Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on January 9, 2008
In an interview with Charlie Rose on the rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Brad Pitt says, “I wish it was taken care of at a federal level, state level, even local level. But if this be the case where we got to hit it at a grassroots level, so be it.”
While grassroots is not a word you’d necessarily associate with this actor and Hollywood heartthrob, that’s exactly what Pitt has been doing. Not only did Brad make a commitment to the area after it was devastated by the worst natural disaster in American history, he and his family have been part-time residents of the city since January 2007.
His latest initiative, “Make It Right”, plans to build 150 affordable, environmentally friendly homes over the next two years, focusing on the poorest and hardest hit area — the Lower Ninth Ward. Pitt and philanthropist Steve Bing each pledged to match $5 million each in contributions to the project (that’s $10 million for those of you who are mathematically challenged).
To help him achieve his goals, Brad called upon the most brilliant minds in architecture — commissioning 13 architectural firms to come up with 13 designs to help rebuild this impoverished area. According to the New York Times, “Thom Mayne of Morphosis in Los Angeles designed a house that would float if the city floods. James Timberlake of Kieran Timberlake Associates in Philadelphia created a house with native vines climbing up the side walls to provide shade and coolness. Steven B. Bingler of Concordia in New Orleans envisioned a house with wide front steps ideal for a traditional crawfish boil.”
Pitt’s interest in architecture and compassion for his fellow man is helping to realize his dream to “get people back in homes”. He’s hopeful the first families will move into their new digs by summer 2008. The full interview can be viewed at makeitrightnola.org.