The following is a blog entry that I wrote nearly three years ago for another blog. I'm posting it today, five years after Katrina hit NOLA, because it is unfortunately, still relevant. I'm hoping, on this fifth anniversary of Katrina, that everyone who reads this will click the link at the end and at least have a look.
Brad Pitt and I are building houses.
Man, that sounds so cool. Brad Pitt and I are hanging out together, swinging hammers, putting up some houses. I'm sure Angelina would be nearby as well, so really it would be Brad and Angelina and I, hanging together, doing the whole house thing. Of course, Brad's a busy guy, so he wouldn't be around all the time, so sometimes it would just be Angelina and I, hanging out together, playing house (Daddy's mind wanders off into fantasy land, yanked quickly back to reality by the realization that his wife reads this blog).
Okay, okay, I embellish. We're not reallly hanging out together, Brangelina and I - but Brad Pitt is building houses, and I'm helping him out when I can. And so can you.
Y'all know about Hurricane Katrina and the way it wrecked people's lives all up and down the Gulf Coast. What you may not realize is that, due to the truly pathetic, incompetent and greedy nature of insurance companies and all levels of the government, there are still a huge amount of people in the Gulf Coast who have not been able to rebuild their homes. I'm not here to argue about the reasons for it - I honestly don't care about any weaselly excuse for raining down more shit on these people after all they went through. All I know is that the victims of Hurricane Katrina have been through enough, and they deserve a break.
Turns out Brad Pitt agrees with me. Here's a snippet from his site - http://www.makeitrightnola.org/
In December 2006, Brad Pitt convened a group of experts in New Orleans to brainstorm about building green affordable housing on a large scale to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. Having spent time with community leaders and displaced residents determined to return home, Pitt realized that an opportunity existed to build houses that were not only stronger and healthier, but that had less impact on the environment.
Previously, Pitt sponsored an architecture competition organized by Global Green with the goal of generating ideas about how to rebuild sustainably. Several of those designs are currently under construction in the Lower 9th Ward and the project inspired him to expand his efforts.
After discussing the hurdles associated with rebuilding in a devastated area, the group determined that a large-scale redevelopment project focused on green affordable housing and incorporating innovative design was indeed possible.
The group settled on the goal of constructing 150 homes (one of the larger rebuilding projects in the city), with an emphasis on developing an affordable system that could be replicated.
To demonstrate replicability, Pitt determined to locate the project in the Lower 9th Ward, one of the most devastated areas of New Orleans, proving that safe homes could and should be rebuilt. Pitt hopes that this project would be a catalyst for recovery and redevelopment throughout the Lower 9th Ward and across the city of New Orleans.
Having listened to one former resident's plea to help "make this right," Pitt was inspired to name the project "Make It Right" (MIR).
As of this writing, 52 of the 150 proposed homes have been funded. That's pretty good, but it needs to be better. This neighborhood can be rebuilt, and the beauty of it is that it will be rebuilt as a green neighborhood, so not only will people have their homes back, but their homes will help all of us with their smaller carbon footprint. Seems only fair that, if someone's home is going to help all of us, that all of us should help get that home built, hmmm?
Daddy doesn't usually ask for much - read my blog, laugh at my strange humor, comment every now and then and I'm generally a happy camper. However, in this post, I am asking - very strongly - that you donate to this project. One year after Katrina, I set up a website to raise money for Habitat for Humanity and their rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast. The response was underwhelming, due in part (I believe) to the fact that people thought the crisis was over down there. The flood waters had receded, people had moved out of the stadium...business as usual, right?
The crisis isn't over. It wasn't over a year ago, and it isn't now. And that's sad. Just a sad string of broken promises:
The government promised they would help. They didn't.
The insurance companies promised they would help. They didn't.
Now Brad Pitt has promised to help, and he's asking for help from us.
I intend to help him keep that promise. I'm gonna donate whatever I can, because I truly want to see New Orleans come back - better and stronger than ever.
I hope you'll join us. Check out the site, tell a friend, donate. Let's Make It Right.