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Archive for Sunday, May 17, 2009

People in the news

May 17, 2009

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DeGeneres, Connick salute Tulane grads

New Orleans — Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and actor-musician Harry Connick Jr. returned Saturday to their hometown of New Orleans to cheer on Tulane University’s graduating “Katrina Class” — the students displaced by Hurricane Katrina nearly four years ago.

“Look at you,” DeGeneres told the 2,000-plus graduates who received diplomas at the Louisiana Superdome. “Usually when you’re wearing a robe at 10 in the morning it means you’ve given up.”

The ceremony included a short film with images of Katrina’s destruction and interviews with students. Clarinetist Michael White and his jazz band performed “Just a Closer Walk With Thee,” and jazz singer Wanda Rouzan performed “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?”

But as in 2006, when she made a surprise appearance at the Tulane’s first commencement ceremony after Katrina, it was DeGeneres who stole the show. She had the crowd laughing and dancing as she strutted through the aisles as she does on her television talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

America Ferrera film looks at effects of war

Mexico City — “Ugly Betty” star America Ferrera is hoping her new film will inspire Americans to address the struggles soldiers face after they come home from Iraq or Afghanistan.

The 25-year-old is starring and producing “The Dry Land,” which follows a young man’s difficulties readapting to small town life following a tour of duty.

Ferrera says the United States “should have an honest discussion about the effects that war has on our society, on the men who come back, on the families that are broken from it.”

She said Friday in a phone interview she hopes the film ignites such discussion.

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