Do the ‘Brad Pitt Houses’ Help New Orleans?
Posted on Nov 30, 2009
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.
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.