Mixed Reviews on Brad Pitt's New Orleans Housing Initiative

Not everyone is in love with the neon-colored houses Brad Pitt has helped to build in New Orleans.

Mixed Reviews on Brad Pitt’s New Orleans Housing Initiative

Not everyone is in love with the neon-colored houses Brad Pitt has helped to build in New Orleans.

-Margeaux Baulch Klein

New Orleans houses

In 2007, when Brad Pitt saw how slow the rebuilding in the Lower Ninth ward in hurricane ravaged New Orleans was happening, Angelina’s better half decided to do something about it and created a foundation called Make It Right to design and construct affordable, green housing in the neighborhood.

Now, nearly two tears later, the organization has built 15 homes with plans to build over 100 more. However, the Brad Pitt Houses, as the locals call them, have drawn both approval and criticism from architects and the residents who live there.

“Brad has the very best intentions,” said Jennifer Pearl, a real estate broker in the neighborhood. “However, had he come here with houses that looked like what had been here before, he probably could have had four times, five times as many houses up by now.”

In fact, the modern and brightly colored, neon homes are the newest tourist attraction in New Orleans with tour buses circling the neighborhood on a regular basis. James Dart, a Manhattan-based architect who was born and raised in New Orleans, described the houses as “alien, sometimes even insulting,” noting that “the biggest problem is that they are not grounded in the history of New Orleans architecture.”

However, despite the gelatin color of the houses, Dart added that Pitt deserved a great deal of credit and has “done more for New Orleans” than any government agency.

“It’s hard living here now, but it’s going to be worth it,” said Melba Leggett-Barnes, a former resident who has returned to the neighborhood post-Katrina to live in one of Pitt’s houses. (NY Times)

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