A Brush With Kindness: Mary Porter

Mary Porter can be found relaxing on her front porch almost every day. With the right amount of shade and a cool breeze, she sits with her mail and her house phone in her lap and watches over her Gentilly neighborhood.

Mary has lived in her home since 1997 and has shared it with her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great-great-grandchildren. Born in St. Francisville as the eldest of 15 siblings, she moved to New Orleans to live with her aunts. After working at Saks Fifth Avenue for 30 years, her doctor told her it was time to retire, so now she spends her days in a comfy chair out front, greeting each passerby with “Hey, sugar” and a wave.

Inside her home, however, things had deteriorated.

“My showerhead broke so I had to put a stop leak on that, and the boards as you get in the shower, they were rotten, and the boards in the washroom, they’re rotten too,” she explained. This left a gaping hole in the floor next to the 87-year-old’s shower, posing a major safety and accessibility issue. Like many elderly homeowners on fixed income, Mary didn’t have the resources to take on major repairs in two rooms of her home.

Habitat completed her home repair projects through our A Brush With Kindness program. These projects allow long-time homeowners to remain fixtures in their communities. This is not only beneficial for the homeowners, but also for the community members that depend on them as a constant presence in a city of renters.

With the health of her home improved, Mary can enjoy the sunshine from her porch and watch over Clematis Street for years to come.

“ABWK provides much needed home repairs and peace of mind for homeowners.” -Russell Preston, ABWK Project Manager