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Brad Pitt plans 150 green homes for Katrina victims in New Orleans

The actor Monday initiated a fundraising challenge for his project to rebuild homes in the devastated Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood.

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Brad Pitt and friends have raised enough money for six. Now he wants you to put up for the rest.

The actor, surrounded by hot pink tents that stand in for the environmentally sound houses to be built in a part of the city devastated by hurricane Katrina, called on politicians, foundations, companies, and individuals Monday to donate to his 'Make It Right' project.

The program pledges to build 150 homes in the Lower Ninth Ward, an area devastated by floodwaters after the levees broke in the 2005 storm.

Each home will cost approximately $150,000 and will be built on stilts as a precaution against future flooding, Mr. Pitt said. He has pledged to match $5 million worth of contributions for the project, and billionaire Steve Bing has pledged the same.

"We chose to start here because of the devastation, because of the immense hurdles for the homeowners, for the residents to come back here," said Pitt, who with actress Angelina Jolie, owns a home in the city's historic French Quarter.

Pitt said he would like to see his "green" building initiatives extend beyond the Lower Ninth Ward.

"But there is no reason why we can't do 1,000 homes, why we can't do 10,000 homes, why we can't do 100,000 homes," he said.

An international team of 13 architectural firms has submitted designs for the single-family homes, the first of which could be finished by May 2008.

Pink was chosen for the tents at the site, Pitt said, because "it screams the loudest. It says people are coming back."

To be eligible for one of the homes, applicants must have previously owned property in the ward. They will also be expected to contribute whatever they can afford.

Pitt has been a vocal critic of faltering government efforts to rebuild New Orleans. He has previously worked with environmental group Global Green USA on a separate project to construct environmentally friendly homes in the city.


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