Reese to the rescue

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Reese Witherspoon says she wants families affected by Hurricane Katrina to know they haven’t been forgotten.

The Oscar award-winning actress was among a delegation of women who toured devastated parts of the city last week.

“I feel really like it’s absolutely imperative that myself and this delegation of women have gotten together to come down and show that we haven’t forgotten, we still care about these children, we are going to continue to lobby for these children,” Witherspoon told ABC’s “This Week,” which aired Sunday.

Witherspoon, who has a daughter and a son with husband Ryan Phillippe, says children are “such a common denominator.”

“Once you have children in your life, you can no longer close your eyes to people who are in a similar situation,” she said. “And I feel really blessed to be able to be on this side of it, but I also recognize the huge responsibility that we have to these people. And I will never forget this experience.”

Billy Joel rocks Syracuse

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) – Billy Joel got a standing ovation from nearly 5,000 Syracuse University graduates Sunday after he serenaded them and urged them to do what they love in life.

“Don’t do it for security or status, prestige, money, or, for crying out loud, don’t do it for somebody else,” he said. “Do it for love. Because if you love what you do, you’ll always do what you love.”

Joel, who never graduated high school but said he traveled “the college of the road,” estimated he has received five or six honorary degrees. That includes a new doctorate of fine arts from Syracuse.

“I’m not here to give you a big song and dance. Maybe a song,” Joel said, and then he led the audience in a tune based on “Down in New Orleans.”

In part, the lyrics said, “Come on everybody, take a trip with me, up to Onondaga County, that’s where I’ll be. Oh, you’re going to be a lawyer or an engineer, you can even study music in the college here. With any luck, you’ll get a Ph.D. at Syracuse University.”

The crowd answered with thunderous applause.

Last fall, Joel gave $320,000 to the university’s college of visual and performing arts for music fellowships.

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