Known for his highly acclaimed performance as Detective Bunk Moreland on HBO’s 60 episode multi-award winning crime drama series “The Wire”, Wendell Pierce has managed to elude the paparazzi for the majority of his career despite being a highly sought after actor. While his contemporaries are incessantly photographed as they carry out the mundane errands in their life such as shopping at Barney’s, filling gas in their Hummers and purchasing their umpteenth lattes at Starbucks, Pierce has been busy doing something a little more charitable with his life.
As the president of New Orleans’ Community Development Corporation, he’s spent eight months navigating the bureaucratic red tape necessary to move forward with the rebuilding of Pontchartrain Park, which also happens to be the site of his childhood stomping grounds. Forming a nonprofit for the sole purpose of revitalizing the area (which was incredibly devastated following hurricane Katrina), Pierce plans within the next 3 years to construct eco and budget friendly homes boasting solar and geothermal energy which, thanks to government subsidies, will reduce mortgages on the $200,000 – $300,000 structures to a more manageable $125,000 per home.
Portraying trombonist Antoine Batiste in HBO’s post-Katrina pilot Treme, the story focuses on the residents of New Orleans five years after the devastation as they struggle to rebound. Airing on April 11th, Pierce offers a compelling and realistic portrayal given the fact that his parents were right in the middle of the mess as it was playing out. He may not have the matinee presence and familiarity of Brad Pitt, but he could easily give the Make It Right founder a run for his charitable money. Frankly, they both deserve serious props for their willingness to dig in and make something positive come out of the tragedy long after many of us have succumbed to an unfortunate lapse in our memory.