Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Make it Right"?

I've been really tired lately which is why I haven't blogged in a bit. I wrote this a few days ago, and just finished it, so I hope you enjoy!

So today was our first official day of work. We went to the warehouse and got the official tour, and actually got our hands dirty. We moved bunch of things around, installed a fence/door for an outdoor storage place for RT and set up some shelving. We also got a chance to go on a tour throughout the areas we will be working in.

One area we did also go to was the Ninth Ward. Now this name alone, brings about all sorts of stories and conflicts, I'm sure many of which will be discussed at later dates, but the current question is "Is Brad Pitt's project Make It Right or making it wrong?"

Brad Pitt created a project called Make It Right in which he hoped to use the blank slate provided by Katrina as a place to start a new. His plan was to help rebuild homes in the Lower Ninth Ward, but to make them "Green Houses," basically use recycled and earth friendly products. Well he went forth with this project and is in the process of rebuilding some homes in the Lower Ninth Ward. This is commendable, yes. In a time where it isn't sexy to talk about New Orleans anymore, to come down here and make a commitment, and actually deliver on that commitment is great! However, is the money being spent wisely? Are these new "green" houses what the residents of the Lower Ninth need?

We drove in the Lower Ninth, and let me tell you, it's almost barren. A place that was once a one house right next to the other bustling neighborhood, is now, in certain parts, barren and resembles more of a field than a neighborhood. So in the barren land, all of a sudden, you will see these very modern looking houses that are raised high into the air. In a place like New Orleans where architecture is so important and has so much history, it's hard to see a modern home build there. It's especially hard because these homes may be eco-friendly, but they are also expensive. With the amount that it takes to build one of these homes, Rebuilding Together could rebuild two. Granted Rebuilding Together rebuilds where Make it Right builds from the ground up, but what is more green than using materials that have already been used, a little process I like to call recycling!

Anyway, another problem with Make it Right is that it is rebuilding homes, not rebuilding neighborhoods. It isn't going to encourage too many people to move back, in my opinion, if the only people that have rebuilt in your area have these big expensive, non New Orleans houses. If there is not support system, no infrastructure, it will be hard for the neighborhood to survive.

In the end, yes it's good that Brad Pitt is here helping in the rebuilding process. Lord knows that New Orleanians could use some help, as well as some attention. So thanks Brad for doing what you deem proper, you are one piece of this big ole puzzle.


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