Tiny Home, Big Hearts for Katrina Victims

Tiny Home, Big Hearts for Katrina Victims

A tiny gift is making a big difference in the newly renovated Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans.

Make It Right—a non-profit foundation founded by actor Brad Pitt in 2007—has just finished work on a LEED certified tiny home project that, for some, has proven to be a nearly three week stretch of 15 to 18 hour days.

“We’ve been building pretty hardcore for the past week,” says Jordan Pollard, research, design and development manager for Make It Right. “For some of us, tomorrow will be our 20th day on site.”

A Tiny, Green Gift

Founder Brad Pitt takes a bike ride through New Orleans' renovated 9th Ward
Founder Brad Pitt rides a bike through New Orleans’ renovated Lower 9th Ward.

That hard work was all worth it.

At 496 square feet, Make It Right’s first tiny home project features both a downstairs—complete with living room, full kitchen, full bathroom and washer/dryer. It also has an upstairs consisting of one bedroom, a closet and a work area with a desk.

Pollard calls the tiny home “your standard green home building,” as it includes eco-friendly features such as solar-power, ENERGY STAR appliances, no-VOC paint, sustainable floors and recycled countertops. 

As an added bonus, John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin—renovation experts and hosts of FYI’s “Tiny House Nation”—visited the site on Friday, August 28 to film the tiny home and feature it on their program.

RELATED: Greenbuild Helps Make It Right In New Orleans

Jordan Pollard (left) and Craig Turner (right) plan out design for the tiny home
Jordan Pollard (left) and Craig Turner (right) plan out tiny home designs.

An Anniversary of Remembrance and Rebirth

This is just one of many projects by Make It Right.

Since its inception, leaders have actively worked to rebuild New Orleans from the devastation that occurred on August 29, 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit the area, killing 1,833 people and destroying 5,363 homes in the Lower 9th Ward alone.

This past weekend, the tiny home project helped mark the 10th anniversary of the tragedy. The once-anguished area has a newfound vitality of architecture, community and culture. 

Make It Right marked the anniversary in a variety of ways with what was deemed the “Katrina+10 Weekend,” where the community was able to reflect on the past and celebrate the rebirth of their homes and way of life.

Builders work on the tiny home
Builders work on the tiny home.

The special weekend included a House of Blues performance from Solange Knowles (Beyonce’s sister), the dedication of an entire plot of land for a community garden and the aforementioned energy efficient tiny home that was gifted to a deserving local schoolteacher in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward.

A Dedication to Architecture and Community

The big hearts of Make It Right have laid the groundwork for eight years of compassionate building.

The area continues to grow and will evolve further in big ways, despite the tiny qualities of their latest project.

Make It Right’s generosity and dedication to building extends far beyond energy efficient tech and innovative designs. It also focuses equally on the community, its citizens and their quality of life—an approach that can be an asset to all builders.

A snapshot of a family from New Orleans' renovated 9th Ward
A snapshot of a family from New Orleans’ renovated Lower 9th Ward.

About The Author

Greg Vellante is a staff writer and multimedia specialist at TecHome Builder, as well as a content coordinator for AE Ventures events. He has over a decade of experience writing for various publications on topics that range from cinema to editorials to home technology. His favorite technologies fall into the A/V and home entertainment realm, and he’s keeping a close eye on the rising trends in robotics and virtual/augmented reality. Greg resides in Boston, holds a degree in Media Studies from Emerson College and pursues screenwriting/filmmaking in his free time.

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