Samara O'Shea

The Wall Diary of Tommie Elton Mabry

A friend of mine sent me the link to this extraordinary story. I have never met this friend face to face. He read my book and wrote me a letter as a result. We’ve been friends ever since =) In any case, the story is that of Tommie Elton Mabry, 53—a homeless man who lived in an abandoned apartment for two months following Hurricane Katrina. To cope with the uncertainty, the silence, and the two feet of water on the floor, Mabry kept a journal—on the apartment walls. As with most Katrina stories, this one is both sad and triumphant. Mabry says of his writing experience, “Sometimes, expressing yourself, it gives you the basis to keep going, keep going. You’ve got to keep going. Keep going and get through this.” The walls have since been removed by conservators at the Louisiana State Museum for use in a permanent Katrina exhibit.