Make It Right Makes Progress Rebuilding New Orleans Lower 9th Ward
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Celebration, Remembrance, Redoubling of Commitment Four Years after Katrina NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Make It Right is keeping Brad Pitt's promise to New Orleans. Almost two years ago, the actor pledged to build 150 affordable, green homes in the Lower 9th Ward, the neighborhood hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina and the flooding it caused. Today, on the fourth anniversary of the storm, 14 families are living in homes built by Pitt's Make It Right Foundation. Nineteen homes are currently under construction on the site and 49 families are in the process of becoming Make It Right homeowners. "New Orleans has come a long way since the storm. And Make It Right is proud to be part of the rebuilding of a great city, and part of a nonprofit community that has been integral to New Orleans' recovery," explained Tom Darden, executive director of Make It Right. "But while progress should be celebrated, the anniversary of Katrina is also a time to honor the lives lost and to remind the rest of America the work here is far from done," Darden added. According to the latest Greater New Orleans Data Center, close to 80% of the city is back overall. But in the poorest neighborhoods, the numbers are much lower. In the Lower 9th Ward, only 19% of the residents have come home. Make It Right is working to address the reasons that residents have not returned - including increasing the amount of affordable housing available, increasing the sustainability of the neighborhood and investing in infrastructure repairs and improvements. In coming months, Make It Right will break ground on duplex homes that will give neighbors returning to the area a flexible housing option. All Make It Right homes include a number of safety features designed to weather the next storm - such as elevation well above the flood plain and impact resistant glass or hurricane fabric to protect windows. In addition, Make It Right recently worked with the Louisiana Recovery Disaster Fund (LRDF) to plant 30 rainwater and urban gardens on the site and at schools and community centers in the Lower 9th Ward and other New Orleans neighborhoods. "We are trying to build 150 green, affordable homes and more - we are trying to help bring a unique community back to life," Darden noted. Make It Right will host three anniversary events Saturday, August 29, at the Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp Street, New Orleans: 3 - 5 p.m. "Disaster to Opportunity" Discussion An acclaimed panel of experts will engage in a forward-thinking discussion of the lessons learned rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters. 6 - 7 p.m. Patron Party Music by Charmaine Neville and Ravi Coltrane, cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and desserts in a setting that allows engagement with local, national and international Make It Right architects, as well as a close up view of models of the new Make It Right duplexes designed for the Lower 9th Ward. 7 - 9 p.m. General Reception Music, cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and dessert. The Make It Right Foundation is committed to building 150 energy efficient, solar powered, storm resistant homes in New Orleans Lower 9th Ward, a neighborhood wiped out by Hurricane Katrina and the breach of the Industrial Canal levee. The Foundation began in December 2007 as a collaboration between actor Brad Pitt, Graft Architects, Cherokee Gives Back and William McDonough + Partners*. Today 33 families are either living in a Make It Right home or have one under construction. Another 49 Lower 9th Ward families are in the process of becoming a Make It Right homeowner. For more information: www.makeitrightnola.org SOURCE Make It Right Anna Corin Koehl, +1-504-524-3342, +1-504-491-7224, firstname.lastname@example.org, for Make It Right; or Kim Haddow of Make It Right, +1-504-620-3239, email@example.com
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