Thursday, December 25, 2008

Brad Pitt Makes It Right in New Orleans: We Can All Help

The picture of Brad Pitt on the cover of the January 2009 Architectural Digest magazine caught my eye. What was he doing on the cover?

The article’s headline said it all: “Brad Pitt Makes It Right in New Orleans: After Hurricane Katrina, the Actor Breaks New Ground and Helps Rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward.”

The article describes how, in December 2006, Brad Pitt gathered a group of experts in New Orleans to figure out how to build affordable and sustainable housing for victims of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in late August of 2005.

One of the most-devastated areas was the African-American community of the Lower Ninth Ward (northeast of the French Quarter). By the time I toured the Lower Ninth Ward in October of 2007 it looked peaceful – grass grew in open fields and there were almost no buildings. I learned that this peaceful appearance resulted only after the destroyed homes and dead people had been removed.

Now Brad Pitt is leading the effort to build new homes in this area – homes that are eight-feet off the ground and feature rooftop escape hatches so residents won’t be trapped again if the waters rise so quickly. The article features the six houses completed in October 2008, which will be joined by 144 more in this first stage.

The Make It Right organization is seeking donations to help fund its efforts. Check out the organization’s website to learn more about this amazing rebirth story and to help the rebirth effort.

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