By STACEY PLAISANCE, Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS -- The idea of Brad Pitt running for New Orleans mayor has generated a lot of buzz around the city even though he isn't eligible. It also generated some laughs for the actor in a Thursday television interview.
Many residents have been sporting "Brad Pitt for Mayor" T-shirts since mid-June, when a Tulane University professor and two brothers who own a New Orleans T-shirt shop joined forces to launch a quasi-campaign to convince Pitt to run. The actor founded the Make It Right organization in 2007 to build houses for low-income residents who lost their homes during Hurricane Katrina.
"He's a family man, and you won't have to worry about him being corrupt," said Drew Cambre, 26, who works at a New Orleans pastry shop and has a "Brad Pitt for Mayor" sticker on his laptop computer. "Plus, he'll help the movie industry here in New Orleans and keep a light on the city."
Pitt said on NBC's "Today" that he's noticed the shirts but laughed off the idea of running.
"I don't have a chance."
He joked: "I'm running on the gay marriage, no religion, legalization and taxation of marijuana platform."
Pitt is right about his chances, at least as far as the next mayoral election. He and his partner, Angelina Jolie, bought a French Quarter mansion in 2007. To be eligible, mayoral candidates must be residents of New Orleans for at least five years before the date of the election. The mayoral primary is Feb. 6, 2010.
So far more than a dozen homes have been built in the Lower 9th Ward through the Make It Right program and another eight are under construction.
Josh Harvey, 31, who sells the shirts at his Storyville T-shirt shop is donating $2 to the program for every shirt sold. The shirts retail for $20, and so far, more than $2,000 has gone to Make It Right, Harvey said.
It's Pitt's charity work that has some hopeful for his candidacy, even if it's not this time around.
"He's already doing so much good for our city, so why not?" said Stephanie Schneller, 29, who was in the shop buying Brad Pitt T-shirts for herself and a friend.
Photo 1: In a Monday, Dec. 1, 2008 file photo, Brad Pitt poses for a photograph in Kellogg Park, a technologically advanced playground in the Lower 9th Ward that uses solar energy to run its electronic wireless game system in New Orleans. Pitt laughed off the idea of a run for mayor of New Orleans during an interview Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009 on NBC's "Today" show, but he never actually said he wouldn't do it. Alex Brandon, File / AP Photo
Photo 2: Joni Lyn Bisset gives a thumbs-up sign as she wears a " Brad Pitt for Mayor" T-shirt at the Storyville New Orleans shop in New Orleans, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009. Judi Bottoni / AP Photo