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Reese Witherspoon & Jennifer Garner Visit New Orleans

Reese Witherspoon & Jennifer Garner Visit New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS — In a gutted building with no interior walls, exposed pipes and no air conditioning to stave off the Louisiana heat, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Garner and Cicely Tyson chatted with children who had lost their homes, then watched as they sang, danced and worked on art projects.

The movie stars were among a delegation of women touring devastated parts of the city Monday to meet with families and children trying to adjust to life after Hurricane Katrina.

"I don’t think you get a real clear perspective unless you come down and see it," Witherspoon said after chatting with students at a "Freedom School" set up by the Children’s Defense Fund to help young storm victims.

"The children need attention right now," said Witherspoon, this year’s best actress Oscar winner for "Walk the Line."

The visit was part of an effort by the fund to bring attention to the needs of storm victims, particularly traumatized children. The group plans to open more than 20 such schools in communities along the Gulf Coast: 13 for Louisiana and nine for Mississippi.

The New Orleans school is in part of the city inundated with 5 feet of water after Katrina hit Aug. 29. Many homes sit empty and deteriorating, and piles of storm debris still line sidewalks.

About 1.2 million people younger than 18 are living in areas rendered disaster zones by Katrina, and as many as 8 percent, or 100,000, are expected to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, according to various estimates.

Some experts say the mental health toll may be much higher. Of the first 1,000 children screened by the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, 27 percent displayed symptoms of trauma, including nightmares, flashbacks, heightened anxiety and bedwetting.

"I’ve been shocked and heartbroken," said Garner, star of TV’s "Alias" and the film "Elektra," who cried when the children danced and sang "Something Inside So Strong" by South African singer Labi Siffre.

It’s nice to see actresses Reese Witherspoon, 30, and Jennifer Garner, 34,  doing what they can to help Hurricane Katrina victims. Garner‘s a good actress, she cries (inset) just like that in Alias! More pictures in the gallery!

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  • Alicia

    Be nice Jared!! I love Jennifer Garner and I’m sure those tears weren’t fake as you alluded. She’s a wonderful, caring person–who now is also a mother, so why shouldn’t she feel sympathy for the children whose lives have been devastated.

  • Lola

    Good for them. Its great when celebrities use their fame to draw attention to those in need.

  • Betsy

    Two women of Hollywood that have something between their ears.

  • j4r3d

    Oh! I wasn’t being sarcastic! Garner really IS a good actress!! I love her!!

  • fan of both

    both these women are wonderful role models and agree there’s "something between their ears"!Good role models who seem to have good values and higher standards too.

  • Paula

    Besides visiting..and crying! did the give any money to help this children??? I’m sure they didn’t…..jennifer warner’s mouth is so disgusting….

  • paula

    besides the visit and the crying (come on…!) did the donate any money to these poor children??? I doubt i…..

  • amy

    actually Reese donates both her time and money to the childrens defense fund, the charity which she and jennifer are very involved in and that works to help these children, the charity set up the "Freedom School" to help young storm victims there.

  • noname

    holly crap batman, look at that chin in the last picture. i had no idea……………….

  • menotu

    You know this blog is kind of annoying because you have no sense of irony. It’s like you are either to nice or not smart enough to see thru the celeb bullshit. I am not trying to insult you, but this blog is not funny enough for a celeb blog.

  • hmmmm

    re: menotu.you know what they say, those who can, do. those who can’t search the internet putting down those who accomplish what..well, menotu can’t do. irony. is you’re setting up criterion for something that is free-form. a blog. spare us. celeb bullshit? ah, yes, everyone bow down to bastar.. i mean master menotu, the all-seeing, all-knowing god of hollywood. he can spot bullshit 6 inches away from his computer screen folks!

  • To Menuto

    You know this blog is kind of annoying because you have no sense of irony. It’s like you are either to nice or not smart enough to see thruthe celeb bullshit. I am not trying to insult you, but this blog is not funny enough for a celeb blog.—————————————————Yet, it attracts thousands. On a Brangelina blog alone, you can get 2000 bloggers in two days.So apparently, much to your chagrin Menuto I am sure, this blog does very well with this format. It is refreshing and fun. Great job Jared! Your numbers speak for themselves.

  • Guadalupe

    Finally, two young mother, beautiful and smart.So good for them. and for us!!!

  • Sandbitch

    Hey, forget the two very ordinary looking celebs with money for mattresses, check out those two little girls~ they are absolutely gorgeous – talk about being totally outshined. Garner should feel honoured the little girl sat on her lap.

  • melisa

    they are really so great two human…jennifer garner is so cute( especially)…

  • Whatever

    ou know this blog is kind of annoying because you have no sense ofirony. It’s like you are either to nice or not smart enough to see thruthe celeb bullshit. I am not trying to insult you, but this blog is notfunny enough for a celeb blog.# 10 | menotu Yeah….okay……Bye.

  • moonbeams

    Thanks for the pics. The next time some rabid politician, or some ignorant jerk criticizes Hollywood or the fact that celebs have political beliefs they ACT on, I will remember those who "bear witness" and who give and and those who do nothing.I’d rather stand with people like Jen and Ben, Reese, George Clooney, Brad, Angelina, Leo and a host of others thana bunch of bitter, selfish people who do nothing and think that’s the way it’s s’posed to be.

  • j4r3d

    Thanks #12 and #16. (;

  • #16

    Thanks #12 and #16. (;# 18 | j4r3Please, no thanks neccesary. We LOVE this BLOG and we’ll defend it from people who can’t see the remarkable, wonderful job you are doing. Like #12 said, YOUR NUMBERS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.

  • To Jared

    Hey Jared, Check out post 1068 on the LC Rumours Thread. What do you think? Can we make a mountain out of that molehill….lol. It is under the name Angelah. Come on, we are starving here.

  • To Jared

    Sorry, That’s was meant to be the TR Rumours not LC Rumours. There isn’t an LC Rumours thread…..and of course you know that…..lol. Sorry,

  • Mona

    #2 Lola…I agree with you 100%.

  • linda

    I think it’s lovely that they are down there drawing attention to what is NOT being done by FEMA, the government and insurance. I was down there on vacation 2 weeks ago and while it is still my favorite city in the world, it’s sad that it is still so devastated. Please visit, the city still lovely and the people down there really need your money spent down there. They are really trying to pull themselves up but they still need our help. Alot of help. Make levees not war!

  • Darlene

    Very nice photos and it’s good that the celebs are visiting the ravages of destruction by Mother Nature. Question is…what took this delegation so long to get there. It’s not as if it happened a few days ago. My next question is will Garner and Witherspoon put their money where their mouths are? I don’t take a celeb’s visit to stricken areas nor anything they say seriously until I hear of them contributing a million or two of their monies. I do take seriously people like Bono, Jolie, and others who have literally given millions of dollars to grief stricken areas and continue to give and of course prods other people to contribute. Garner and Witherspoon both have the money to give so it will be interesting to see what comes out of their visit.

  • Lori

    I agree. I know these two have good intentions to show the devastation of Katrina but it’ll remain to be seen whether they actually donate money to the rebuilding. That also goes for areas along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. I live on the Gulf Coast here and the devastation is still heart wrenching. Cities further down the coast are still totally whipped out. In fact, there is talk of merging Bay St. Louis and Waveland together since nothing was spared in either city. And I mean nothing! People don’t realize that from one end of Mississippi to the other is almost gone. Casinos are still rebuilding. If you saw their barges that were once connected to the backside of the casinos, on the Gulf side, now across the street you’d be in awe at how big those things are. And wonder how a building that weighed billions could be moved. The majority of old Southern Antebellum homes are all gone. Homes that were passed down through generations.. gone. A few are skeletons of what they used to be. You’re heart actually stops beating at the loss of ALL those homes and businesses across the entire Gulf Coast of Mississippi. In a few weeks I’m planning my first trip back to N’Awlins to see the destruction myself. I know here in MS if it were not for the churches who came from all over the US to help with clothing, food and water more people would’ve died due to heat exhaustion and starvation.

  • Julie

    For all of the people demanding proof of money these two women may or may not have spent, I just have to ask: and what have YOU done for the victims of the hurricane? And are you still doing it, since the crisis isn’t over by a long shot? Or is it just easier to sit at a keyboard and bash a celebrity when their presence alone will bring the issue back to the forefront for a lot of people who have easily let it slip their minds?Oh why bother, we all know the answer.

  • Julie

    For all of the people demanding proof of money these two women may or may not have spent, I just have to ask: and what have YOU done for the victims of the hurricane? And are you still doing it, since the crisis isn’t over by a long shot? Or is it just easier to sit at a keyboard and bash a celebrity when their presence alone will bring the issue back to the forefront for a lot of people who have easily let it slip their minds?Oh why bother, we all know the answer.

  • amy

    exactly. and firstly Reese does give financially. she gives money to the childrens defense fund, a charity that helps these children and others in need of help out there, the charity is the one that set up the freedom school to help the storm victims, and she and garner are there on behalf of the childrens defence fund. they both work very closely with the chairty. and lastly, when this terrible thing happened, celebs came out, now you never hear about it anymore at all, i believed everything was pretty much ok now crisis wise, granted im not from america, but i wasnt aware and now i am, their raising awareness on an issue that still needs attention. so props to them for doing so. because that WILL help. i agree with #26. have any of these people getting on their soap box done anything themselves and are are they still doing so? probably not.

  • Darlene

    Oh, but you don’t know #27. I have given to aid in rebuilding and to help the victims on several occasions and actually I have given more than I could really afford. Now let me see Garner put forth some money and not just lip service.

  • paula

    RE: to JulieI don’t earn MILLIONS of dollars, and I’m not a celebrity…so that’s the issue, if you make that kind of money, you should help this type of causes, not only with your presence and your picture taken there crying, but with a CHECK, you know what I mean??? that’s the point..

  • paula

    one last thing: I dont’ buy that image of Jennifer Garner crying, It just looks so fake (remember: she is an actress….even I can force a cry once in a while…)

  • amy

    just because youre not on millions, doesnt mean you cant or shouldnt donate, thats a pathetic excuse. and they are using their fame positively. they know being there will generate press, they want to increase knowlege and awareness in the issue and they know they can so they are.people are turning such a positive thing into something very negative, and thats sad.people are missing the important issue here. its pathetic that people are arguing over money. their there doing something important, something that matters, and their there on their own time because they KNOW their in a privliged position and can bring awareness to the issue by being there, being involved. Reese does give money, i dont know much about garner, so i dont know if she does, but im betting she does. her intentions are good, and some comments here are just disgusting.

  • paula

    In my opinon you SHOULD help in you make millions, there is people living with less than US$ 1(or even less!!! or nothing) a day, so if you make a lot of money, you shoud have the concience and try to help those less fortunate than you….no????? It’s good they help with their presence there, but to me that’s just one of the few things they can do to help and since they are famous is let’s say it it’s kind of their job to do it and make people not to forget abouth those issues, but I’m so positive that’s all the do…

  • angelah

    good for them to lend help

  • amy

    well the discussion is pointless because Reese DOES donate her own money, not only her time and jennifer DOES donate her own money (Garner did contribute to the Katrina fund, as well as supporting various funds across the board from child to adult.) and it isnt their job to make people not forget about these issues at all. it isnt their job to do charity, or help out, they do it because they want to and thats their choice. good for them!

  • turtlespoon

    how come you didn’t highlight cicely tyson’s name? she’s a celebrity too; has been for quite some time.whether their emotions/reactions are real or not, this is the job of the celebrity, to give back to the community of the world. they have enough nice things and a job easier than a coma, it’s the least they can do. tom cruise could learn a lesson or two from ALL of these lovely ladies.

  • amanda

    I am born and raised down here and believe me, its still a horrifying mess. I still cry real tears on a regular basis. Whether or not these women were truly sincere with their tears, it doesn’t matter. Any awareness and attention of how horrible things still are down here will still keep the conversation a household topic and hopefully encourage other celebs to open their wallets. I’m sure their accountants are telling them they need the right offs! I’m telling you america, my beloved new orleans won’t be fixed in all of our lifetimes. still very sad and frustated.

  • amanda

    I am born and raised down here and believe me, its still a horrifying mess. I still cry real tears on a regular basis. Whether or not these women were truly sincere with their tears, it doesn’t matter. Any awareness and attention of how horrible things still are down here will still keep the conversation a household topic and hopefully encourage other celebs to open their wallets. I’m sure their accountants are telling them they need the right offs! I’m telling you america, my beloved new orleans won’t be fixed in all of our lifetimes. still very sad and frustated.

  • amanda

    I am born and raised down here and believe me, its still a horrifying mess. I still cry real tears on a regular basis. Whether or not these women were truly sincere with their tears, it doesn’t matter. Any awareness and attention of how horrible things still are down here will still keep the conversation a household topic and hopefully encourage other celebs to open their wallets. I’m sure their accountants are telling them they need the right offs! I’m telling you america, my beloved new orleans won’t be fixed in all of our lifetimes. still very sad and frustated.

  • amanda

    I am born and raised down here and believe me, its still a horrifying mess. I still cry real tears on a regular basis. Whether or not these women were truly sincere with their tears, it doesn’t matter. Any awareness and attention of how horrible things still are down here will still keep the conversation a household topic and hopefully encourage other celebs to open their wallets. I’m sure their accountants are telling them they need the right offs! I’m telling you america, my beloved new orleans won’t be fixed in all of our lifetimes. still very sad and frustated.

  • amanda

    I am born and raised down here and believe me, its still a horrifying mess. I still cry real tears on a regular basis. Whether or not these women were truly sincere with their tears, it doesn’t matter. Any awareness and attention of how horrible things still are down here will still keep the conversation a household topic and hopefully encourage other celebs to open their wallets. I’m sure their accountants are telling them they need the right offs! I’m telling you america, my beloved new orleans won’t be fixed in all of our lifetimes. still very sad and frustated.

  • amanda

    I am born and raised down here and believe me, its still a horrifying mess. I still cry real tears on a regular basis. Whether or not these women were truly sincere with their tears, it doesn’t matter. Any awareness and attention of how horrible things still are down here will still keep the conversation a household topic and hopefully encourage other celebs to open their wallets. I’m sure their accountants are telling them they need the right offs! I’m telling you america, my beloved new orleans won’t be fixed in all of our lifetimes. still very sad and frustated.

  • mayflower

    I forgot about NO but thanks to these two great actresses now I remember to do something more about it….. Now about those bitches that insulted Reese and Jen, I hope it’s your turn to be devastated by hurricanes much worse than what happen in NO and then maybe you will all learn to appreciate the help of the celebrities.

  • mayflower

    I forgot about NO but thanks to these two great actresses now I remember to do something more about it….. Now about those bitches that insulted Reese and Jen, I hope it’s your turn to be devastated by hurricanes much worse than what happen in NO and then maybe you will all learn to appreciate the help of the celebrities.

  • sophia

    είσαι καταπληκτική Ντζέννιφερ. Μου αρέσεισ πολύ γιατί δίχνεισς αυτό που είσαι. Δε φοβάσαι να το δίξεις. Συνέχισε και θα φτάσεις ψυλά.

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