Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa, who brought their daytime talk show to New Orleans this weekend, helped assemble playground equipment Monday at an elementary school damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Their syndicated show, “Live With Regis and Kelly,” will be in New Orleans through Wednesday. Over the weekend, they taped segments spotlighting the city’s food, music and culture.
“We’ve been bringing the show down to New Orleans for years, and the city has given us so much each time we’ve visited,” said Executive Producer Michael Gelman. “It feels great to be able to return the favor.”
On Monday, Philbin and Ripa helped volunteers build a playground at Charles Drew Elementary School, which was damaged when Katrina flooded 80 percent of New Orleans in August 2005. They taped a show segment to air Wednesday.
They used nuts and bolts to secure a playground sign to a tall yellow pole for display. They bolted hand and foot pegs to a climbing wall and helped pour concrete into holes at the base of play equipment to secure it in the ground.
“It’s very important to this school and this city that this is happening,” Philbin told a group of volunteers.
When completed, a large area of buckling asphalt where students used to play will be replaced by picnic tables, benches and play equipment — padded at the base with cushy piles of wood shavings.
“This is such a culturally rich city, and it’s an ideal location for a family trip,” Ripa said.
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Some 400 volunteers affiliated with KaBOOM! a national nonprofit group dedicated to creating play spaces for children worked on the project. Charles Drew Elementary was the 50th of 100 playgrounds the organization pledged to rebuild along the Gulf Coast since Katrina.
Guests for the New Orleans-based shows include Luke Wilson, John Stamos, Emeril Lagasse, Paul Prudhomme, Martina McBride, Cowboy Mouth, Pete Fountain, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters.