Brad Pitt plans 150 homes for New Orleans

Mon Dec 3, 2007 6:13pm EST
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By Russell McCulley

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Actor Brad Pitt said on Monday he wants to build 150 environmentally friendly homes for families displaced by Hurricane Katrina in a hard-hit New Orleans neighborhood

Pitt's Make It Right project aims to revive the Lower Ninth Ward which was almost totally destroyed in the 2005 storm.

"A hundred and fifty homes is our goal," Pitt said near the spot where the Industrial Canal floodwall broke during Katrina and sent a wall of water through the neighborhood.

"But there is no reason why we can't do 1,000 homes, why we can't do 10,000 homes, why we can't do 100,000 homes," he said against an art installation of bright pink rectangles and triangles meant to draw attention to the cause.

Pitt, who with actress Angelina Jolie owns a home in the city's historic French Quarter, said the new homes would incorporate energy efficient appliances and "green" materials and would be built for an average of $150,000.

He has been a vocal critic of faltering government efforts to rebuild New Orleans and has worked with environmental group Global Green USA on a separate project to construct environmentally friendly homes in the city.

Pitt has pledged up to match up to $5 million in donations for the Make It Right project, which he announced at a conference in New York in September.

An international team of 13 architectural firms has submitted designs for the single-family homes, the first of which could be finished by May 2008. The new homes will be elevated to withstand future floods.

(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

<p>Brad Pitt speaks at a news conference announcing plans for 150 affordable, environmentally friendly homes in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans December 3, 2007. REUTERS/Lee Celano</p>