Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey's search for people he could help led him to Waveland, Mississippi, a community devastated by Hurricane Katrina. He is first struck by how quiet everything is. "To look around," he says, "and see how much earth, trees, houses, structures were moved—left, right, up and down—and for all of it to have settled…that's very eerie."

In Waveland, Matthew meets an engineer who built his "hurricane-proof" dream house to withstand 160 mph winds—but despite his best efforts and the strength of steel and concrete, the builder's house is now gone. "It hurts," he says, "but you can't do anything about it. Mother nature, you know…."
Matthew McConaughey

Next, Matthew travels to an abandoned hospital in New Orleans, where a doctor has been living for days after the hurricane because of a promise he made—he vowed to dozens of families that he would care for their dogs and cats until he was able to get them out safely. Matthew helps the doctor keep his promise—in just a few hours, every beloved pet will have been ferried to safety in hopes of reuniting with their families. Don't we all want a doctor like that?

Matthew is committed to helping Katrina survivors. Read entries from Matthew's journal, exclusively on
Chris Rock

Once comedian Chris Rock heard that the Angel Network had donated food to the people who needed it most, he traveled to the Houston Food Bank to make sure the much-needed supplies got into the right hands. Armed with bags of potato chips and fruit cups, Chris packed boxes alongside other volunteers.

"It feels really good to be out here and to be contributing," Chris says. "It's black and white, Mexican and Asian—everybody's out here together—helping to help people. This is incredible."

With a truck full of food, Chris went in search of survivors. He found about 20 families left homeless by the hurricane at Houston's Bonita Street House of Hope.

"Right here at the first stop, there were so many people with so many stories that just wanted to be heard," Chris says. "[They] just wanted to be hugged, just wanted to be listened to."

One little girl with an amazing spirit brought out a more serious side to the famous funnyman. Chris couldn't help but be reminded of his own daughters. "All you got is family," Chris says. "Think you got a house, think you got all this other stuff, but all you got is family."
Gayle King

Gayle King travels to Slidell, Louisiana, a town 50 miles outside New Orleans and one of the most devastated areas in the state. Eighty percent of the homes in Slidell are underwater. "It's so hard to explain what you see here. You know I've been watching the news non-stop like most people, but when you come and you initially see the debris and you take a look closer and you realize this is really somebody's life," says Gayle.

Gayle meets a family who barely survived the hurricane. They blocked windows with mattresses thinking they would be protected, but as the monstrous storm pummeled Louisiana, five feet of water came rushing into their home. To escape, they were forced to climb into the attic.

"Even though I heard all the numbers—seen all the stories—its even bigger than what you imagine it to be in person," says Gayle. "You look at this damage and you wonder how anyone made it out alive."
Gayle King

Next, Gayle travels to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. "They tell us that the population in this town has doubled to 800,000. That's because people pouring in from New Orleans are looking for a safe place to stay," says Gayle.

One survivor, desperate to help, admits to "commandeering" a boat in order to rescue stranded residents.

Survivor: A friend of mine was stuck in New Orleans in the flood, and they [were] running out of food and water, and they needed some help. … I drove down to New Orleans [and] we commandeered some boats.

Gayle: What does commandeered some boats mean?

Survivor: We stole some boats—18 boats—and we rescued 300 people.

Gayle: Wow! Were you afraid, or did you just say, 'I'm gonna do something'.

Survivor: I just had to do it.
John Travolta and Kelly Preston

Angel Network ambassadors John Travolta and Kelly Preston loaded up a jet and landed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with five tons of supplies. They came bearing blankets, pillows, diapers, water and food for the thousands of families that have sought shelter near the state capitol.

Four 18-wheelers filled with food—thanks to donations from the Angel Network—met John and Kelly at a shelter that housed many of Hurricane Katrina's evacuees.

"So many of these people have such hope and such life and such determination," Kelly says. "It's really beautiful."
Lisa Marie Presley

Lisa Marie Presley is lending a helping hand in Memphis, Tennessee. "I'm here," she says, "because I definitely needed to do something, and it just so happens this is where I'm from. I'm going to do everything I can. People need help—this is a huge catastrophe and everyone needs to stand up."

First stop is a food bank, where, with the help of FedEx® and Kroger®, Lisa Marie loads a truck with groceries. Then it's time for a pit stop at Target® for toiletries and clothes. "I thought I was going to grab a couple things at the store," Lisa Marie says, "and I ended up filling up a truck. I went a little crazy."

Lisa Marie's final destination is the Grand Casino Convention Center in Mississippi to distribute the supplies to people who have lost everything. One evacuee says, "I really appreciate everything Ms. Presley is doing for us. We have nothing, so we're very grateful for everything she's doing."
Jesse Jackson

Oprah caught up with the Reverend Jesse Jackson outside the Houston Astrodome to get his ideas on how to begin rebuilding devastated areas and restoring hope to survivors.

"I see an emotional wave right now of 'let's do something,'" Jesse says. "But then in three months, in six months, it may be three years, we'll need a marshal plan of training, job development, rebuild your own neighborhood as the water subsides—there will be jobs to clear up New Orleans. And New Orleans, like the rest of the coast, just will not go away."
Anderson Cooper

Anderson Cooper says that covering the destruction of Hurricane Katrina has been a life-changing experience. "Reporters are supposed to remain distant…observers," he says. "There isn't any distance in Waveland this week."

Forty-eight hours after the storm, he was on the ground with a search and rescue squad. They came across overwhelming suffering, including a family of four that had drowned inside their home.

Another body was spotted nearby, rotting in the street for two days. "The teams really can't take the bodies away at this point because there is no place to store them," Anderson says. "They put a sheet over her [and] they have taken photographs so her next of kin may be able to identify her. But they are going to leave this body here until someone can come."

"It's devastating," Anderson says. "In Waveland, the storm waters have long gone, but the waves of sorrow have just begun."
Hurricane Katrina victims Keisha and her baby, in Waveland, Mississippi

Hurricane survivor Keisha has been living in the parking lot of Kmart with her children. She has no idea whether her two little brothers survived the hurricane. Like others, she returned to Waveland expecting to find shelter, but found nothing. "We slept on a blanket," she says, "the five of us, for two days. Then someone left and gave us a small tent and a tarp for the kids. There was little water, little food, little anything."

Oprah: Has FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] been here?

Keisha: No, we have yet to see them. The only FEMA we've seen are the Search and Rescue FEMA. But a relief team we have yet to see.

Oprah: Do you feel abandoned?

Keisha: Yes.
FROM: Oprah on Location from Mississippi
Published on September 07, 2005


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