Anna Ruiz, 74, loved to dance. When her dance partner died more than a year ago, her daughter tried to get her interested in bingo, but Anna would pick dancing when she had the choice. "She was getting up in age, too, but you couldn't tell her that," said Paula Ruiz, the youngest of Anna's five children.
"She reminded me of Elizabeth Taylor. When she was young, she looked like Elizabeth Taylor. She had blue, blue eyes, sometimes almost violet," Paula Ruiz said. "She got her hair done every Friday, like clockwork. And she was always color-coordinated."
Paula and her husband moved next door to Anna in the Clermont Harbor area of Bay St. Louis, where they were living when Katrina hit.
Weary from the stress of several previous evacuations, Anna decided to stay for Katrina. Paula and her husband stayed, too, because they couldn't leave her, and they couldn't convince her to go. Anna died in the storm.
Her favorite music to dance to was from the '50s and '60s.
"If someone was playing that kind of music somewhere, that's where she wanted to be," Paula said. But she seemed to be weaker after her boyfriend and dance partner died. She took up bingo with Paula at the American Legion in Waveland.
"She was just a wonderful person," Paula said.