All of us are aware of what natural disasters can cause. From the heat waves to the floods, we know how unstoppable such incidents can be.
In August 2005, when New Orleans was hit by HurricaneKatrina, one of the most affectedregion was the Lower Ninth Ward. Many organizations came to give a helping hand to the victims, and relief donations were given from all over the world.
Shortly after the disastrous phenomenon, Brat Pitt, a producer and actor, decided to reconstruct the locality again, he even made New Orleans his new home. Though that was the case, he never looked forward to the kind of struggle that he faced while trying to ensure everything returned to normal.
In 2007, Make It Right Foundation was started by him, which has been and still is assisting in starting reconstruction schemes that are environment friendly in Lower Ninth Ward. Until now, the organization has constructed homes for those who found themselves homeless.
Read the full story to find out the progress that this locality has managed to attain since the passing of Katrina. Do you think the organization’s objective will one day be fully accomplished? Please SHARE this story with all!
On the eve of Hurricane Katrina’s 10-year anniversary, we look back at the incredible efforts one man has contributed to save one of the city’s most devastated regions.
Since 2006, Brad Pitt had worked tirelessly to rebuild homes in the city’s Lower Ninth Ward. The architecture enthusiast has worked with his Make It Right Foundation to construct impeccably designed, eco-friendly, and cost-effective houses for the region’s residents.
“We went into it incredibly naïve,” Pitt told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “Just thinking we can build homes — how hard is that?” Yet, Pitt was determined to remedy the region’s ruin, and, in addition, wished to apply new methods to its reconstruction.
The homes that have been built have a more modern aesthetic — and feature sharper, angular shapes. These homes differ very much in style from the city’s traditional Baroque architecture, but the key was to make them environmentally sustainable to live in.
“You do not have to build low-income housing with the cheapest materials that keep families in a poverty trap,” he told the Times-Picayune. “Whether that be running up high utility bills or with toxic materials that run up your doctor bills. It doesn’t have to be that way.”
The process wasn’t hurdle-free. The foundation had to overcome tricky bureaucratic regulations, and other systematic requirements including loan structures, HUD grants, and lot rights.
In the end, a total of 109 beautifully colorful, eco-friendly homes were built. Each and every one of them was designed with the residents’ needs in mind.
“The inhabitants, the families are the ones who designed the neighborhood,” said Pitt, who worked very closely with the architects and builders. “They had choices in front of them. They picked the houses to suit their needs. They picked the colors.”
The residents could also determine how high they wanted their homes to be off the ground. A few of the most notable features on these houses include: advanced framing, pervious concrete, electrical systems, and solar paneling.
The region has become a local tourist attraction. Pitt even persuaded some of the world’s most renowned architects, including Frank Gehry and Thom Mayne, to design the homes.
The cost of rebuilding the neighborhood was $26.8 million, or an average of around $150,000 per home. But the most important thing was that residents felt they could live comfortably once more.
“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,” said Pitt.
A lot of the financial support for the rebuilding project was derived from donations and federal loans. And while Pitt has put his New Orleans home up for sale, he has told the paper that he’s excited to return and film in the remarkable city.
To see more of the houses built in the district, click here.
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