In 2007, two years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Brad Pitt launched the Make It Right foundation, the purpose of which was to rebuild houses for New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. The plan was to rebuild 150 safe, energy-efficient homes. What the Lower 9th Ward ended up with were houses that were made wrong; aka that were reportedly rotting, molding, and had bum plumbing and electrical. A lawsuit was threatened by a New Orleans attorney against Make It Right last month. Brad Pitt beat that lawsuit to the punch with his own lawsuit that Make It Right filed against the architect responsible for designing the houses.
According to Insurance Journal, Make It Right is suing New Orleans architect John C. Williams, arguing that the mistakes in the homes he designed could cost Brad’s foundation more than $15 million. Make It Right claims they paid John millions to design over 100 homes in the Lower 9th Ward, but construction on the 150 promised homes was never completed due to John’s failure to design waterproof structures. For example, here’s one of the broken houses:
The lawsuit claims water damage was noticed in the homes within a year of building. One of the reasons for this, according to Make It Right’s lawsuit, is that the homes had insufficiently sloped roofs. A lot of the homes were designed with flat roofs, which isn’t a great idea. John’s company allegedly went in later and attempted to slope the roofs (which the lawsuit claims were mostly failures), and did so while keeping Make It Right in the dark about the true nature of the damage. One 7-year-old home was recently torn down at the insistence of neighbors, as it was reportedly so rotted from water damage.
In 2014, Make It Right sued the manufacturers of a weatherproof wood product called TimberSIL for $500,000. It isn’t known if TimberSIL ever paid Make It Right. According to the lawsuit, Make It Right isn’t holding John C. Williams responsible for the 39 homes that were damaged due to the TimberSIL.
Make It Right issued a statement regarding their lawsuit against John C. Williams, saying they pledged to “continue to work proactively with homeowners in the Lower 9th Ward.” Just a thought, but maybe they should just let someone else take over? Like, oh, I don’t know – basically anyone who can build a house without the roof leaking? They’ve already proven that maybe they’re not the best people to be building houses. I mean, the architecture alone is the first clue. That house looks like what you might get if there was a 4th little pig who was really into Frank Gehry and built his house out of whatever he could shove in his car from the clearance section of Home Depot. And we all know the only pig who had any home building sense was the one with the bricks.