Hurricane Katrina is off most people’s minds these days, but a recent story on Green Building Elements brought my attention to the ongoing work there and one great success story.
A couple years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Brad Pitt started the “Make It Right Foundation” to build a neighborhood of safe and healthy green homes for residents of the Lower 9th Ward, the area of New Orleans hit the hardest by the hurricane and an area that was getting little help from others (probably due to its history as a lower income neighborhood as well as the great extent of the damage there). Pitt wanted to focus Make It Right’s building efforts on sustainable, cradle-to-cradle, high-quality design, while “preserving the spirit of the community’s culture.”
Make It Right’s Progress
The Make It Right Foundation has moved along and grown from 13 architects to a staff of 27. And it has made a lot of progress on the construction front. Not only has it built a number of homes by now, it has built some of the highest quality green homes imaginable.
All of the homes it has built so far have been designated LEED platinum for their focus on energy efficiency and sustainability, and the area is now the “largest, greenest neighborhood of single family homes in America,” according to Make It Right and the U.S. Green Building Council.
The Lower 9th Ward is still far from rebuilt, but this work by Make It Right is a nice, big step in the right direction.
Make It Right Testimonials from Homeowners
“When I hear Make It Right’s name, the first thing I think of is hope,” one new homeowner, Diedra Taylor, showing her great appreciation for Make It Right, has said. “Make It Right not only helped me get a house, I have financial independence. I want to put my five-year-old in karate school and my daughter in dance school. I have the ability to afford it now, because someone took the time to help me.”
Another homeowner in the Lower 9th Ward, Ann Parfaite, said: “This project affords residents in the Lower 9th Ward the opportunity to return to their neighborhood under better conditions than they were prior to the hurricane. I am very happy to be able to participate in the Make It Right program and to be restored to my home in the Lower 9th Ward.”
This is an inspiring story, and one based on recognizing and respecting local culture. Kudos to Brad Pitt for not only being a great actor, but also an environmental and social justice activist with a good vision for sustainable solutions.
Photo Credit: abundantc via flickr