Brad Pitt unveiled his ambitious new residential vision for the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Ninth Ward of New Orleans on Monday’s Today show. With a goal to have the project completed by the end of next summer, he calls it “Make It Right.”
“I’m hoping we can start here and expand all over New Orleans,” the star, 43, told Ann Curry as the two walked among pink tents (“an art installation, a social statement,” he called them, admitting he’d like to see how it looks on Google Earth) erected to mark where on the site the future homes are to be built.
Calling himself “not much of a salesman,” Pitt, who on Nov. 9 pledged $5 million of his own money toward the long-gestating project, is asking the general public – “foundations, individuals of means, church groups” – to donate and “help the families of New Orleans get back into their homes.”
In a statement, New York Senator Hillary Clinton said, “[R]ebuilding this city is not a New Orleans obligation or a Louisiana obligation – it is an American obligation.”
“We can do it, it’s ready to go,” said Pitt, explaining that each home would cost $150,000. Should prospective contributors not be able to make such large donations, separate household items are available for what he called “Christmas adoption,” such as a solar panel or family bathroom fixtures.
Love of My Family
Asked if this project were his top priority, even above making movies, Pitt said that actually his family comes first, but “that love of my family brings me here.”
Pitt also explained that the prototype drawings of the new houses show the residences built on stilts because of the fear of future flooding, just as homes in California would be built to withstand earthquakes. A team of architects led by the New Orleans-based John Williams designed the Louisiana homes.
Angelina Stops By
Already the site is familiar to Pitt. Over the weekend, his companion Angelina Jolie, 32, and their daughter Zahara, 2, were among the spectators wandering among the pink-covered fixtures – as was local resident Ivory Porter Webb, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
Webb reportedly started talking to Jolie only to realize who she was – so Webb apologized for interrupting the actress. “I don’t want you think I’m a lunatic,” Webb said.
Far from it, says the paper: Jolie invited the woman to a party Monday night, an excited Webb later revealed.
Jolie also hooked up with Pitt as he was cycling near the site, down by the river – where he posed for a photo with a fan before riding off.