|Mississippi Governor Hailey Barbour|
Milner who was serving on the board of the Steps Coalition, an outspoken voice along the Gulf Coast against the redirection of the funds was opposed by Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr who said "In order to remain a viable port, we have to do a good job with this repair and redevelopment." Warr faced his own problems with fraud when he was convicted of lying about a $222,000 FEMA claim on a home that was not his primary residence while promoting the redirecting of FEMA's $600 million away from those far less fortunate than Warr. He was found guilty, had to repay FEMA's money, do 100 hours of community service time and spend three years on probation.
|President George W. Bush and Brent Warr, mayor of|
Gulfport after Hurricane Katrina and before Mayor Warr's
criminal conviction for defrauding FEMA.
That was before the BP oil spill which further ravaged the Mississippi Gulf Coast and turned the prospects of making Gulfport a tourist Mecca into a punchline in a few hundred comedy club routines across the nation. "Barbour's misspelled his name. It's Barber," said Biloxi Comedy Club's Shecky Blue, "cause he'll give you a clip and shave you'll never forget."
Sister Martha Milner was joined in her criticism of Barbour by Father Michael Gabriel Israel of the Christian Friends of the Mississippi Marshes and Wetlands. A strong proponent of marshland baptisms, before the loss of a thirty-five year old mother of two to a sixteen foot alligator during a baptism on Lake Pontchartrain in 1997, Father Israel refocused his ministry on wildlife habitat reclamation and affordable human housing. The young mother's body was never recovered and the gator was never found. Father Israel, whom some call "Dr. Doolittle-Habitat-for-Humanity", said "I disagree with Sister Milner's assessment of Governor Barbour. He's not insane. Possessed, yes. Insane? No. There's nothing wrong with Haley Barbour that a forty day fast and exorcism couldn't fix," said Israel who also expressed concern for proposed legislation for Federal block grants that would give states a no-string-attached and easily redirected Medicaid cash infusion into state budgets.
|Father Michael Gabriel Israel who lost his left|
eye in a battle with a 16 foot alligator
on Lake Pontchartrain in June of 1997.