Hurricane Katrina

Marjorie Matranga, 51, Waveland

Marjorie Matranga did the near-impossible. She raised a child, while waitressing and earning a business degree by taking night courses

Her daughter says she was still a good mother. She was also a good grandmother to Marrissa Harris and Michael Catledge III.

"She would take them swimming at the pool or to the beach or to get a snowball, basically whatever they wanted," said her daughter, Cherie Snipes, 31, of Waveland. "She enjoyed family gatherings on Thanksgiving, Christmas and like that."

Despite earning that college degree, Matranga never got to put it to use in the working world, because shortly after getting her diploma, she had a car accident that left her disabled and on disability.

She settled into her life on Waveland Avenue, spending time with grandchildren and family, and enjoying television.

As Katrina approached, Matranga, 51, and her friend, Patricia George, decided to ride it out at Matranga's home.

"I tried to get her and Ms. Pat to evacuate, but they tried to stay because they didn't think the storm would be that bad," Snipes said. "Plus she had a little dog, and she worried about her house getting looted."

Both women perished in the surge.

"I just miss her being around, being able to talk to her," Snipes said. "She was always there when I needed someone to talk to. She was a very good listener, gave good advice. She would always help other people out, always make time for other people."