D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Kevin Alexander's family runs a business in D'Iberville. Recently a customer gave them a box of medical books that had come from an abandoned storage unit.
"I got nosy, so I came in, opened it and started going through and seeing names," said Alexander. "I was like, these belong to somebody."
That somebody was Dr. Louis Maxey, a physician who, along with his wife Harneitha, died in their Long Beach home during Hurricane Katrina. Alexander was able to track down their son James Maxey.
Alexander said, "I lost everything in Katrina too so I know little things mean the most to people. So when I reached out to him, I could only imagine how he felt to get something like that."
For Maxey, who lives in the area and has few trinkets of his parents' memories, leafing through the precious pages is overwhelming.
"I had a lot of notes that my father had written. Just seeing his handwriting was special,"said Maxey. "It had little keepsakes he had put inside the books that obviously meant something to him. So, it's something I can pass on to my children."
Maxey was with his parents when Katrina's waters came in.
"The storm hit and tore the house down like paper mache. They just couldn't hold their breath as long I could. The water came in, and they succumbed to the water," said Maxey.
Born in Indianapolis in 1913, Dr. Louis Maxey was the son of a pharmacist. Dr. Maxey graduated high school at the age of 15, then earned a bachelor's in pharmaceutical chemistry at the age of 20. He and his brother ran a pharmacy called Maxey's Cut Rate Drugs. Then, he took up dentistry.
"Originally he didn't want to be dentist. He wanted to be a surgeon, a plastic surgeon, a doctor," said Maxey. "At that time they're weren't allowing blacks to go to medical school. So he ended up going to dental school at Marquette. That's how he got his dental degree and practiced dentistry for a number of years, and then ended up going to medical school in Lausanne, Switzerland and ended up learning French. That's how everybody in my family speaks French."
Upon completing medical school and returning to the United States, Dr. Maxey was one of the first people to complete plastic and maxillofacial surgery at Cook County Hospital. In 1980, he and his wife moved to Long Beach, MS and opened their own private practice.
After his death, the Mississippi House of Representatives passed a resolution commending his achievements.
During Black History Month, Kevin and James want Dr. Louis Maxey's story to one that inspires.
"No matter what odds are stacked against you, you can always overcome," said Maxey. "You just have to have the drive and the gumption to get whatever you want done done, and you can do it. Regardless of color."
Dr. Louis Maxey was 92 years old when he died, and his wife was 75.