At the time this photo was taken, all that was known to passersby was that Todd and Chanel were looking for a mother's ashes, October 1, 2005 - a stark reminder of the kind of emotional losses suffered by residents.
Ten years later Chanel Alaniz explained, "It took us about three months to get back to Mississippi, me and my son and my husband at the time. But at about the two-month mark, we went back. And you know, we still hadn't talked to everybody that we knew. We still hadn't had time to communicate with everybody. So, the only thing that we knew to do was write on the home."
Before Katrina struck, there were five homes on the property at 104 North Central Avenue in Waveland, Mississippi. Todd Curtis White, Jr., and his wife Chanel Alaniz lived in the white house. Their son, Dutch, was born two weeks before the storm. Chanel's mother had died four months earlier. It was a tumultuous time. The ashes of Chanel's mother had to be left behind along with everything else when they evacuated to Philadelphia prior to the storm. They left their three dogs behind, and most of their personal possessions. The water reached the transformer sitting on a pole above their rental home, but the house remained intact.