Katrina Silences Legendary Home of Jazz

Louis Armstrong famously sang, "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans," a song that's taken on a tragic new meaning for thousands driven from their homes -- including some of the area's most famous local residents.

"I took in about 10 feet of water in my house and lost everything in my yard," says guitarist Chris Henderson of 3 Doors Down, who grew up in Escatawpa, Miss., about 100 miles east of the New Orleans.

"My family is OK though, so that's the only thing I'm really worried about. I mean everything else can be replaced … I've never been devastated like this before so I'm not really sure how I'm going to go about it."

Prayers and Offers to Help

With limited phone service and electricity, only a few of the city's top entertainers have spoken out so far.

Blues great B.B. King offered his thoughts and prayers from Toronto, where he is performing tonight. The 79-year-old entertainer was born in Itta Bena, about 175 miles north of the Gulf Coast.

"My heart and prayers go out to my fellow Mississippians," said the legendary guitarist.

"No matter where I go, it's always home to me and I'm eager to return and touch the ground and see the people. They are the kindest folks in the world."

There is talk of a charity telethon with proceeds going to the American Red Cross, according to Entertainment Weekly's Web site, which reports that Willie Nelson is already signed up as a participant.

In another relief effort, the NBA says it's launching an immediate relief effort, and will contact every player in the league to get support.

"We're definitely going to do something," Henderson said. "We don't know what yet, but we're going to figure it out and try to get as much bang for our buck, so to speak, as possible."

Favre: Victims Need Food, Water, Not Money

Among those who lost their homes was Green Bay Packers' quarterback Brett Favre. "As I talked to my aunt yesterday, she was crying to me, 'What I've got with me is all I've got left,' " he said in a press conference this afternoon.

Favre learned from his mother on Tuesday that his family's residence in Kiln, Miss., was destroyed. As Katrina passed through, the house instantly filled with 8 feet of water. Several family members huddled in the attic, hoping to stay above the rising flood, and later they moved to his brother's home.

The quarterback was relieved to learn earlier in the day that his wife, Deanna, and daughters -- 16-year-old Brittany and 6-year-old Breleigh -- were 60 miles north of Kiln and safe at the family's Hattiesburg residence.

"There's no airport," Favre said, and even driving isn't feasible. "Pretty much everyone is better off staying put."

Favre said that the biggest need isn't money, but food, water, ice and electricity -- and communication remains sporadic.

"My mom actually stopped this van and said, 'Hey can you make a phone call,' knowing they had satellite and all that stuff 'cause you know the communication system down there is wiped away, and so he called the Packers' office."

Big Easy a Second Home for Hollywood

New Orleans is the home of a diverse group of entertainers that includes Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., the Neville Brothers, Britney Spears, Dr. John and Ruben Studdard as well as celebrity chefs Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse.

In the aftermath of the storm, few celebrities have spoken. But as New Orleans looks to rebuild, restoring the city's thriving entertainment industry will be vital -- and the city will most likely turn to its most famous residents for help.

The Big Easy has long been known as the jazz capital. The Bourbon Street clubs are where Armstrong and the likes of Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Prima and Fats Domino built their reputations. The city has long been a magnet for music lovers, who could bask in the splendor of the big brass bands at Preservation Hall, or celebrate at Mardi Gras and JazzFest.

The historic French Quarter, where most of the landmark jazz clubs can be found, appeared to have been spared the worst flooding, but there have been reports of widespread looting.

Aside from music, New Orleans also has a thriving film industry, earning a reputation as a second Hollywood, thanks to tax incentives, and weather conducive to on-location shooting. Last year alone, 27 films were shot there, including scenes for "Fantastic Four," "The Dukes of Hazzard" and "The Skeleton Key."

As Katrina was approaching, actress Lucy Lawless was in New Orleans filming "Vampire Bats," a TV movie. After riding out the storm in Baton Rouge, she's home in Los Angeles.

"The traffic was going one mile per hour sometimes," Lawless told "Entertainment Tonight." "Then it was two miles per hour, then five. It took nine hours for what should have taken 50-55 minutes."

Production was shut down on Hilary Swank's upcoming film, "The Reaping," and pre-production was halted on films involving Denzel Washington, Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher.

Evacuees from New Orleans also included the cast and crew of television's "Wheel of Fortune." The game show usually tapes in Hollywood, but production had briefly moved to the city for the taping of 15 special episodes.

Hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White flew out Saturday, and the rest of the staff took a 20-hour bus trip to Houston, where they were able to get flights back to Los Angeles.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of New Orleans for their safety during the difficult time," the show's producers said in a press release.