Memorial Held For Homeless Katrina Victim - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Memorial Held For Homeless Katrina Victim

Ralph Madison was probably a familiar face to the coast's night owls and early risers. He worked as a cook at several South Mississippi Waffle Houses before Katrina claimed his life. He also spent some time cooking up food at Loaves and Fishes. 

"He was basically good at a short order kinda cooking thing," says Rita Baldwin, coordinator of Loaves and Fishes. "He wasn't a gourmet cook, he was a grease cook, and he used to eat a lot at the Waffle House when he was working there."

Loaves and Fishes coordinator Rita Baldwin met Ralph six years ago on the streets.

"Everybody who's ever been on the streets knows you've gotta have somebody to watch your back, and Ralph watched my back, for the last six years, he kinda watched my back. And he was always ready to help anybody who needed it," Baldwin says.

Ralph was one of six people killed at Seashore Mission in Biloxi. Chuck Grant was one of six suvivors from the mission. Ralph spent the last moments of his life with Chuck Grant, as the tidal surge broke apart the seashore building.

While friends say he will be missed, they also say they find comfort in the fact Ralph finally has a permanent place to call home. 

"You're really and truly in God's hands when you're homeless or on the street. It's like God has you in your hands, and that's what comforts me that eventhough Ralph was lost, I believe his spirit was in God's hands, the moment that Katrina took him, so I comfort myself with that," Baldwin says.

Four storm victims from South Mississippi's three coastal counties remain unidentified. Two of those victims are from Harrison County. Harrison County coroner Gary Hargrove says he is planning to release new information on those two unidentified victims later this week. One of the victims is described as an elderly white male. The other is believed to be a black man, between 25 and 35 years old.

By Toni Miles

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