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The Best and the Worst of the Week


Ellis Marsalis,
renowned pianist and patriarch of arguably the most famous family in modern jazz, is being honored for his efforts as an educator. The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities has named Marsalis "2008 Humanist of the Year." He taught music at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, teaching future standout jazz players such as Donald Harrison Jr. and Harry Connick Jr. Later, Marsalis directed the jazz studies program at the University of New Orleans, working with trumpeter Nicholas Payton and others.

an independent children's movie filmed in New Orleans, has been named the Best Feature Film of the year at the BAMKids Film Festival, an annual event hosted by the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Department of Education and Humanities. The family film, which tells the tale of three kids who become lost in the bayou while searching for a ghost's treasure, also won Best of the Fest at the 24th Chicago Children's International Film Festival, and recently was picked up by MGM Studios for domestic distribution.

Pitch in for Baseball,
a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, has donated more than 1,500 pounds of baseball equipment to 12 schools in the New Orleans Recovery School District. The equipment includes: 150 gloves, 300 baseballs, 230 uniforms, bats, helmets and other gear worth more than $20,000. This is the organization's largest donation to date and came in response to a 2007 Sports Illustrated article that highlighted the slow return of youth sports programs in New Orleans after the levee failures.

has missed a second deadline for preparing a congressionally mandated proposal for housing people displaced by future disasters. The plan supposedly has been in the works since the 2005 hurricane season and initially was to be completed by June 2007. This is just one plan of many that the disaster agency has failed to complete. Others include a five-year FEMA personnel plan; a strategy for developing and deploying a first-responder force; and a broader national disaster-recovery strategy for helping affected areas rebuild.

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