Make It Right’s Communication Director Taylor Royle reports that Saturday’s “A Night to Make It Right” celebrity-fueled fund-raising gala was a stunning success. Though the charitable foundation is “still calculating all the pledges made at the event,” Royle said, “we raised over $ 5 million.”
The 1,200 guests paid between $ 1000 and $ 2500 each to attend, and were treated to dinner prepared by New Orleans culinary heroes John Besh, Emeril Lagasse, Donald Link and others. There was also a private concert by Rihanna, Sheryl Crow, Seal and Dr. John. A silent auction included items such as a guitar custom inscribed by rocker “Bono.”
The hosts of the event included New Orleans-born TV talk-show star Ellen DeGeneres, Saints quarterback Drew Brees, “American Idol” judge and Baton Rouge native Randy Jackson and, of course, Hollywood leading man Brad Pitt. Pitt founded Make It Right in 2007 to help restore a Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood largely wiped out by the 2005 flood.
The funds are enough to keep Make It Right building architecturally unique, ecological and storm-safe houses for a year, said foundation director Tom Darden last week. The gala windfall was one million higher than what Darden hoped for on the eve of the event. Make It Right has completed 76 of 150 houses.