Michael Anthony Santa Cruz, the youngest - at age 46 - of three siblings, survived Hurricane Katrina, then died a couple of days later of Katrina-related illness, though his brother Larry, who lives in Salt Lake City, was unclear as to the cause.
"They said water contamination," Larry said. "He had a fever of 108."
Santa Cruz and a girlfriend lived in an apartment building at Seal Avenue and U.S. 90 in Biloxi, but the Santa Cruz family, it seems, settled on the Mississippi Coast as long ago as the late 19th century.
"We had relatives all over that area" for three or four generations, Larry said, "then my dad moved away, to Fresno, Calif., and we all grew up out in Las Vegas."
Larry remembers Michael as a brother who "was one of those types who wanted to take things apart and put them back together again. He was a high-energy kind of guy. Not like me; I'm kind of laid back."
Michael ended up back in Biloxi when his dad moved back to take care of his grandmother. It was that family house on Seal Avenue that gave Michael and his girlfriend shelter during Katrina when his apartment building collapsed under the hurricane's wind and tidal surge.