Make It Right + New Orleans

By Jordan Medeiros — Week 04 Post 03

Eleven years ago Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans; today recovery is progressing, slowly and sometimes unsurely, particularly in one of the most affected areas endearingly referred to as the Lower Nine.

“The Lower Nine, as the neighborhood is sometimes called, became known to the world when the levee burst and blocks of working-class homes were bulldozed by the waters of the Industrial Canal” (New York Times). Although the recovery in the area has been minimal as of present, the improvements, specifically the “Brad Pitt houses” made by Make It Right, are a shining light for the area, proving to be “one of the few fully occupied stretches in this part of the neighborhood” (New York Times).

Make It Right, founded in 2007 by Brad Pit, builds affordable, sustainable, and design-friendly homes for those affected in the Lower Nine and those in need around the country. Partnering with designers such as the Gehry Partners and Ban, Make It Right creates homes that utilize natural resources, making these projects not only eco-friendly but also more affordable for home owners. Furthermore, the foundation functions on the precipice that “communities should be fully engaged in defining their own needs and have a leading role in designing appropriate ways to meet those needs” (Make It Right). Not only do these homes have the aesthetically pleasing qualities of modern residences, but they also function economically and sustainable in a way fitting to specific communities.

The issue: How does anyone determine who receives these homes? The Lower Nine’s population has not returned to its original number pre-Katrina and initial burst of building has ceased, so where does this go? Which homeowners are privileged enough to reside in these “luxury” dwellings? What happens to those displaced? Does this in the end benefit the community or just create a new idealistic version of the older Lower Nine?



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