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Lucy Lawless' Race To Escape Hurricane Katrina

August 31, 2005

ET Online

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The footage of Hurricane Katrina is heartbreaking and the images are shocking. Among the one million people who were evacuated out of New Orleans and surrounding areas were a number of stars in town for various projects, including "Xena" actress LUCY LAWLESS.

She was in the city shooting the made-for-TV movie "Vampire Bats." The actress was one of the mass swarm of people who fled the devastating storm, which has left New Orleans 80 percent under water, has reportedly left more than a 100 -- and possibly thousands -- dead, and did catastrophic damage to the rest of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Lawless tells ET she and the crew thought about sticking it out. "We thought we were just going to tough this one out and stay in the hotel with the locals," she says. "We're so glad we got out -- we're so grateful that the news service made us ... we had a car and we managed to get gas before it all ran out."

It took the actress nine whopping hours to travel a route that usually takes an hour. Now, she's not concerned about the film. All she can think about is the devastation people face in the south.

"We can not finish this movie," she says. We've lost our crew, we've lost our costumes, we've lost everything. But that's not our greatest concern at the moment. It's about our friends who are still there and their property and the animals we left."

With her family back home and out of harm's way, Lucy left the city with three production members and found refuge in Baton Rouge, LA. But the popular star is concerned for the people who weren't as lucky as her.

"I hope all those little kids we passed are alive," she says. "People don't have cars, they don't have money, they don't have any money for supplies and so there's no way to escape ... I hope they're okay."

BRENDAN FRASER and MICHAEL KEATON were also in the city for the production of the movie 'The Last Time,' which was quickly suspended and the cast and crew escaped to safer locales.

The Food Network chef EMERIL LAGASSE, who lives in the city where he has three restaurants, made it through the hurricane safe and sound, but due to phone lines being down, the network had difficulty staying in contact with him.

Actress SELA WARD is a Mississippi native and still owns a house in the hard hit state, where dozens of lives were lost. But luckily for Sela, she was in Los Angeles filming the FOX series "House" when the storm blew threw.

Two-time Oscar winner HILARY SWANK was also in town working on JOEL SILVER's new thriller, but safely fled to Austin, TX.

Among the organizations offering relief to victims include:

Red Cross: 1-800-HELP-NOW

Salvation Army: 1-800-SAL-ARMY

Catholic Charities: 1-800-919-9338

Jewish Federation of St. Louis:

ET is also joining forces with the American Red Cross for a series of PSAs for Hurricane Relief.