updated 03/20/2012 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 03/20/2012 AT 3:00 PM ET
Perhaps Brad Pitt’s good cause began about a decade before Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans in August 2005, flooding 80 percent of the city and killing more than 1,500 people.
Long before Pitt himself surveyed the devastation in 2007 and, frustrated with the progress in the Lower 9th Ward – hit the hardest by the hurricane – founded the Make It Right foundation to rebuild the community, he already had a special place in his heart for the city.
“It was a bit of a blur because New Orleans will do that to you,” Pitt, 48, talking about a trip he made to the Big Easy in the early ’90s, says on Tuesday’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “I fell in love with the place. The people. The music. It’s in the air.”
He also tells DeGeneres: “It’s something you can’t describe on camera.”