The first land-based casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast came into being after its Gulf-based predecessor was blown atop a neighboring hotel by Hurricane Katrina. With this turn of events, the project had only 11 months from the start of design to final completion. Located on a 30-acre site, the structure was built in the FEMA philosophical zone, requiring that no occupiable space be included on the first floor and that the structure be raised above base floor elevations for structural considerations.

In addition to the casino floor, the facility also includes a nine-table poker room, a bar, stage bar, 24-hour café, buffet, and a fine-dining restaurant. Designed in a traditional yet dramatic style, the exterior is constructed of Eldorado manufactured stone and EIFS (exterior insulated finish system). Continuing the traditional theme, the interior valet and escalator entry lobby features two-story wood columns and a large waterjet-cut logo incorporated into the porcelain ceramic tile floor at the foot of the grand stairs and escalators. To connect with the surrounding environment, the casino’s fine dining restaurant, the Blue Bayou Bar and Grill, houses multiple oversized windows to reveal sweeping evening vistas of the Gulf of Mexico.

Photos by Scott McDonald © Hedrich Blessing; © Ian Vaughn