American Idol winner Taylor Hicks almost missed out on the chance to audition for the show when he was caught up in the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The Alabama native was almost stranded in New Orleans, Louisiana, when the August (05) storm flattened the city - but got out just in time. The grey-haired soul man, who was named the fifth American Idol on Wednesday (24MAY06), says, "(On the) Sunday night before Hurricane Katrina hit, I was (in) one of the last taxi cabs out of New Orleans." Hicks was so stirred by the events of Katrina he felt he had nothing to lose when it came to auditioning for American Idol days later. He adds, "I took a plane flight to Las Vegas and here I am."