The 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on New Orleans is around the corner on Aug. 29, and Brad Pitt’s Make It Right organization plans to honor the day with the unveiling of a new tiny home.
Founded in 2007, Make It Right’s mission is to help build homes, buildings and communities for people in need, all with a focus on green living. Since it began, teams have built 109 LEED Platinum-certified homes within a 20-block area of the Lower 9th Ward, a neighborhood that was absolutely devastated by the hurricane in 2005. This will be the organization’s first tiny home.
According to a blog post by communications director Taylor Royle, the 496-square-foot high-tech mini house will have two stories. A living room, full kitchen, full bathroom and washer/dryer for laundry will be available downstairs, while the upstairs will hold the bedroom, closet and work area/desk.
It will also have solar-power, energy-conserving appliances and recycled countertops, among other environmentally-friendly features. And of course, hurricane-resistant features will also be incorporated.
Actor Brad Pitt didn’t have much experience with financing forgivable loans when he built his first home in the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Lower 9th Ward in 2008.
But seven years later, Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation has gained worldwide attention for the eye-catching home designs and “green” building features — such as solar panels and rainwater collectors — that it has incorporated into a growing development for low-income residents seeking to return to the neighborhood.
“I walked into it blind, just thinking, ‘People need homes; I know people who make great homes. Let’s solve this problem of the inequality and low-income housing in a place that’s been ravaged by the environment,’ ” the 51-year-old Pitt said Friday in a telephone interview.
Although Pitt and his wife, actress Angelina Jolie, put their French Quarter mansion on the market earlier this year, he said they’re not planning to leave the city for good and may buy another home in time.
A decade after Katrina’s floodwaters destroyed more than 5,300 homes in a neighborhood once known for having the highest rate of black home ownership in New Orleans, Pitt’s efforts have paid off: His foundation has spent $26.8 million to build 109 homes in a 20-block area.
In part because of his efforts, the neighborhood has managed to bounce back somewhat, though slowly. It now has about 37 percent of its population before the storm — a lower figure than most other devastated parts of the city.
Though he said there’s still work to do, Pitt considers the Make It Right development to be an example of how to rebuild in a neighborhood that some city and federal officials had suggested should not be rebuilt at all in the storm’s aftermath.
He called it “an oasis of color, an … oasis of how to build with dignity for low-income housing, and I see it as a template for how we can build our cities and certainly our neighborhoods in other areas in the future.”
• x002 Magazines – The New Orleans Advocate.
LOS ANGELES — Brad Pitt and Bill Maher say Costco contributes to animal cruelty by selling eggs from caged hens.
Pitt sent a letter to the chief executive of the big-box chain Thursday asking the company to stop selling eggs produced this way. Pitt’s letter to Craig Jelinek says caged birds suffer atrophy of their muscles and bones from years of immobility, adding that the cages have been banned in California and much of Europe.
“As you know, these birds producing eggs for your shelves are crammed five or more into cages that are not large enough for even one hen to spread her wings,” Pitt writes.
Maher took aim at the company in an editorial published last week by The New York Times.
“Multiple investigations into battery cages document animals with deteriorated spinal cords, some who have become paralyzed and then mummified in their cages,” Maher wrote. “Imagine cramming five cats or dogs into tiny cages, hundreds of thousands in each shed, for their entire lives. That would warrant cruelty charges, of course. But when the egg industry does it to hens, it’s considered business as usual.”
Both commended Costco for its other animal-welfare efforts and called on the company to make good on its 2007 promise to move toward uncaging its egg-laying hens.
Pitt and Maher each spoke out on behalf of Farm Sanctuary, an organization that advocates against the mistreatment of animals and factory farming.
There’s only one possible opening line for this article, so we’re just going to go for it: Hollywood royalty met British royalty on Friday when Angelina Jolie Pitt and husband Brad Pitt had tea with Prince William and Princess Kate at Kensington Palace on Friday.
In case the news is too good to believe, it was confirmed to Us Weekly by a Kensington Palace spokesman: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Pitt at Kensington Palace on Friday afternoon.”
What would two of the most famous couples in the world talk about over tea? Saving the world, of course. “They discussed their shared interest in combatting the illegal wildlife trade,” the Kensington Palace spokesman said.
While the families also share a love of children, it was an adults-only tea party. While the Jolie-Pitts did get to meet Prince George outside the royal family’s apartment—and brought a belated birthday present for Princess Charlotte— both royal children missed their chance for a selfie with the famous actors (and all six Jolie-Pitt children missed their chance for royal portraits).
This was the first time that the two couples had met, but according to Us Weekly’s anonymous palace source, “Everyone got on splendidly.” So much so that “Brad and Angelina spent much longer with the Duke and Duchess than planned. They ended up staying for almost a few hours.”
Pitt and Jolie had brought their family to London for a luncheon at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as part of Jolie’s work on U.K. foreign policy and her ongoing efforts to end sexual violence in war zones.
• x008 June 26 – Kensington Palace – London, England.
It’s a special mother-daughter trip for Angelina Jolie Pitt and 9-year-old Shiloh. The mom of six brought her daughter to Lebanon on Friday to spend time with a 12-year-old Syrian girl named Hala, whom Angelina met a year ago during a trip for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
“Shiloh is very aware that I hold refugee families in high regard and has been asking to come on missions and meet them for many years,” Jolie Pitt tells PEOPLE. “She had heard about Hala since my last visit to Lebanon, and has been wanting to meet her and her brothers and sisters.”
She continues, “It was wonderful that they were able to meet, play together, and make friends. So many refugees are children. I’ve often heard them say that the most painful thing is not that they have lost their homes – it is that they have lost their friends.”
In 2011, Brad Pitt – on behalf of his Make it Right Foundation made a promise to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation that his non-profit would build 20 environmentally friendly homes at no cost to the Fort Peck Community.
Though Pitt stated the homes would be free, a reported $600,000 was fronted by Fort Peck tribal leaders and a plethora of problems continued to rear their heads in the face of developing the homes. In addition to sewage and land infrastructure problems, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also weighed in on the project – adding to the series of delays.
With all said, Taylor Royle, Communications Director of the Make it Right Foundation informed ICTMN, that the homes are on their way to finally being completed after several years of frustrating delays.
“Our first 10 homes are currently under construction and should be completed in July. We expect the remaining 10 homes (20 total) to be completed in the fall,” wrote Royle in an email to ICTMN.
The “Stirrups for Students: Charity Polo to Benefit Care to Learn” event will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 6 at the Blue Heron Farm, 4020 Benne Road in Defiance.
Care to Learn was founded in 2008 by Springfield businessman, Doug Pitt, with support from his brother, actor Brad Pitt.
The Pitt brothers had grown up in the region and Doug still lives in the area with his family. Learning of the high incidence of extreme poverty in his own hometown, Doug shared the challenge with family and friends and founded Care to Learn.
Since then, Care to Learn has funded 500,000 individual children’s health, hunger, and hygiene needs.
Now in the St. Charles, Wentzville, and Hazelwood districts in our region, Care to Learn St. Louis is hosting a charity fundraiser. This fun-filled day (for all ages) will have a polo match at the Blue Heron Farm in Defiance.
Read more. Great initiative!