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The Best and the Worst of the Week


the national nonprofit organization that builds children's playgrounds, recently teamed up with Whitney Bank, the New Orleans Recreation Department and NBA Cares to rebuild the Olive Stallings playground in Gentilly on Jan. 19. Braving the cold and rain, hundreds of community volunteers overseen by KaBOOM! staff managed to resurrect the damaged playground with new equipment in the course of a single day.

Laura Plantation,
located in Vacherie (St. James Parish), has been named "Louisiana's Travel Attraction of the Year" by the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association. Despite a fire in 2004 that destroyed most of the plantation's main house, followed by Hurricane Katrina, which left the plantation without any employees, the historic home reopened in December 2006 and has received recognition from numerous travel publications including Lonely Planet Travel and Frommer's.

Colonel Jefferson DeBlanc,
the last surviving Medal of Honor winner from Louisiana at the time of his death in November, donated his medal posthumously to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. DeBlanc, a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel, received the award for aerial combat over the Solomon Islands during World War II. The Medal of Honor is the highest award bestowed on those serving in the U.S. armed services for valor in action against enemy forces.

Bob Odom,
the former state Agriculture Commissioner, directed most of the funds that were supposed to be dedicated to a boll weevil eradication program to other projects, including the controversial Lacassine syrup mill. Lawmakers previously approved a $12 million annual revenue stream for boll weevil eradication. New Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says only $1 million a year is now available for the program, which faces a $4 million shortfall this year.

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