The actor came to the city five years ago to rebuild, and finds himself revitalized there too

By Tim Nudd
August 30, 2010 12:35 PM

Ask Brad Pitt what he loves so much about New Orleans, and sooner or later the conversation will turn to shrimp po-boys.

“We used to eat a lot at the Verti Marte,” Pitt tells the Times-Picayune. “A little bitty market with great shrimp po-boys that I couldn’t get enough of. It recently had a fire problem. But after that, we like Irene’s a lot. Antoine’s and the Windsor Court. There are so many. But in general, shrimp po-boys. I order them everywhere.”

But Pitt, 46, is drawn to the Big Easy for reasons that go well beyond the culinary delights. The actor has been involved in rebuilding the city ever since Hurricane Katrina struck five years ago. Today, he feels a kinship that extends to the people, the music and, yes, the world-champion football team.

“In New Orleans, the people are great,” he says. “We can just live and breathe and ride bikes. We can take our kids on bike rides, and local people just give us a shout-out – and let us move on. … Everybody treats us like neighbors.”

And the music, Pitt says, is transcendental. “Truthfully, my favorite sound in the entire world is opening up the balcony doors in the French Quarter and hearing four different sounds playing at once from the apartments across the way or down the street,” he says. “It’s a balmy night, twilight, and I’m drinking a beer, and this feeling just falls over me, of contentment. It gives me goosebumps to talk about it.”

Things are about to get even more exciting in town, too, as football season starts, with the New Orleans Saints defending their Super Bowl championship. “Man, I’m looking forward to the season,” Pitt says. “I cannot wait, cannot wait. I cannot wait for Game 1 against Brett Favre [of the Minnesota Vikings] – I can’t wait.”