Levin Magruder Dawson, 64, was named after his Scottish grandfather, was raised in Baton Rouge and spent family vacations on Oak Boulevard in Waveland, then later made it his home.
Oak Boulevard was destroyed by a wave of water in Katrina that took his sister's vacation home, his brother's home and the out building on his sister's property where he lived.
Dawson was a middle brother of five children who wrestled with alcoholism until 11 years ago, when he stopped drinking with help and turned his life around, said his sister Caroline "Tally" Marr, who lives in Houston and was close to her brother.
"He was so funny and so smart," Marr said. "AA straightened him up. He was Buddhist and became the most calm and kind person, easy to be around."
He streamlined his life with few possessions and rode his bicycle to visit his 96-year-old mother in a nursing home in Waveland every day.
He read to her because her vision had failed.
"He was so good to our mother," Marr said. "And so ready to help out any way he could."
He had a Ph.D. in English from Rice University and taught in New Orleans universities for years before moving to Waveland.
His friends in Waveland describe him with the highest praise, saying he would go out of his way to help his fellow man, calling him an inspiration and "a patron saint of lost souls."