Stephen M. Silverman
February 28, 2006 01:00 PM

Louisiana native Britney Spears went home to enjoy Mardi Gras – and to cheer up four students whose lives were severely affected by Hurricane Katrina six months ago.

Talking to Good Morning America from the French Quarter Tuesday while St. Catherine of Siena School dancers surrounded her, Spears recalled her “surprise” meeting with the kids from Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans.

“It was an honor to be here with all of them,” Spears said.

Kentwood-raised Britney showed up to meet the students while they were having breakfast with City Councilman Jay Batt and discussing Katrina. Her arrival was met with squeals of delight.

“It was awesome. I will never forget it,” said 14-year-old Lindsay Hernandez, who lived with 21 relatives and friends after her home was destroyed. Another student, Auntrell Prosper, 17, who now lives with her family in a trailer, said of the hurricane’s aftermath, “We had to go to a shelter.”

Spears took the girls shopping and then dining at one of Cajun chef Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants for some fried chicken and red beans and rice, the Associated Press reports.

Spears, 24, also gave the girls fleur-de-lis pins on blue ribbons, and she surprised the school’s dance troupe, the Gatorettes, and brought them gift bags with CDs, DVDs and shoes sent by Capezio.

“They dance so great. They’re awesome,” Spears said after watching the troupe rehearse.

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