South Mississippians Say "Thank You" To Trent Lott

Governor Haley Barbour calls him one of the most effective statesmen to serve South Mississippi.

Wednesday, hundreds from all over South Mississippi gathered to honor the service and commitment of former U.S. Senator Trent Lott.

"He did so much for the shipyard and fighting for us up in Washington. When people was against him, he still fought hard for Jackson County, and that's what it's all about," says James Watkins, who works for Merchants and Marine Bank.

He says he was shocked to learn that his friend of 20 years was stepping down from his senate seat.

"When I first heard it, I couldn't believe it. When I heard it again, I jumped up and I said, 'No way.' I say, 'He just got re-elected, he can't retire,'" Watkins said.

However, people say they are supportive of his decision.

"Trent Lott has done a lot for the people in Jackson County. He was very supportive for the people after Hurricane Katrina," said Jackson County resident LaKenya Hughes.

Mary Kitchens agrees.

"I hate to see him give it up. I really do. He's done a lot for Mississippi," Kitchens said.

More than a thousand people showed up at the Jackson County Civic Center all wanting to say "thank you" for the work he's done for the state of Mississippi.

"In my hometown, it has such a special place in my heart. And after all we've been through in the last two years, I am just honored that they want to do it and it's really great," Lott said.

The evening was filled with gifts, songs, and thank yous from people all over the coast. And while he will no longer have a seat in Washington, Senator Lott says he will always serve Mississippi.

Lott says he plans to continue lobbying, write a second book and spend more time with his family.