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Arts and Culture

Do the ‘Brad Pitt Houses’ Help New Orleans?

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Posted on Nov 30, 2009
Brad Pitt house
Still image from the Make It Right project's Web site.

New Orleans resident Robert Lynn Green Sr., who has lived in the Lower Ninth Ward for more than 40 years, according to the Make It Right site, returned to his neighborhood after Katrina despite losing his granddaughter and his mother during the storm and its aftermath.

Does Brad Pitt’s housing development project in New Orleans’ Katrina-ravished Ninth Ward represent a much-needed boost to the neighborhood, no matter from whence it came? Or do his efforts amount to yet another example of a Hollywood do-gooder’s personal crusade, however well-intentioned, serving to prop up a star’s image more than aid the community in question? According to The New York Times’ Fred A. Bernstein, the reviews of Pitt’s pet project are mixed, but it all depends on whom you ask.  —KA

For more on the Make It Right project, click here.

The New York Times:

Indeed, the houses seem better suited to an exhibition of avant-garde architecture than to a neighborhood struggling to recover. A number of designers I talked to, some of whom had visited the neighborhood, lamented the absence of familiar forms that would have comforted returning residents.

James Dart, a Manhattan-based architect who was born and raised in New Orleans, described the houses as “alien, sometimes even insulting,” adding, “the biggest problem is that they are not grounded in the history of New Orleans architecture.” But, like other architects I spoke to, he expressed admiration for Mr. Pitt. “He deserves a great deal of credit,” Mr. Dart said, adding that Mr. Pitt had “done more for New Orleans” than any government agency.

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By Exssallence, April 4, 2010 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s amazing how these architects paid no heed to the designs that were familiar to residents, that were developed over many decades to adapt to climate, that were customized by their residents to their way of living. I don’t think they even bothered to talk to any residents. Nice idea, crappy execution.

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By ardee, December 3, 2009 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

archy, December 3 at 1:11 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Pitt deserves credit for taking a national disaster seriously and contributing to “making it right”.

Kudos, archy, for an attempt to inject reason and intellect into a forum seemingly gone mad with self centered irrationalities…

Lest we forget..Sean Penn was also on the site of that disaster long before any American troops, officials or aid…and so were Canadian rescue workers as well…But Georgie flew over at least once…

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By Kay Johnson, December 3, 2009 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

“The only way Brad Pitt and the like in Hollywood can help the society is to stop starring in shitty movies.”—diman

I wasn’t planning to comment, but you made me laugh! BTW, I agree with you, although once in a great while, Brad Pitt does actually make a decent film—Hollywood is highly over-rated! This year, for the Academy Awards, they are supposed to be expanding the number of films nominated for best picture to 10. How is that going to work unless the Academy includes several foreign films? Most of the better, or those films that interest me, are made very independently, and then are picked up after the fact by the major studios.

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By archy, December 3, 2009 at 9:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Pitt deserves credit for taking a national disaster seriously and contributing to “making it right”. That’s more than I can say for most of the “architecture”. It’s more of the boring, fragmented, vainglorious approach characteristic of much current architectural design in the US. I agree with Mr. Dart that some of the designs, cringe-inducing to this architect, must be insulting to those returning from 4 years away from home. And so this aspect detracts from what Pitt is trying to do. It’s tough to get good help.

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By ardee, December 3, 2009 at 4:19 am Link to this comment

Correction;
George W. did more for N.O. than anyone else
******************************


Change “for” to “to” and Im onboard.

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By Howie Bledsoe, December 2, 2009 at 7:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Correction;
George W. did more for N.O. than anyone else..

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By grumpynyker, December 1, 2009 at 8:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Bernstein should use his limited talent to get off
his ass and investigate the failure of the New Orleans
Housing Authority to approve safer building codes,
pressuring the Army Corps of Engineers to strengthen
the levies system,the demolition of public housing
undamaged by the storm,etc.  Is he going to criticize
the houses built by Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry too?

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By Uncle Ernie, December 1, 2009 at 8:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Those who can, like Pitt, do! Those who can’t, like the old gray bitch, critique! How may house has the NYT built? Oh yeah, zero!

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By diman, December 1, 2009 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

The only way Brad Pitt and the like in Hollywood can help the society is to stop starring in shitty movies. By the way he gets the taxes written off by participating in such a charity. Sounds cynical but I don’t give a shit.

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By ardee, December 1, 2009 at 3:45 am Link to this comment

One wonders at the criticisms of an effort by an individual , an effort that seemingly exceeds our own governments recovery plans in that area.

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