The Brad Pitt effect: How movie star has transformed the lives of 109 New Orleans families who lost their homes to Katrina – but now live in these hurricane-resistant eco-friendly properties
Daily Mail Reports:
Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans with furious and deadly force this month ten years ago – and no celebrity is more attuned to the anniversary than Brad Pitt.
Pitt, who recently listed his and Angelina Jolie’s five-bedroom French Quarter home for $6.5 million, has been working to rebuild destroyed houses in the hard-hit Lower Ninth Ward since the monster hurricane left its path of destruction.
‘We went into it incredibly naïve,’ the megastar told the New Orleans Times-Picayune, ‘just thinking we can build homes – how hard is that?’
A lot harder than he thought, it turns out. But that didn’t stop him, nor the area’s residents, from plugging along, and now Pitt is thrilled that 109 colorful, sturdy, ecofriendly homes dot the land that following Katrina was nothing but mud and debris and torn-apart lives.
Pitt said he is thrilled to see people in the once-devastated area sitting on the porches of their new spectacularly-built homes
‘I get this well of pride when I see this little oasis of color and the solar panels,’ the dad of six told the paper.
As a part-time NOLA resident and amateur architecture enthusiast, Pitt wanted his foundation, Make It Right, to build homes that not only suited the residents’ needs, but were well-designed, environmentally-friendly, and not only cheap to make, but to live in.
‘I drive into the neighborhood and I see people on their porch, and I ask them how is their house treating them? And they say, ‘Good.’ And I say what’s your utility bill? And they’ll throw something out like, ’24 bucks’ or something, and I feel fantastic.’
Pitt was also able to use his considerable powers of persuasion to lure some of the world’s best architects, including Shigeru Ban, Thom Mayne, and even Frank Gehry, to design some of the futuristic homes.
The area has become one of New Orleans’ tourist attractions.
But it wasn’t easy getting to this point – Pitt says that he had no concept of the bureaucratic snags he would have to hurdle, including forgivable loan structures, family financial counseling, lot rights, and HUD grants.
Pitt made sure that the residents got to pick their own colors for their homes and decide how high they wanted the houses to be off the ground
At first the angular modern homes looked like aliens in the NOLA nabe but now the area is one of the more popular tourist attractions.
The interior of the new homes built by Make It Right are every bit as modern and pleasing to the eye as the exteriors
The homes were built with new appliances, chef kitchens, and stainless steel fridges and stoves, making the interiors just as homey as the exteriors. Pitt said he did not feel the homes had to be made cheaply and keep people in a ‘cycle of poverty’
Read more: Daily Mail