GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Brent Warr became Gulfport's mayor on June 7th, 2005. Before that, he ran the family business -- a men's clothing store. He served on a bank board, and he dabbled in real estate.
He may have been a political newcomer. But Brent Warr 's fresh approach to running Gulfport was exactly what its citizens wanted in 2005.
"I'm pro-condominium. I'm pro-development. But I'm very, very concerned with the integrity of our neighborhoods," Warr said.
Warr won his first election by receiving a whopping 78 percent of the vote. Nobody knew that his honeymoon would last less than two months.
On August 29, Katrina stormed ashore, wiping out large pockets of his city. The monstrous hurricane forced Warr to shelve his campaign concepts. Instead of focusing on new development, he had to make sure families had basic necessities.
"We're going to turn this thing around, I can already feel it happening. So everybody, go back and tell your friends the gulf coast is coming back, coming back strong."
By 2008, Warr felt the city was strong enough to launch what he called the year of bricks and mortar.
"We're building a better Gulfport and our possibilities are endless."
While Mayor Warr was making that announcement, another, more personal storm was beginning to form. The mayor admitted that the federal government was looking at the legality of the home rebuilding grant he received -- a grant that was administered by the Mississippi Development Authority. Issues surfaced about when the home became his family's primary residence.
In a 2008 interview with WLOX News, Warr said he did nothing wrong.