The singer lends a hand at a local school hit hard by Katrina

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated June 14, 2006 08:30 AM
Advertisement

Usher rolled up his sleeves on Tuesday and went to work cleaning up a New Orleans school that had been closed since Hurricane Katrina, the Associated Press reports.

The five-time Grammy winning R&B artist (real name: Usher Raymond IV), 27, joined dozens of volunteers cleaning up the overgrown lawn of the International School of Louisiana, a foreign language-based charter school, which has been closed since Aug. 29.

“To see it, in this state, it’s devastating,” said Usher, who on Monday visited storm-damaged neighborhoods in New Orleans and nearby St. Bernard Parish.

He is slated to visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Wednesday. “I’m here to physically do something and hopefully motivate other people to do the same,” he said.

Shortly after Katrina, Usher – a Chattanooga, Tenn., native who now lives in Atlanta – began Project Restart to help families in the Gulf Coast region find housing.

The musician isn’t the only star who’s lent a hand in the region’s revival effort. Last month, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Garner and Cicely Tyson joined a group of women sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund to reach out to children traumatized by the storm.

New Orleans native Ellen Degeneres also taped portions of her taped show there last month.