Make It Right

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina flooded 80 percent of the City of New Orleans and killed 1,577 people. Hardest hit was the Lower 9th Ward where more than 4,000 homes were destroyed by the storm and the surge of water caused by the breach of the Industrial Canal levee.

Two years later, when actor Brad Pitt toured the city, the once-vibrant neighborhood was still silent and razed, failed by government, frustrated by a lack of progress. After meeting with community groups and families, Pitt established the Make It Right Foundation to build 150 green, affordable, high-quality design homes in the neighborhood closest to the levee breach.

Make It Right kicked off in December, 2007 with the Pink Project – an installation of pink geometric shapes scattered over the 14-square block site where the real houses would be built. As donations came in, the pieces of the symbolic houses were “righted” on their lots. The Pink Project raised 12 million dollars and brought global attention to the challenges and possibilities of rebuilding the Lower 9th Ward.

Since then, 21 local, national and international architects have donated designs for single family and duplexes to Make It Right. By December 2009, there will be 50 homes on the site; by December 2010, there will be 150. Because all of the homes built to date have been certified as LEED platinum for their energy efficiency and sustainability, the Make It Right community is now the “largest, greenest neighborhood of single family homes in America,” according to the U.S. Green Building Council.