Hurricane Katrina

Octavia Payton Horne, 78, Biloxi

Octavia Payton Horne is remembered by her family as a fantastic cook and a hard-working and caring mother of seven who never let her children go without.

"She provided everything, and she loved to laugh," said her daughter, Christine Crawford. "She did not show any prejudice, and she instilled in us not to be prejudiced of anyone."

For roughly 20 years she worked as a cook for the Old Biloxi Hospital, until Hurricane Camille. She also worked as a maid and cook for many Biloxi families.

Before she retired in her 60s, Octavia would be out to work before sunrise and home just before the sun set.

While a maid and cook for one Biloxi family, Octavia's Friday fried chicken often prompted unexpected guests to show up for dinner at her employer's home.

Octavia was also known for her delicious German chocolate cake and lemon poundcake, which she often shared with family, friends and her doctors.

"She never stopped (working), and she was always giving," Crawford said.

Octavia's talent in the kitchen was something she tried to pass down to her daughters.

"She taught me to cook and clean before I was in kindergarten," Crawford said. "I've mastered the German chocolate cake, so she said, but the lemon poundcake, I just couldn't get it."

The family never anticipated Hurricane Katrina would get as bad as it did. When Crawford called on her mother the night before the storm, Octavia told her she was locking her doors and getting ready for bed.

"She was stubborn. If she made up her mind not to do something, she didn't do it," Crawford said.

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