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.