Hurricane Katrina

Anna Rebecca Ball, 43, Waveland

People who knew her called her "Megga."

But to her family she was Rebecca, Anna Rebecca Ball --- a people person with a zest for life.

Rebecca died Aug. 29 when she chose to stay in her home on Hillcrest Avenue in Waveland.

The 43-year-old was a woman with an independent spirit --- she was, after all, born on the Fourth of July, said her parents, Jo Ann and Richard Ball of Columbia.

The nickname "Megga" was given to her by her older sister when she was in her early teens, and it stuck.

"She was making it on her own," said her mother. "She had a sense of accomplishment."

She was loyal and loved to travel, a "free spirit" who showed a concern for others.

"I don't think she ever met a stranger," her mother said.

Four days after the hurricane, her 9-year-old dog, Nick, was found wandering around the streets of Waveland.

Her sister, Beth Ball Pierce, took him in, and considers him quite special since he's a link to her sister.