Brad Pitt set a goal to rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. He wanted to "make it right" for the residents of a neighborhood that had not only been dealt a crippling blow by Katrina, but had also been virtually forgotten by the recovery effort. No one was interested in rebuilding one of the poorest neighborhoods in New Orleans, and definitely not one below sea level.
That's when being Brad Pitt comes in handy. He founded the Make it Right Project with Steve Bing in 2007. The two set to rebuild the Lower Ninth with an initial goal of 150 houses. Each partner pledged to match $5 million in donations, for a total of $10,000,000 in matching funds. Pitt broke ground on the project March 19, 2008. The first six homes were completed six months later. Today they have completed 35 homes with another 38 currently under construction. The website even offers a nifty mapping feature that allows for tracking progress at each address or a photo history of completed homes.
Each home is specifically designed with its future inhabitants in mind. And every house is raised to a level above Katrina's flood lines. All designs must also have access to the roof. On a sunny day the dwellings are able to function entirely on solar power. Financing ensures that residents who wish to return to the Lower Ninth can do so without further financial hardship.
Pitt, an architecture enthusiast, asked for help from a few of his friends in high places, resulting in a vibrantly outfitted new community that's getting a lot of attention. Yes, the homes are extremely modern, and no, it's nothing at all like the Lower Ninth. But we doubt you'll hear too many of the residents complaining.
More photos on the next page.
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