Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie


Brad Pitt helps Christmas wishes come true as families return home to New Orleans

By
Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:51 AM on 23rd December 2008

Families have moved into their newly rebuilt homes in New Orleans in time for Christmas, all thanks to Brad Pitt.

The actor pledged £3.4million to help rebuild the area after it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina three years ago.

And
Brad, who funded 150 eco-houses in the Lower Ninth Ward and plans to
build many more as part of the Make It Right project, is clearly a hero
to the returning homeowners.

Committed: Brad Pitt surveys the homes he helped build in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans

Committed: Brad Pitt surveys the homes he helped build in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans

‘He’s
been round to see me twice, and Angelina visited with two of the
children,’ a resident called Gloria told this week’s Hello! magazine.

The
44-year-old actor, who moved to a $3.5million villa in the city’s
French Quarter with partner Angelina Jolie and their children the year
after Katrina struck, had been furious to find it languishing after
planners turned their backs, saying the area was too flood-prone.

‘It’s
not just housing, it’s homes,’ he has said. ‘It’s where people created
families, took their kids to school, where those kids took their first
steps and played with their friends. These people don’t want handouts,
but they’ve suffered a great injustice.’

Make It Right: Brad Pitt's housing project in New Orleans, Louisiana

Make It Right: Brad Pitt’s housing project in New Orleans, Louisiana

Thousands were left homeless following Katrina.

They
included Inez Converse, 71, who thanks to Brad’s help is now back in
the neighbourhood she lived in for more than 35 years.

And she’s glad she had the chance to thank him personally. ‘He didn’t have to do this,’ she said.

Melba Leggett-Barnes and husband Baxter, both 52, are also thrilled with their new home – and the Hollywood star.
Committed: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie meet New Orleans resident Dee Carla Rogers, who is one of those to benefit from their investment in the area

‘Like family’: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
meet New Orleans resident Dee Carla Rogers, who is one of those to
benefit from their investment in the area

‘He comes to the house all the time.
It’s wonderful – he’s just like a relative,’ she said. ‘We ate gumbo. I
made it. He loved it.’

Brad stepped back from film work to concentrate on the housing project and staged a competition for innovative design.

‘My
home is 15 feet off the ground now and totally green,’ he said.
‘Everything is natural, from the concrete to the paint – no chemicals.’

Brad Pitt

Daddy built this: Brad and Pax explore the site


The best part, she says, is how the layout was adapted for her needs.
‘To get my handicapped brother into our old house, we had to get the
couches out of the living room. Now he can come straight up in a lift.

‘I
am totally grateful to Brad because without him we wouldn’t have had
the opportunity to come home. Twelve of my neighbours are back already;
we are going house to house and getting in the party spirit.’

The full feature appears in this week’s Hello magazine, on sale today.

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