Isle of Capri Casino Lake Charles Wrecked by Hurricane Laura, Riverboat Casino Crashes into Bridge

Posted on: August 27, 2020, 09:55h. 

Last updated on: August 28, 2020, 06:32h.

Early reports out of Lake Charles, Louisiana, suggest that the city near the east Texas border has been “severely damaged” and the Isle of Capri Casino wrecked after Hurricane Laura ripped through the area early Thursday morning.

The Isle of Capri in Lake Charles before (inset), and after, Laura tore through the city last night. (Image: Twitter/Pinterest)

The first images show that the floating casino became unmoored during the storm and crashed into the I-10 bridge over the Calcasieu River.

Images posted to social media reveal the vessel has become stuck in the bridge’s foundations. One Twitter user who uploaded a photo described the scene as “incredible and terrifying.”

Meanwhile, footage from Houston-based ABC affiliate KTRK-TV shows the roof of one of the Golden Nugget Casino’s hotel towers disintegrating.

Casinos Told to Shutter

Some of Lake Charles’ 78,000 residents had taken advantage of buses provided by the city, transporting evacuees to East Louisiana. But many stayed, observing a curfew from Wednesday night.

The city’s casinos had been ordered to shutter early Wednesday. But hundreds of refinery workers and first responders were understood to be staying in the Nugget’s hotel to shelter from the storm, according to KTRK-TV. It’s not clear whether there was anyone on the Isle of Capri when it lost its mooring.

Other images this morning depict office buildings in downtown Lake Charles with their windows entirely blown out.

The Washington Post reports that power lines are down and many of the streets unpassable because of flooding and rubble.

No fatalities have been officially reported in the city itself, although Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the death of a 14-year-old girl in the Leesville area, north of Lake Charles.

Storm Weakening

Laura made landfall just before 2 a.m. as a maximum Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph, according to the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center. It weakened to Category 3 before it hit Lake Charles.

Now a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, Laura is expected to track north across Louisiana on Thursday before moving into Arkansas overnight. It is expected to weaken to a tropical storm as it heads towards the Mid-Atlantic states.

The Isle of Capri Casino is owned by Caesars Entertainment, formerly Eldorado Resorts. Earlier this year, it became the first of Louisiana’s 15 riverboat casinos to win approval to move onto dry land, per new gaming regulations in the state, which suggests the vessel’s days were already numbered.