It's been five years since Hurricane Katrina bore down on New Orleans, killing more than 1,800 people and leaving thousands more homeless. In the aftermath, talk was everywhere of rebuilding stronger and better than before — but few organizations led the charge as well as Brad Pitt's Make It Right foundation.

“I was naive, totally naive," Pitt said in a recent interview with "I credit naivete with our success. I was also an opportunist. I saw this land, it was available, and I thought we could make a difference. Starting from scratch has its benefits. Too often we give disaster victims cheap building products, slipshod materials, and then put on top of them the burden of energy bills and medical bills. You know it’s the badly built levees that destroyed these people’s lives. We needed, as a country, to do something right for them. A new paradigm was needed.”

Pitt, 46, has been all over the news lately during Katrina's fifth anniversary, talking about how far things have come — and how much is yet needed to say the words "full recovery". Make It Right has committed to building more than 150 affordable, green, and storm-resistant homes in the Lower Ninth Ward. Currently, 14 homes have been completed, with another 19 under construction.

On Sunday's "Meet the Press" with Brian Williams, the actor said that the homes being built are a testament to the power of green building and should be used as a future blueprint across America.

"These people are pioneers. They're pioneers, and this is now the greenest neighborhood in the world. That's not bad. I want to tell you, these homes — last, last month, these homes, every one of them but one was producing more energy than they were — than they were eating. So families were getting bills that were $8, $12, just processing fees to tell them they didn't owe anything for utilities. That's an amazing story. And there's no reason now to build any other way. There's just no reason. So I see this place as a template for the future."

Check out Pitt's interview below:


Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Brad Pitt talks green building on 'Meet the Press'
Actor shares his thoughts on efforts to rebuild New Orleans' devastated Lower 9th Ward five years after Katrina.