Pitt pushes Katrina recovery

Brad Pitt stood among a sea of pink tents this week as he unveiled plans for 150 sustainable homes in part of New Orleans devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

The Hollywood star, who has pledged $5m of his own money to the development, visited the site this week to launch the project and encourage people to contribute to the funding.

The tents represented locations of the new homes that Pitt’s Make It Right project hopes to create in the city’s Lower Ninth Ward, where houses were swept off their foundations by flooding in 2005.

The environmentally-friendly buildings, which have been designed by a team of architects from 13 firms, will be built on stilts to avoid future deluges.

They are set to have rooftop solar panels, rainwater harvesting systems and a back-up generator to provide power during storms.

The actor told reporters on Monday that 150 homes will be completed by next year, but he would like to see more built.

“There is no reason why we can’t do 1,000 homes,” he said, adding that they have been represented by pink tents because it “screams the loudest”.

Pitt hopes that wealthy individuals, church groups and businesses will pledge $150,000 – the sum needed for each building.

He first announced details of the scheme at a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York in September.

He said: “We’re going to help to make it right with 150 sustainable, affordable houses – houses that stand out for their design both aesthetically and structurally, so that these people can live in beautiful safe structures that respect their spirit and provide a good quality of life.”

Pitt, who has a house in New Orleans’ fashionable French Quarter, began the Make it Right project to rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward after meeting with those hardest hit by the hurricane.

Businessman Steve Bing has also pledged $5m to the project.

Kate Martin

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