Rebuilding the Lower 9th One Home at a Time
Frustrated by the snail’s pace of rebuilding in New Orleans’ Hurricane Katrina-devastated Lower 9th Ward, Brad Pitt launched the Make It Right Foundation to build 150 affordable, green, disaster-resistant homes for families who lost everything. Make It Right asked Brownstein to join an impressive group of local, national and internationally-known architects, engineers, contractors, and others to offer pro bono assistance; initially through our highly regarded real estate practice.
Make It Right owns a number of vacant lots it purchased from New Orleans’ urban renewal agency. Homeowners displaced by the storm own others. Brownstein has worked with Make It Right to create the various form real estate and construction contracts necessary to complete the construction and sales of the new homes, depending on structure of each individual transaction. Make It Right often functions as a primary or secondary lender giving Lower 9th residents very favorable financing, and Brownstein has assisted in the creation of the form loan documentation.
In the process of building quality, affordable homes to withstand the effects of a 100-year storm, innovations in construction techniques, technologies, and materials were made that could transform the green building industry. More importantly, these innovations will benefit communities everywhere by making strong, safe, energy-efficient homes far more affordable. Some developments were so innovative that Brownstein’s IP practice got involved and filed strategic patents on Make It Right’s behalf. Among these was a new type of pervious (porous) concrete that allows water to pass through and infiltrate into soils, reducing the amount of storm runoff draining into the sewer systems. Pervious concrete uses include sidewalks, driveways and streets.
It is an honor for us to play a small part in this effort to bring the Lower 9th Ward back to life. At this writing, 14 families are now living in Make It Right homes, and 19 homes are under construction. With over 100 homes to come, we look forward to helping Make It Right restore this neighborhood — home-by-home, family-by-family.
For more information on Make It Right’s mission, the amazing homes like the Float House and cutting-edge green building technologies, visit www.makeitrightnola.org.
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