24 DECEMBER 2007

Christmas magic came early for youngsters in New Orleans when not one but two Tinseltown legends came to visit. Caring campaigners Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were in town to raise awareness of the tens of thousands of youngsters still affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The glamorous couple, who have made the city their home, were mobbed by grinning youngsters, all eager for a photograph of the special guests during a press conference for the Children’s Health Fund. And Angelina was clearly impressed with the plucky children, describing them as "feisty, fun and full of pride".

"They know where they're going and what they're going to do. It's that kind of spirit that will help everyone get through this," added the A Mighty Heart actress.

Both stars are helping the area recover after the devastation of 2005. "We're focused on community building," says Ocean's Thirteen actor Brad, who has pledged more than $5 million to a project to rebuild 150 homes in one of the city's most badly damaged neighbourhoods.

"It's not just about homes. It's not just about building. It's about the lack of focus on education and health care too."

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The Mr & Mrs Smith co-stars were mobbed by grinning youngsters as they attended an awareness raising day in a school in the American city. The campaigning couple were highlighting the more than 46,000 children whose lives are still affected by the damage caused by Hurricane KatrinaPhoto: © Getty Images
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"This is the largest displacement of children in my own country so I want to learn as much as possible," said Angelina at the eventPhoto: © Getty Images