DISASTERS

Here lies Vera: Woman's death still haunts New Orleans neighborhood a decade after Katrina

  • FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2005, file photo, a makeshift tomb at a New Orleans street corner conceals a body that had been lying on the sidewalk for days in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The message reads, "Here lies Vera. God help us." Smith’s cremated remains were later reburied in Texas, yet she remains part of her old community. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2005, file photo, a makeshift tomb at a New Orleans street corner conceals a body that had been lying on the sidewalk for days in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The message reads, "Here lies Vera. God help us." Smith’s cremated remains were later reburied in Texas, yet she remains part of her old community. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • This Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, photo shows a memorial to Vera Smith, who died at a street corner in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and remained there for days until neighbors erected a tomb at the same spot on the sidewalk, in New Orleans. In the chaotic days after Katrina her makeshift grave, decorated with the words "Here Lies Vera, God help us," came to symbolize the breakdown of order in the city. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

    This Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, photo shows a memorial to Vera Smith, who died at a street corner in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and remained there for days until neighbors erected a tomb at the same spot on the sidewalk, in New Orleans. In the chaotic days after Katrina her makeshift grave, decorated with the words "Here Lies Vera, God help us," came to symbolize the breakdown of order in the city. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)  (The Associated Press)

  • This Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, photo shows the home where Vera Smith, who died in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina a decade ago, lived in New Orleans. Smith's body remained on a sidewalk for days until neighbors erected an above-ground grave and covered it with a shroud that read "Here lies Vera, God help us." Images of the tomb became a symbol of the breakdown of order in the city after the storm. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

    This Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, photo shows the home where Vera Smith, who died in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina a decade ago, lived in New Orleans. Smith's body remained on a sidewalk for days until neighbors erected an above-ground grave and covered it with a shroud that read "Here lies Vera, God help us." Images of the tomb became a symbol of the breakdown of order in the city after the storm. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)  (The Associated Press)

After Vera Smith died in New Orleans during the chaos of Hurricane Katrina, her body lay on a sidewalk for days.

It became a symbol of a stricken city after neighbors built a tomb covered with a shroud that said: "Here lies Vera. Gold help us."

Smith's cremated remains were later reburied in Texas, yet she remains part of her old community.

A colorful memorial stands near the site of her death, and her demise was recounted in a book written by a man who helped erect her temporary sidewalk tomb.

Shop owner Yvette Rutledge says the woman called "Miss Vera" is still remembered daily.

It's unclear how Smith died. Relatives have longed believed she was killed in a hit-and-run accident. But an autopsy report didn't list a cause of death.