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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 October 2005, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Freeman hosts hurricane benefit
Morgan Freeman
An emotional Morgan Freeman said Mississippi would "rise again"
Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman has hosted a star-studded benefit concert for victims of Hurricane Katrina, held in his home state of Mississippi.

"We will rise again," said the actor, who was born in Tennessee but who now resides in northern Mississippi.

He said the state "crawled out of the rubble and helped their neighbours and got about the business of surviving".

Singer Macy Gray, country star Faith Hill and US sitcom actor Ray Romano also appeared at Saturday's concert.

The event, called Mississippi Rising, was broadcast on the MSNBC network and on TV stations throughout Mississippi and Louisiana.

Destroyed homes

Nearly 40 US celebrities appeared during the three-hour concert, held at the University of Mississippi in the US city of Oxford.

One of them, former 'N Sync member Lance Bass, told reporters his relatives in Laurel, Mississippi, had lost their homes in the disaster.

"It is very devastating, especially when you have family members that are being bombarded by the thing."

Actress Marilu Henner, Romano's Everybody Loves Raymond co-star Doris Roberts and Jason Alexander from TV's Seinfeld were also present.

Lance Bass
Former 'N Sync member Bass called the hurricane 'devastating'

The broadcast featured taped footage of comedienne Whoopi Goldberg touring the hurricane-damaged coast.

"Mother Nature doesn't care what economic bracket you're in," she said as she drove past destroyed homes in the region.

Thousands of people have started to return to New Orleans, after parts of the city least affected by flooding from Hurricane Katrina reopened.

Some businesses are reopening and power supplies working - but only a few parts of the city have drinking water.

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