Donald Dupre, 64, lived on the water in Bay St. Louis and loved to fish.
Though he had crippling health problems, he was active and stubborn about not succumbing to a wheelchair, according to his brother and sister.
"He was limited in what he could do, but he wouldn't give up," said Tom Dupre, his brother in Metairie, La. "He'd get on the riding lawn mower and cut grass, even though you knew it was hurting him."
Dupre had diabetes, a heart condition and a titanium jaw. He was a cancer survivor.
Never miss a local story.
But he did not survive Hurricane Katrina. He died at his home on the Jourdan River.
His sister, Patricia Couch of Pearl River, La., said she spoke with him on Sunday afternoon before the storm and urged him to evacuate to her house.
He told her he tried, but was blocked by the contra-flow set up to evacuate New Orleans.
"He turned around and went home," she said. "That conversation sticks with me. I told him to go to a shelter, but he didn't. He was disabled."
Donald Dupre had a wife, a son, a daughter, grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
"He loved his family and liked to tell stories," said Donna Dupre, his sister-in-law. "He liked to work with his hands, to build things. He built a house in Escatawpa once."
She said, "His philosophy of life was 'OK. Whatever.' "