incomprehensible, the agency limited the program's application to expenses incurred after Feb. 1, 2006. Anyone who moved back home before then — as all were encouraged to do — is not eligible.

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