By Andrew Hasbun
The Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi reopens Tuesday and many are calling it a sure sign Biloxi is coming back fast.
It took one year to complete the nearly half a billion dollar renovation. Almost everything in the Beau Rivage is new.
After the hurricane, much of the building was stripped down to its steel skeleton then rebuilt. Designers were able to fix problems and add new features.
"We were able to go back and look at the design, look at the numbers, at the performance of the casino, and traffic patterns within the hotel lobby, and say, "If it didn't work, okay lets fix it," said Bruce Nourse, Vice President of Public Affairs.
Many of the same features are still here. Seven restaurants are ready for business. Three more high-end eateries will open soon.
During our tour last week, bartenders and waiters were training for opening day by sampling entrees and reciting ingredients.
"We have a little bit of everything," said Emile Morgan, a waitress.
The Beau is owned by MGM-Mirage, a massive Las Vegas corporation. Executives were able to travel to Las Vegas and bring new trends and ideas back to the beau.
The guest rooms have been renovated. All have flat screen TV's.
They have also added a new poker room and bar on the casino floor.
"We were able to go into these other properties and see what worked and see what the new trends were," said Nourse.
During Katrina, about four feet of water invaded the casino. All the machines had to be replaced. After the storm, you could see out the back of the building to Ship Island.
Bruce Nourse lost his home to Katrina, the native Biloxian says reopening the Beau is a huge step forward.
"When the Beau is back you know Biloxi is back," said Nourse. "We are creating 3,800 jobs. We are putting 3,800 people back on the street. What better day to do it than on the darkest day in Biloxi's history."
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