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The Houses of Brad Pitt: Why Dost Thou?



New Orleans has a long and storied history of architecture and architectural preservation. In fact folks come here just to see our architecture. Why? Because it’s beautiful, it’s classic, it’s quaint, it’s not American. And very much a part of the Caribbean.

Much of the 9th Ward was swept away by the flooding caused by improperly built flood walls which was under the purview of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineeers. The flooding was not “caused” by Hurricane Katrina.

Of course folks in these flooded areas had their lives devastated and it’s taken a long time and long struggle to get back and rebuild. So I think it’s great that Brad Pitt, an occasional resident of the Crescent City, wants to lend a hand and throw his weight around to get things done and get things built. Sometimes, in fact most of the time, depending on the government to do things, well…they can be a little slow on the uptake if you know what I mean.

Most of the time it’s the private sector that can innovate and get things done faster than government can and I commend Mr. Pitt for creating these house building projects.

But Brad, oh Brad…

Traditional New Orleans Home

Traditional New Orleans Home

I just wish the home designs that he chose to select were more in keeping with our New Orleans culture. Why do people think that to build a “green” home it has to look modern, which most of the time means strange.

I believe most people want to live in traditional homes because they are built around designs of classic and proven lines. I believe that when people drive up to their homes they want them to look warm and inviting and they want to feel warm and cozy when they are in them.

I believe that most of the designers of modern homes are trying to make a personal statement disregarding how the home actually feels and how it will look among the other homes in the neighborhood. So far there seems to be no standard and these modern designs seem to be a hodgepodge of blocks and jagged angels. Who the heck wants to live in that? Well, I guess there are a few that do.

Another problem that folks don’t take into consideration when they build a non-traditional home is that it’s difficult to sell when the time comes. On top of that these blocky angular houses are more difficult to build than a conventional house. Also, there is no reason a traditional type home can’t be built “green” as well and more cost efficiently than these blocky, angular and what I think are unattractive houses.

So the rebuilding projects in the 9th Ward? Thank you, Monsieur Pitt. But I think the home designs really need to be reconsidered not only for looks and cost efficiency but to long term comfort and cultural impact to the community.

Posted in Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans Culture, New Orleans History, New Orleans Life.

2 Responses

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  1. termite says

    wonderful post! did brad pitt and his goons not look around?

    i really don’t understand what they were thinking. these homes are dreadful.

  2. Richard Bienvenu says

    Thanks for the kind words. I think I was just voicing what a lot of people are thinking but for some reason don’t want to come out and say. Theses homes do not fit into our cultural milieu. And do not look comfortable. Frank Gehry apparently designed one of them and as far as I’m concerned is a monstrosity. I don’t care how famous the guy is. Maybe his other buildings were “bold and daring” but who wants to live in a bold and daring house?

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