Celebrities and Hurricane Gustav

While the major networks were watching Hurricane Gustav unleash its fury on Louisiana entertainment publications were keeping a close eye on celebrities watching what New Orleans mayor described as “the mother of all storms.” (Today Mayor Ray Nagin amended his description calling Gustav “the mother-in-law or the ugly sister of all storms.”) Which just goes to show that the media can spin practically any current events story into one that involves Hollywood’s biggest names.

Yesterday I saw video of men working to board up Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s New Orleans home. The couple, which bought a home and lived in the city for about a year after Hurricane Katrina while Pitt was filming “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” were among the most active celebrities who raised funds and participated in other projects to rebuild the city.

Brangelina joined other stars including rapper Lil Wayne, musician and actor Harry Connick Jr., jazz great Wynton Marsalis, Sean Penn, and Ellen DeGeneres, who donated millions of their own money and hours of their time to assist in rescue efforts following Katrina’s crushing blow to the area.

Kayne West was also a familiar face in the New Orleans area following Katrina, but he made more headlines when he famously chastised President Bush on national television for failing to help storm victims.

“George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” Remember that line? West uttered it during the all-star telethon that raised millions to aid victims of Hurricanes Katrina ad Rita.

No word on how West is responding the government’s efforts this time round.

Conversely, it was much easier to see the impact Hurricane Gustav had on celebrity Jerry Lewis. The actor used his annual telethon to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association to make a pitch for those inconvenienced by Hurricane Gustav. During the 22-hour telethon Lewis included a special plea for MDA-registered families forced to leave their homes because of the hurricane. According to Lewis, the storm affected nearly 5,000 MDA families. The 82-year-old entertainer also urged viewers to contribute to the Salvation Army’s emergency disaster services.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.