South Louisiana Casinos Remain Closed in Hurricane Delta’s Wake
As crews assessed damage from Hurricane Delta, several casinos and racetracks in Louisiana remained temporarily closed Saturday. This is the second hurricane to strike the state in six weeks.
The Golden Nugget and other Lake Charles, Louisiana resorts were temporarily closed one day after Hurricane Delta ripped through the region. This was the area’s second hurricane in six weeks. (Image: James Nielsen/Houston Chronicle)
With Hurricane Delta roaring up through the Gulf of Mexico on Friday, casinos and racetracks in South Louisiana continued shutting down their operations. Casinos were closed from Vinton, just east of the Texas border, to New Orleans and near the state of Mississippi.
The Category 2 hurricane, with wind speeds of 100 mph, slammed into southwestern Louisiana near the coastal town of Creole on Friday evening. The hurricane made landfall only about 12 miles east of where powerful Hurricane Laura came ashore in August.
Gregory Hennagin, general manager of the Golden Nugget Casino in Lake Charles, was on CNBC’s The News on Friday as Hurricane Delta tore through the city of 78,000 people just after 6 pm CT.
Hennagin told host Shepard Smith the storm might have caused some roof damage at the property.
The Golden Nugget and the other three resorts in the Lake Charles area were closed by Thursday as a precaution.
By midday Saturday, the Lake Charles-area resorts had not reopened. No timetable has been set for when they might be back in operation.
Louisiana authorities early Saturday had not received reports of casino damage, but were beginning to evaluate the storm’s aftermath, according to State Police Lt. Robert Fontenot.
“We are just starting assessments,” he told Casino.org.
An estimated 800,000 residences and businesses in the region were without power early Saturday, authorities said.
When Hurricane Delta blasted South Louisiana on Friday, residents in Lake Charles were still reeling from storm damage six weeks earlier.
On Aug. 27, Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm with top winds of 150 mph, shredded Lake Charles and surrounding areas, killing more than 30 people in the region.
Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter noted on The Weather Channel Friday that “thousands and thousands” of homes still had blue tarps on their damaged roofs from the destruction six weeks earlier.
At least 6,000 residents were without homes because of the August hurricane, the mayor said.
We really just need people not to forget about us,” Hunter told the Associated Press. “We are going to be in the recovery mode for months and probably years from these two hurricanes. It’s just unprecedented and historic what has happened to us.”
Hurricane Laura also damaged the four casinos in the Lake Charles area, forcing them to close temporarily. The Isle of Capri riverboat casino came unmoored during Hurricane Laura and struck a bridge. The unoccupied riverboat was returned to its original location and soon began operating again.
The hurricane on Friday was the 10th named hurricane to hit the mainland United States this season, a record. The previous record was set at nine in 1916.
Authorities on Saturday were uncertain of the number of deaths that might have resulted from Hurricane Delta, but were urging caution because of continued hazards. Flood waters and downed power lines were a problem across the region, as the hurricane’s remnants swept into Mississippi and Tennessee.
The hurricane also had an impact on college football. The No. 16 Louisiana State University Tigers moved Saturday’s SEC game from Baton Rouge to Columbia, Missouri, home of the University of Missouri Tigers.
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