Soul veteran Aretha Franklin threw lavish parties at a hotel in Detroit, Michigan, last week (21-22OCT05) for survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

Approximately 40 survivors of the August (29AUG05) hurricane which ravaged America's Gulf Coast are staying temporarily at the city's Southfield Hotel after being made homeless by the devastating storm.

Big-hearted RESPECT star Franklin, who lives in nearby Bloomfield Hills, was keen to lift the hurricane victims' spirits with a performance, and willingly chatted and posed for photographs with guests.

She says, "It's the right thing to do. Hopefully some of the other performers in town will follow suit."

Refugee ANTONIA WASHINGTON, who was present at the glittering event, says, "Her appearance here meant so much. I never thought I would be here to see her."