The French city of Orleans (search) is rallying to help its hurricane-hit American namesake.

The city south of Paris plans to donate money raised from ticket sales at local sports matches to help hurricane victims in New Orleans, a statement from City Hall said Friday.

Orleans and its university have also offered to take in 50 students from the University of New Orleans (search) for the school year, the statement said. The mayor's office is working with U.S. authorities to find out what other aid it can provide.

"The very difficult situation in Louisiana's largest city has caused strong emotions among the residents of Orleans," the statement said.

Orleans, 75 miles south of Paris, is best known as the city saved by Joan of Arc (search). In 1429, she and her troops freed the city from a siege by the English.

Across the Atlantic, New Orleans was founded in 1718 by French settlers and named after the Duke of Orleans (search), who was regent of France at the time.