As Hurricane Florence starts to bear in on the Carolinas, the efforts of a big star to help out after Hurricane Katrina are being called out for their failure.
From Daily Wire:
After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, actor Brad Pitt created a charity called the “Make It Right Foundation,” which built homes for those in the city’s Lower 9th Ward. The homes were supposed to be “affordable, high-quality, environmentally sustainable” and “safe,” according to the foundation’s website. But an NBC investigation has found that the homes are falling apart, and the organization has “all but disappeared.”
NBC spoke to Kamaria Allen, who purchased one of the Make It Right homes for $130,000 in 2011 but has since abandoned the house which has “mushrooms growing from its split siding” and “wooden boards propping up its sagging roof,” NBC reports.
The news outlet spoke to 11 residents (10 on the record) who said the houses are “rotting and dangerous.”
“They complain of mold and collapsing structures, electrical fires and gas leaks,” NBC reported. “They say the houses were built too quickly, with low-quality materials, and that the designs didn’t take into account New Orleans’ humid, rainy climate.”
Allen’s kitchen cabinets were found to have mold and she had frequent headaches and constant fatigue. Her parents and brother, living in another Make It Right home also were suffering from mysterious illnesses. Her mother had respiratory trouble and both her father and brother developed muscular tremors, with her brother also having trouble breathing.
Allen’s family would like to leave but they can’t afford to move.
What makes it worse? The organization, Make It Right seems to have disappeared into the wind. Their New Orleans office has closed. They haven’t been responding to the residents and haven’t done been addressing the issues with the homes.
After not getting any resolution from the foundation, residents have now sued them and Pitt.
According to NBC, some of the problems may have been directly attributable to the desire to build “green.”
“Well, Brad Pitt is a tough boss,” Darden said in the 2010 speech at the PopTech conference, posted on YouTube in 2011. “He said that we had to build houses that were safe, affordable, green, adaptive, durable, designed by award-winning architects, designed around residents’ needs.”
But the designs, from places like Ghana, Chile and Japan weren’t necessarily appropriate for Louisiana. For example, initially, they built the homes with flat roofs. But that didn’t account for the rain. So they had to rebuild some of the roofs.
They also built some of the decks with untreated wood, but then the wood rotted.
Brittany West lived in one of the flat-roof houses — a buttermilk-yellow rectangle hugged by a front porch.
She moved in in 2011 with her husband and three daughters, and after one of the first rainfalls, she said she noticed water pouring in under the door. Make It Right fixed the leak, she said, but water kept seeping into the walls whenever it rained. By 2012, West said she was getting near-constant migraines, which she now attributes to mold.
Over the next three years, West said she called Make It Right every few months to complain. Each time, Make It Right employees came to take pictures of the damage and took notes, she said, only to leave the organization before following through.
Once she moved out of the home, the headaches stopped.
It’s hard to fault Pitt for wanting to help out and they did provide homes.
But by accounting for liberal theory, cutting corners and not accounting for practical locational considerations, they created more problems than they anticipated and they need to “make it right.”