digital edition

Making It Work

New Orleans

Six years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, the Lower Ninth Ward is finally starting to look like a community again—thanks in large part to the ambitious work of Make It Right.

September 2011
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By Alanna Malone

Make It Right, New Orleans
Photo © Megan Grant
In late 2007, 150 temporary pink structures marked the sites for the yet unbuilt Make It Right homes. Individuals and businesses adopted the pink installations to raise money for the foundation’s rebuilding effort.
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In December 2007, 150 life-sized fuchsia structures occupied the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, where traditional shotgunstyled homes once stood. The Pink Project, as it’s called, was a flashy art installation to help bring attention to Make It Right (MIR), the nonprofit started a few months earlier by actor Brad Pitt, architect William McDonough, and architecture firm Graft Lab, to build 150 safe, healthy, and welldesigned homes for the area’s forgotten residents. “Why pink? Because it screams the loudest,” said Pitt at the time. The overthe- top effort raised millions to kick-start the rebuilding effort. Four years later, the foundation is more than halfway to its goal with 80 LEED Platinum homes built.

“The collaborative approach has been our strategy since day one,” says Tom Darden, Executive Director of MIR. Twenty high-profile architects have contributed home designs and MIR continually works with local firms, contractors, universities, and manufacturers. “We set out to build the best houses we could,” says Darden. “Then we learn through the construction process ways to save money the next time around.”

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This article appeared in the September 2011 print issue of GreenSource Magazine.

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