Be Like Barry and Give a Little . . . or a Lot


:: snake

For many of us in the South, there are three choices for casino poker: Tunica, Biloxi/Gulfport and New Orleans.

We’re now down to just one. Tunica.

The Grand Casino Biloxi, which once rested on a barge over the Gulf and was set to be the next stop on the WSOP circuit, was swept from its moorings all the way across the highway, crashing into an apartment complex and businesses (see picture below). The Hard Rock Casino, which was gearing up for its grand opening on Sept. 8, is also a total loss, as is pretty much every casino in Biloxi and Gulfport. Harrah’s in New Orleans may be salvageable, but when it will reopen no one knows.

GrandcasinobiloxiIt’s eerie seeing it all. I spent my bachelor party weekend gambling along the Gulf Coast. We played poker all the way down from Atlanta and back in a rock ‘n’ roll tour bus, with a full weekend at the tables in Biloxi in between. I was last down there less than a year ago, shooting a commercial in Mobile and each night after the set broke down, a dedicated group of us headed to the Beau Rivage, the grandest of the casinos in Biloxi. Reports say the Beau was flooded up to its second floor. CNN is showing the roads we took, parts of I-10 and Hwy 90, completely destroyed. As for the Waffle House we hit at 4 am each night, well, I doubt it’s there anymore. I also have fond memories of New Orleans. How could you not? Spending a weekend in the French Quarter, eating at the wonderfully diverse restaurants there and listening to some of the best sounds around, whether emanating from a makeshift band on the streets or a major-level act rocking it out in one of city’s superb music rooms.

But these are just memories. They will live on, unlike so many lives, towns, homes, businesses and more in the areas devastated by Katrina. I simply can’t imagine the realities on the ground right now from New Orleans to Mobile.

Well, I can, and it’s awful.

And for those living it, it’s hell.

Redcross_1So where do we go from here? Well, please consider giving to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund for one. Donate Cash. Be a budding Barry Greenstein, even if it’s only one-one hundred thousandth of what he donates to charity. It all counts.

When the casinos rebuild, which they must, as the state of Mississippi desperately relies on the revenues generated from them, be sure to make a poker trip down to Mississippi. The folks along the Gulf Coast are some of the finest people anywhere, and I anticipate when they do resurrect the gaming community down there, the casinos will be bigger and better than ever.

Let’s just hope when they rebuild the casinos, the politicians let them do so on land and not require them to float on water. We’ve seen what happens when you require massive structures to sit on floating barges in the Gulf, right along the path of a hurricane alley.

As for the WSOP circuit event scheduled in Biloxi for Sept. 29-Oct. 12, last time I checked the WSOP site there was no mention of alternate plans, although those are certain now.

The Grand Casino Biloxi website says it all:

“Our Grand Casino locations in Gulfport and Biloxi are closed indefinitely.”


2 Responses

  1. Snake

    September 1, 2005 7:31 am, Reply a press release from the Bodog folks on this last night..Bodog will be hosting benefit poker tournaments daily Sept. 8-12 and will match and donate all of the players’ fees from the five poker tournaments to the Red Cross hurricane relief fund.

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