Katrina Silences Legendary Home of Jazz

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.

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