Harrah’s New Orleans Reopens in Hurricane Ida’s Destructive Aftermath

Posted on: September 8, 2021, 02:34h. 

Last updated on: September 8, 2021, 06:34h.

Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel and Casino reopened on Wednesday, 10 days after deadly Hurricane Ida knocked out power in the region. Other casinos in the New Orleans area remain closed.

Harrah's New Orleans
A Harrah’s sign adorns the hotel-casino’s brick exterior in downtown New Orleans. After closing for Hurricane Ida, the resort reopened on Wednesday. (Image: Kate Henry)

Like most casinos in the region, Harrah’s closed in the days leading up to Ida’s Aug. 29 landfall at Port Fourchon, south of New Orleans. On its Facebook page Wednesday, Harrah’s announced it is once again open for business.

The people of Louisiana are resilient, and we will be singing and dancing in the streets once again,” the Facebook post states.

Packing 150 mph sustained winds, Ida was the fifth-strongest hurricane ever to hit the mainland US. The Category 4 hurricane left massive power outages along the Gulf Coast, continuing into this week. After pounding the coast, the hurricane veered toward the northeast. It caused extensive flooding and killed dozens in its path.

In Louisiana, 13 riverboat casinos and four racinos — horse tracks with slot machines — are scattered throughout the state. Harrah’s New Orleans is Louisiana’s only land-based casino.

One New Orleans-area riverboat, Boomtown Casino, reopened its table games and slot machines on Monday. Boomtown is south of downtown New Orleans, on the opposite side of the Mississippi River in Harvey. 

The casino floor at Boomtown is operating under limited hours, from 7 am to 5 pm daily. The hotel is closed to guests.

We are housing our displaced team members in order to keep the casino staffed,” the Boomtown website states.

Other casinos in South Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast in Mississippi have reopened.

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As of Wednesday, Fair Grounds Race Course and Slot in New Orleans and the Treasure Chest riverboat casino in Kenner remained closed, according to their websites. Kenner is on Lake Pontchartrain, northwest of downtown New Orleans. 

Southwest of New Orleans, the Amelia Belle riverboat casino near Morgan City is scheduled to begin operating again on Thursday at 2 pm, according to its Facebook page.

The hurricane also had an impact on the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, set to play its season opener at home in the Caesars Superdome against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Because of the hurricane, the game has been moved to TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.

New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson said it is not easy to move a Saints home game out of the Superdome. The popular team has a large regional following.

“Collectively, we have a monumental task ahead of us in cleaning up the aftereffects left by Hurricane Ida,” she said, “but it has been inspiring to see people getting right to work and starting the process.”

Ida Wrecks Casino Profits

Carlo Santarelli, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, predicted Hurricane Ida will cause a 19 percent statewide decline in gaming gross revenue during August, compared to 2019, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Santarelli made that prediction based on daily spending “per measured visitor” in August.

The statewide August gaming gross revenue figures are expected to be released by the end of this month.

In July, Louisiana casinos won $222 million, compared to $177.6  million in July 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic’s initial summer surge.