Martin Pedersen’s blog post in Metropolis POV on Make It Right, in response to the recent New Republic piece
“The New Republic recently posted a piece on Make It Right entitled “If You Rebuild It, They Might Not Come,” accompanied by the provocative, Google-friendly subhead: “Brad Pitt’s beautiful houses are a drag on New Orleans.” The author, Lydia DePillis, argues that the project, however well meaning, has diverted resources that could be better spent in other parts of the city. . . .
Make It Right planted a very symbolic flag in the ground at a time when the future of the neighborhood was in grave doubt. The Lower Ninth had long feared a “land grab” by developers, enticed by the wholesale removal of the neighborhood (no poor people, lots of open space, perfect for golf courses, resorts, casinos). Given the racial politics of New Orleans and the devastation of the Hurricane Katrina, these were perfectly plausible fears. I would argue that the worldwide attention that Brad Pitt and Make It Right focused on the neighborhood early on made that ugly outcome impossible. . . .
The houses aren’t a drag on the city. They’re undeniable signs and symbols of hope.