Brad Pitt and Hurricane Katrina
After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Brad Pitt called in the world’s top architects for his acclaimed Make It Right project. The plan was to build green homes to replace those destroyed in New Orleans. Now the first houses are up and inhabited… so is it just a celebrity ego trip or a true regeneration?
Debra Dupar, pregnant with her fifth child, is sitting outside her new house. She is washed by the noon sun of an early spring day, nursing a pinkish-red drink and chatting to her friends. A short way off a camera crew is setting up, assessing shots, squinting at the light, chatting to potential interviewees. They are working for Spike Lee, who is making a documentary about the place where Debra lives.
A guided tour of about a dozen people tramps along the vestigial street, marked out by some sinewy evergreen oaks, or “live oaks” as they are called here. Two men, self-consciously dressed – architects, probably – get out of a maroon taxi, scan the scene, sweep it with camcorders, say to each other: “OK, I’m good”, get back in the taxi and go, all in about 60 seconds. And then the man from the London Observer wants to look inside Debra’s house.