Make It Right: Six Years After Katrina

Brad Pitt's MAKE IT RIGHT Foundation continues to rebuild homes and community in New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward.

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  1. The Lower Ninth Ward

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    Discouraged by the lack of progress in the wake of Katrina, actor Brad Pitt created the nonprofit MAKE IT RIGHT Foundation, pledging to rebuild 150 affordable, green, and storm-resistant LEED-certified houses for working families who had resided in the neighborhood when the hurricane hit on August 29, 2005.

    Make It Right
  2. Rebuilding a Community

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    As the nonprofit completes its third full year of building, 75 single-family residences and duplexes have been completed. The US Green Building Council calls the 16-block area where MAKE IT RIGHT has focused its revitalization efforts America’s largest green neighborhood of single-family homes. This view of the Lower 9th Ward, taken on June 19, 2010, from the Clairborne St. Bridge at sunrise, shows the progress being made.

    Max Collins for Make It Right
  3. A Lab for Green Building

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    Since its inception, MAKE IT RIGHT has functioned as a huge laboratory for sustainable, eco-friendly building innovations. "As a result, it has become an initiative that a lot of people are watching in terms of disaster recovery and sustainable building,” says Tom Darden, Foundation Director. Shown here: GRAFT architect Rob DeCosmo with a model of his firm's duplex design for MAKE IT RIGHT.

    TA Smith for Make It Right
  4. High Profile Architects

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    The structures, which feature jutting rooflines, elevated porches, and bright tropical colors, have been built from plans submitted by 21 high-profile design firms run by such notable architects as Frank Gehry, William McDonough, and Hitoshi Abe. This MAKE IT RIGHT home, photographed under construction in 2010, is by Bild Design.

    TA Smith for Make It Right
  5. Meeting Green Standards

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    All of the products used in the construction of the houses are analyzed using the holistic cradle-to-cradle philosophy, which basically means that all building materials meet strict green standards and are healthy for the people who dwell there. The affordable homes, which cost $150,000 each, currently shelter more than 300 Lower 9th Ward residents displaced from the storm. This MAKE IT RIGHT home by Waggoner and Ball Architects. Make It Right
  6. Energy Efficient

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    The homes feature maintenance-free 266-gauge metal roofs that absorb less heat (and cut cooling costs) as well as 4-killowatt photovoltaic solar panels, which harness Louisiana’s bright sunlight to generate electricity for the homes. This MAKE IT RIGHT home by Bild Design.

    Make It Right
  7. Eco-Friendly Interiors

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    Benjamin Moore’s zero-VOC Natura and Aura paints improve indoor air quality, while formaldehyde-free plywood cabinets from Armstrong and Cosentino’s ECO countertops—made from 75% post-consumer glass, porcelain, and stone scraps—come standard in kitchens and baths. Shown here: Homeowner Melba Leggett in her MAKE IT RIGHT energy-efficient kitchen.

    Alexei Lebedev for Make It Right
  8. Making Green Affordable

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    While it’s a common assumption that homeowners need deep pockets to build green, MAKE IT RIGHT has proven that adaptable, durable, high-quality LEED-platinum houses can be constructed at a competitive, market-rate price point. Homes, shown here, by Billes Architecture and Concordia Architects.

    Alexei Lebedev for Make It Right
  9. Elevated for Safety

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    Since the Lower 9th Ward experienced sustained flood levels of four feet in the wake of Katrina, MAKE IT RIGHT residences are built at an elevation of five to eight feet, a full two to five feet above the FEMA recommendation. This home by Eskew+Dumez+Ripple Architects.

    Make It Right
  10. Home Again

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    The human quotient remains the true bottom line for the MAKE IT RIGHT Foundation. "The real success story as far as I’m concerned," says Tom Darden, Foundation Director, "is seeing these families move into an affordable green home that will shelter them safely through the next storm." Shown here: Homeowner in front of new MAKE IT RIGHT home by Concordia Architects.

    Virginia Miller for Make It Right