N.O. Still Reeling, Even With Hollywood's Help

But where is the help from President Bush and his good ol' boy brigade? If patience is a virtue, many of these communities would be canonized for sainthood. The excessive red tape and time it has taken for rebuilding to occur is pathetic and should be embarrassing for our government. We are spending millions to destroy Iraq in the name of democracy and yet the government has failed to rejuvenate, regrow and rebuild our own economically and geographically devastated homeland.

But have no fear Louisiana, Hollywood is here. Movie production is turning Louisiana into the tinsel town of the South. Denzel Washington's thriller "Déjà Vu" was one of the first films to shoot after Katrina and many more movies are following, taking advantage of the incentives being offered to shoot in Louisiana.

Jessica Simpson and Vivica Fox just finished shooting "Major Movie Star" in Shreveport. Last spring, Monique and Joy Bryant shot "The Better Man" in Shreveport as well. When showbiz comes to these small towns it creates a multitude of jobs and boosts the local economy enormously. Hotels and restaurants and many more businesses feel the love when a feature film or television production sets up shop. Over the past two years, the entertainment industry has given the gift and keeps on giving.

Only a few days after Hurricane Katrina, Sean Penn and New Orleans native Harry Connick Jr. descended into the dark murky waters that enveloped the city. They slept on floors as camera crews followed their rescue efforts. Their light illuminated a sad city that will not stay darkened despite the lack of actual assistance from our political lackeys.

It's a sad reflection on our politics and politicians when producers and talent give more to the community than their elected officials. But don't get me wrong -- who do you think benefits from the box office support of the public? So, as impressed and grateful as I am, let's face it, the entertainment industry realizes you have to support the fans that support you.

Where Has the Money Gone?

On many trips to Washington, D.C., I've heard the city referred to as the ugly Hollywood or the less glamorous Hollywood (for a reason.) Surely this government can't be so egotistical and selfish as to not acknowledge the power of the people. Or is our system so clogged by D.C. politicos that we the public have lost our ability to effect change? Are our hard earned dollars of donations destined to do no good?

Where is all the money Hollywood raised? Ellen Degeneres and Warner Bros. entertainment created a hurricane relief fund where the W.B. matched $500,000 of donations. Jay Leno asked his "Tonight Show" guests to autograph his Harley and then auctioned it on E-Bay. Actors like Nicholas Cage, Sandra Bullock, Jim Carrey and Rosie O'Donnell and many more dug deep and gave a million dollars each to the rebuilding efforts. Morgan Freeman created an online auction where actors like John Laroquette donated their artwork.

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