Brad Pitt, me, and a couple of groovy houses in the Big Easy.

Don’t you just love giving money to the charities of celebrities? It’s like somehow you feel like you could be their new best friend, if only they knew your name, and how much you care about what they care about, and what a fascinating, engaging person you are, underneath your pathetically normal exterior!

But that shallow motivation and deep infatuation is not why today I’m giving to Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation. www.makeitrightnola.org Not at all!

Photo by Cheryl Gerber, New York Times

I actually care a lot about the rebuilding of New Orleans Lower Ninth Ward. I was horrified and activated by the Katrina disaster and its aftermath. My husband, the Oglethorpe University students, and our children have been to the city numerous times to help Hands On and Habitat for Humanity with excavating and building homes for returning New Orleans residents. And I shared some of Brad’s frustration with the slow pace of rebuilding back in 2007.

Cheryl Gerber

So how cool was it that Brad took that frustration and came up with the innovative idea to commission 13 architecture design firms to design affordable, green houses, with the goal of ultimately building 150 homes all for returning Lower Ninth residents? Using his big Hollywood name to attract design firms like Kieran-Timberlake, GRAFT, Thom Mayne, Workshop/APD, and Shigeru Ban was really inspired… and 54 homes are under construction or have been completed.  Crank-pots may claim that they are a tiny bit too design-y for the neighborhood. But these are petty complaints in the face of righteous action that has actually moved the ball forward and put people back in homes.

These adorable Make It Right Foundation homes are likewise providing a beehive of activity and real jobs that are desperately needed in the Crescent City, and they are a tourism draw par excellence. Which is good for New Orleans and good for the Lower Ninth. (And Brangelina’s continual presence in the city & at the Super Bowl is pure gravy.)

My $100 today goes to Make It Right … and Brad.

8 thoughts on “Brad Pitt, me, and a couple of groovy houses in the Big Easy.

  1. Well, I think 15 houses is amazing!!! We had a hard time with our 1 house. Fifteen would be way to stressful for me! And just think, it’s not about 15 houses, it’s 15 families!

  2. Not sure where you got your facts on the houses. There are currently 54 houses completed or under constructions. Sadly this type of misinformation can lead to a lag in support for rebuilding projects.

    • Oooh, i stand corrected. I will Make It Right on the post itself — I was taking my info from the NY Times article of 11/29/09, but maybe things have changed a lot? Normally, I always talk to the people at the foundation itself so I’m sure to get the absolute correct info, but I was traveling and didn’t have that opportunity. I agree — it’s a much more compelling statistic to have completed 54 homes vs. 15!
      please don’t tell brad ….

  3. Brad Pitt gets frustrated at the slow pace of rebuilding in 2007 and so gets… a whole 15 houses built two years later? Am I missing something here? This sounds like he gets to look great/noble/caring while actually providing hardly any of the homeless thousands with a home again.
    This looks like a showcase for Pitt and all those glossy architects. Why build houses when you can build the brand, eh Brad?

    • Well, i guess what I think is that Brad is at least investing in New Orleans, and did so when it wasn’t that fashionable … AND he moved there… AND he got marquee architects involved, meaning that they would be building stuff that makes people stop and take a look, AND he has produced 15 houses that, arguably, are not exactly in the total neighborhood feel BUT are bringing tour buses, and other folks, and news organizations into the 9th Ward … all of which is probably– no definitely good news. Is it a slam dunk? No. But he’s there (sometimes) and he’s committed and he is putting his money down and getting a lot of attention and visibility and visitors to the 9th Ward when it’s so …. yesterday’s news. But I love the way you think, Sarah darling! xxxxoo B

  4. Betty

    Of course I know about you and the wonderful work you’ve been doing. I actually started this charity so I would get a chance to meet you and get away from Angelina. Hopefully, you feel the same…

    Just kidding of course. Betty, I love the opportunity for renaissance out of tragedy and while celebrity causes can make a terrible event less “real”, this project is brilliant. I look forward to your blog every day and learning about the good around us is so much better than the “news” focus on the bad. You make a difference.

    Dan

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