When Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans with one sweep of its hellish hand, the entire nation’s reaction was to lend a helping one. Americans everywhere have been donating money, food, supplies and shelter to the victims of this fatal phenomenon that occured just a few short weeks ago. From neighboring households to the Hollywood Hills, a united force has developed to aide this crisis. With help from celebrities like Ellen De- Generes, Jay Leno, Morgan Freeman and many others partnering up with networks including NBC, MTV and VH1, there have been live musical benefits, telethons and public service announcements to raise money for rebuilding. DeGeneres, a New Orleans native, dedicated the first episode of the third season of her well-known, self-titled talk show to the recent tragedy. “We have a different show planned for you today because things have changed and we cannot pretend they haven’t. I can’t pretend to do a normal show,” she told her audience. DeGeneres began a relief fund as well, which will donate $500,000 and match donations up to another $500,000. “The Tonight Show,” as they did for September 11th and the tsunami relief, has asked celebrity guests to sign a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to auction off on eBay. Leno’s tsunami relief bike had a winning bid of $810,000, and hopefully New Orleans will see the same kind of generosity.
Stars have also been donating money out of their own pockets, some anonymously, while others pledged. Diddy and Jay-Z pledged a combined $1 million, Nicholas Cage pledged $1 million, and Hilary Duff, while collecting canned goods at her concerts, is donating $200,000 to the Red Cross and $50,000 to USA Harvest, an organization that supplies food to shelters. On Sept. 9, BET held a telethon with guests Chris Rock, Stevie Wonder, Master P, Marsalis, Jay-Z, Diddy and many more. Mary J. Blige was another big name who attended the event. She took off a ring adorned with diamonds and gave it to a BET.com employee to add to the site’s online auction. The S.O.S. (Saving Our- Selves) telethon raised over $11 million and the checks are still rolling in to BET.com.
It’s incredible to see how many people have pulled together to help the people of New Orleans. Musicians are performing all over to donate every cent to the victims and their families. The Rolling Stones have put together donation booths at the arenas of their tour and also donated $1 million to the American Red Cross. They also performed at “ReAct Now: Music & Relief” last Saturday on MTV, VH1, and CMT with fellow artists Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Sheryl Crow, Alan Jackson, Kelly Clarkson, and Kanye West.Long-time rocker Meat Loaf is donating all proceeds from his Sept. 17 concert in Savannah, Ga to the Red Cross while Dashboard Confessional plays three benefit concerts Sept. 18-20. Death Cab for Cutie has planned a benefit in Seattle on Sept. 21, and tonight in Madison Square Garden Elton John, Rod Stewart, Jimmy Buffet, Bette Midler, Lenny Kravitz and many more are scheduled to perform to support the efforts.
The celebrities mentioned are just a few of the hundreds who are raising funds for the victims of this natural disaster. Though there is still negativity floating around about the relief efforts in Louisiana, this nation has pulled together tremendously to help their neighbors. With the breathtaking contributions to rebuild New Orleans and the hopes of its residents, these celebrity saints have pulled together every race, gender, age, sexuality, and religion to make up the real angels in America.