Hurricane Katrina

Louis Maxey Sr., 92, Long Beach

Dr. Louis Maxey Sr. had a book inside him.

"He always wanted to write about the life and times he grew up in and the opportunity that blacks did or did not have," said one of three sons, Louis Maxey Jr., an assistant district attorney in Racine, Wisc. "He felt fortunate to be able to do all he did, but nobody gave it to him.

"Somehow he transcended race, and people saw that. They saw his genius and his skill and they didn't let race cloud their judgment. He always had white patients."

The New York Times reported the Indianapolis native was one of the first blacks to be a resident physician in plastic and maxillofacial surgery at Chicago's Cook County Hospital. He also had pharmaceutical and dental degrees and was appreciated as a "teacher" of many things. Pointing out the best way to do things was his way.

"I don't know why he didn't write that book," said his namesake. "A lot of us have books in us and never do write them."

Once Maxey and his wife, Harneitha, retired on the Mississippi Coast, his teaching tendencies surfaced as a school mentor and in local volunteer health programs. But not to be forgotten was his love of music rooted in the Southern black tradition. Maxey served as the first president of Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues Commission.