Up until August 29, 2005, Biloxi, Mississippi was the entertainment and gambling center of that long stretch of the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Florida. But Hurricane Katrina devastated the town, its homes, businesses and the numerous casinos that hugged its waterfront.
In his annual report then, Holloway said some areas of Biloxi “will never return to the way they were, given the challenges of the cost and availability of insurance and the expense of new construction requirements.”
But Holloway added that “the city will be rebuilt, it will recover. It is rebuilding, and it is recovering. We will emerge as a better city and as a better people.”
Historic Properties Restored
His 2010 annual report shows that the city has already restored several of its historic properties, including the Biloxi Lighthouse, the Creole Cottage, the Magnolia Hotel, the Old Brickhouse, the Saenger Theater, the Swetman House, the West End Hose Company Fire Museum and the White House Fountain.
Biloxi’s Eight Casinos
According to the Top Philippines Online Casinos website, Biloxi now has eight casinos, and seven accompanying hotels, operating in new facilities. Harrah’s says the completion of its Margaritaville Casino Resort is “on hold.” The list of operating casinos:
The Beau Rivage Resort & Casino
Harrah’s Grand Biloxi Hotel, Casino & Spa
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
The Isle Casino Hotel Biloxi.
The IP Casino Resort & Spa
The Palace Casino Resort
The Treasure Bay Casino & Hotel
These are no longer barge casinos as they were prior to Katrina. They are huge land-based facilities, each with hundreds of slots and dozens of table games. Most of the hotels have swimming pools, spas and massage services. The Beau Rivage and Grand casinos have their own golf courses for their guests. Several of the hotels have multiple restaurants, including five each at the Beau Rivage and Grand hotels.
Patti LaBelle to Tony Bennett
Some of the hotels provide nightly or weekly entertainment. The Beau Rivage schedule lists the biggest names. It includes:
Patti LaBelle Dec. 3
A Spirit of Christmas show featuring more than a dozen dancers Dec. 17-28
The B-52s Dec. 31
The Commodores Jan. 1
Johnny Mathis Jan. 7
Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles Feb. 4-6
Gladys Knight Feb. 19
Taylor Hicks Feb. 26
Liza Minnelli March 18
Tony Bennett April 23
Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama still provide much of the customer base for the Biloxi casinos and hotels, but several of the casinos offer airfare and room packages from Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia.
About Biloxi Visit
While driving along Interstate 10 from Florida to Texas we decided to take a side trip into the Biloxi, Ms area. We have been to this area several times prior to hurricane Katrina. In fact I Lived in Biloxi for over a year while in school at the air force base there. This was our first look at the damage and reconstruction progress.
If you are not familiar with the area highway 90 runs along the coast at this point and separates the landside from the beaches.
On the landside were many old southern homes overlooking the beaches and Gulf of Mexico. A scattering of motels, small shopping centers and RV parks were nestled among majestic old oak trees.
On the Beach side were the casinos and fast food places. The casinos were unique as state law requires the casinos be on the water so the casinos were and are just very large barges tied to land based hotels.
When the storm hit it changed all that perhaps forever. Now as you look down the beach side that’s all that is there …beach. There are only a few indicators that something was there. Barges…gone marinas and boats…gone….The beach has pretty much been returned from whence it came…a beach.
The landside fared a little better. There are some houses that were untouched but there are a lot of those beautiful old houses …gone. Motels and stores boarded and abandoned. Anything that wasn’t concrete isn’t there. Most places are damaged beyond recognition. If you didn’t know exactly where something was you most likely won’t find it now.. there just isn’t enough landmarks to find anything.
Here is the sad part Construction of high rise condos has started in place of those old southern homes. Construction seems to be all big bucks kinda thing. Some individual homes are under repair but it looks to me that overall very little is being done. At the rate we observed it will never get finished. The trend seems to be leave it (for whatever reason) a condo firm buys the homeowners out and bingo another hi rise condo. The good that may come of this all of the construction thus far is on the land side nothing on the beach side.
There is still a lot of clean-up that needs to be done and who knows what will happen in the future. All I can say is this is a very depressing place for the moment. The boom of casinos is pretty much gone. The ones that had little or no damage are up and running but it doesn’t appear that the casinos that were totally destroyed are planning to rebuild.
Hurricane Katrina is most remembered due to the extensive destruction of New Orleans where levees were overpowered by a 30-foot storm surge. In addition to extensive flooding in New Orleans, buildings along the Mississippi and Alabama coastline were smashed by the storm surge.
How Hurricane Katrina Formed
Tropical Depression Ten which never became a storm dissipated northeast of the Barbados on August 14th but it left behind unsettled weather. On August 11th, a tropical disturbance originating near the west coast of Africa crossed the Atlantic Ocean and merged with the remnants of Tropical Depression Ten on August 22nd.
On August 23rd 2005, this weather disturbance was named Tropical Depression Twelve as it slowly crossed the southeastern Bahamas. By the morning of August 24th, the depression intensified and by the afternoon, this tropical storm was named Katrina. It was the 11th tropical storm of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.
As Katrina started to mix with the atmospheric conditions produced by the Gulf of Mexico and southern States, it was upgraded to a hurricane on August 25th while it was positioned over the northwestern Bahamas. Less than two hours later, Katrina made landfall on the southeastern coast of Florida.