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Julie Stokes, a 1992 magna cum laude graduate of the University of New Orleans (UNO), is the 2017 recipient of UNO's Homer L. Hitt Distinguished Alumni Award, the university's highest honor. Stokes, a CPA, represents Louisiana's House District 79. Recently she dropped a planned run for state treasurer due to a diagnosis of breast cancer.


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Johnette Downing will receive the 18th annual Louisiana Writer Award from the Louisiana Center for the Book at October's Louisiana Book Festival. Downing, a writer and musician, has written 22 children's books. Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser said, "Johnette Downing has a special gift for making Louisiana's unique culture come alive for children around the world. We are proud to call her one of our own."


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Frank Scurlock, the businessman and mayoral candidate, suggested to Uptown Messenger last week that the recent municipal floods were due to God's displeasure with New Orleans. "I don't want to call it judgment," he said. "I'd call it a wake-up call because there was so much going wrong." He added, "New Orleans East needs a cleansing in itself. There's hardly anything going right, except the opening of dollar stores."

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