When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans nearly 11 years ago in August, it claimed over 1800 lives and destroyed many homes. After the devastation, the hollywood movie star actor- Brad Pitt decided to help and give back to the community. Pitt wanted to make and impact and help rebuild the Lower Ninth ward, one of the heavily affected areas from the hurricane.
With Pitt’s affluence, he was able to recruit some of the best architects of our time: Thom Mayne, Shigeru Ban, and Frank Gehry to design some futuristic yet sustainable homes. Each of the architects mentioned above have received the Pritzker Prize, comparably the Nobel Prize of the Architecture world.
The three big named architects were not the only ones to help Pitt achieve his goals. Other internationally renowned architects along side Pitt, came together and created the Make It Right Foundation- a non-profit foundation set out to help the hurricane victims.
With all the key players ready, the foundation and Pitt went out and established a project set to build 150 houses to replace the destroyed homes.
The movie star even went as far as putting his and Angelina Jolie’s five bedroom French Quarter home on the market for $6.5 million. He was determined but admittedly told the New Orleans-Picayune, “We went into it incredibly naïve… just thinking we can build homes – how hard is that?”
Building homes turned out to be a lot harder than the movie star thought. Although it was tough work, over the last 10 years Pitt and his team were successfully able to build 109 colorful, sturdy and eco-friendly homes. The groups ambition does not stop at 109, the group has plans to build at least 41 more to reach their goal of 150.
The picture above is a woman with her hands raised as she is overfilled with Joy that she has a home again. Pitt went as far as to asking the tenants their preferred color to paint their homes. He made sure to take into account their preferences while building these homes. What a wonderful man.
Pitt mentioned that it brings him joy seeing people in the once-devastated area sit happily in their newly built homes. He said “I get this well of pride when I see this little oasis of color and the solar panels.” Pitt made sure to build the houses to be environmentally friendly, aesthetically pleasing while on a budget.
He talks about an experience, “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.”
The houses that Pitt helped built were not only eco-friendly and beautiful. These houses are actually built to withstand the destructive force of a hurricane if it were to hit New Orleans again.
The homes designed by Thom Mayne’s firm, Morphosis, are actually able to float if a hurricane was ever to hit. Other homes were built elevated so they would be above water levels if a flood were to happen. You can see how the buildings are elevated in the image below.
Pitt quoted that rebuilding the neighborhood costed about $26.8 million, which breaks down to about $150,000 per home. The majority of the funding came from federal loans and donations, while we are unsure if Pitt actually spend some of his personal income, he sure did put a lot of time into the project. What a wonderful thing Brad Pitt did for the citizens living in New Orleans. If you liked this article, you can learn more about it below.
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