Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie start new project in New Orleans. Announcement to come Monday.

A few blocks in the Lower 9th Ward, along the levee from North Derbigny to North Galvez streets, were studded with odd, very large pink blocks, as big as houses, 100 or more of them, with pink roof shapes lying beside them on empty lots.

The empty lots had been a neighborhood until they were scoured by surging floodwaters after the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina, then were scoured again months later by bulldozers after the houses that had stood there were deemed unsalvageable. Now big pink blocks stood everywhere.

The pink blocks look stark and strange in the otherwise brown and olive landscape, like enormous, blank Monopoly houses. They could be mistaken for art, as if Christo, the master environmental artist who wraps whole buildings, bridges and even islands in garish fabric, had been at work.

But the pink blocks may be more than artistic. They may be symbolic stand-ins for real houses to come.

On Monday at 11 a.m., actor Brad Pitt is scheduled to stand in the surrealistic scene and announce details of his "Make It Right" project, a plan to create more than 100 affordable, ecologically sound homes where the pink shapes now stand.

On Nov. 9, at the Clinton Global Initiative in Manhattan, Pitt pledged $5 million to the project, challenging others to match his largess. Producer and environmental philanthropist Steve Bing contributed $5 million. A team of architects led by John Williams of New Orleans began

Here they are:

"So what are those Big Pink Houses?" 

Some claim this is just a 'band-aid', but ask residents what they think, and they are excited, elated, and filled with hope that someone besides a nonresponsive federal agency is doing something to bring New Orleans back. 

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