DeGeneres, a Louisiana native, has been personally affected by the hurricane--which left a trail of death and destruction across the Gulf region--with a number of her relatives and friends losing their homes.
Ditching her regular joke-filled monologue, DeGeneres fought back tears as she told the studio audience, "We had a whole show planned for you...We have a different show planned for you today because things have changed, and we cannot pretend they haven't.
"We have to acknowledge the people affected by Hurricane Katrina. This is the worst disaster in the history of the United States...My friends and my family have lost everything...So I can't pretend to do a normal show. I just won't do it."
DeGeneres, who has started up a hurricane relief fund, talked with a range of people about how the disaster has affected them, as well as those who have helped through donations.
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