Brad Pitt and Hyatt Regency New Orleans Join Forces

Pitt // (c) 2011 Wikipedia/Thomas Peter Schulz

Hyatt Regency New Orleans and Make It Right announced a major fundraising campaign to complete Make It Right’s goal to build 150 environmentally friendly homes in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward, the neighborhood hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Founded by actor Brad Pitt, Make It Right is the internationally known non-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding New Orleans’ poorest communities with safe, green and affordable homes.

In March 2012, Hyatt Regency New Orleans and Make It Right will host “A Night to Make It Right,” a fundraising gala that will celebrate the iconic hotel’s re-opening and help to raise vital funds toward the completion of Make It Right’s goal. To kick-off fundraising efforts and demonstrate its commitment to this initiative, Hyatt Regency New Orleans is donating $300,000 to help build two Make It Right homes in the Lower 9th Ward.

“After Hurricane Katrina, many people said the Lower 9th Ward could not be rebuilt, but the spirit of the Lower Ninth and its residents is vibrant and resilient. Today, the neighborhood is growing and alive with new homes, playgrounds, gardens and block parties," said Pitt. "With the help of generous partners like Hyatt, Make It Right will fulfill our goal of building 150 sustainable homes for those in this community who lost everything in the storm."

The landmark hotel’s sponsorship of the grand opening charity gala includes cash and in-kind donations for production costs directly associated with the gala event. Proceeds from the event’s corporate sponsors and ticket sales will go directly to building Make It Right homes. Led by Honorary Chairperson Brad Pitt, who has been a leading voice for the city, the gala will celebrate the culinary and cultural traditions of New Orleans, as well as attract a guest list of major entertainers, government officials, business leaders and philanthropists who have played a key role in Make It Right’s rebuilding efforts.

“Through our relationship with Make It Right, we continue to solidify our commitment to the people of New Orleans,” noted Michael Smith, general manager, Hyatt Regency New Orleans. “We are proud to toast our milestone re-opening by hosting one of the most noteworthy events to date in the effort to raise funds for the rebuilding of New Orleans.”

To officially launch this effort, Chuck Floyd, North America COO for Hyatt Hotels Corporation; Hyatt Reency New Orleans General Manager Michael Smiths; the hotel's owners; and Tom Darden, executive director, Make It Right, along with representatives from all parties will be working to improve the landscaping for the Make It Right playground, one of the most technically advanced eco-playgrounds in the country. The playground equipment is built with only sustainable and recyclable materials, including a solar-powered computer that allows Lower 9th Ward children to play physically active digital games. The event is part of the Hyatt Thrive program, a global corporate responsibility platform designed to help make communities a place where Hyatt associates are proud to work, where guests want to visit, and where neighbors want to live and invest.

For more than 30 years, Hyatt Regency New Orleans, centrally located downtown adjacent to the Louisiana Superdome, has been one of the most important and largest hotels in New Orleans. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Hyatt Regency New Orleans played a vital role as it served as the center of operations for the city's leadership and recovery efforts. Hyatt Corporation and hotel ownership made a commitment to restore Hyatt Regency New Orleans to its stature as one of the city's grandest hotels, and following a $275 million redesign and revitalization, the hotel will re-open on October 19, 2011.

Make It Right was founded by Brad Pitt in late 2007 to help rebuild the Lower 9th Ward by developing at least 150 safe, green, and affordable homes. Since then, Make It Right and some of the world's most renowned architects, including Frank Gehry, Shigeru Ban and David Adjaye, have designed and constructed 75 homes in the neighborhood, establishing new standards for affordable, energy efficient, single-family homes. As the anchor for redevelopment in the Lower 9th Ward, Make It Right's homes were a catalyst for the rebirth of a neighborhood that is now recognized as “largest and greenest community of single-family homes in the world” by the U.S. Green Building Council.

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