Louisiana Casinos Close as Hurricane Delta Targets the Pelican State

Posted on: October 8, 2020, 01:42h. 

Last updated on: October 8, 2020, 02:28h.

Casinos in Louisiana began closing this week, as Hurricane Delta roared toward the state up through the Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane Delta
Hurricane Delta is projected to strike Louisiana on Friday. Casinos in the Lake Charles area began closing this week. (Image: ABC-13 Houston)

By Thursday, the four resorts in the Lake Charles area were closed until further notice. These are the Golden Nugget, L’Auberge, and Isle of Capri hotel-casinos in Lake Charles and the Delta Downs Racetrack, Casino and Hotel in Vinton. The racetrack is 27 miles west of Lake Charles, near the Texas border.

In August, all four casinos were damaged when Hurricane Laura hammered the area.

Hurricane Delta was projected to slam into the Louisiana Gulf Coast about 15 miles east of Lake Charles. Landfall was expected at about 6 pm on Friday.

Weather forecasters predicted the storm would roll ashore with wind speeds up to 105 mph, making it a Category 2 hurricane. After ripping through central Louisiana, its remnants were expected to turn eastward toward Mississippi, Tennessee, and beyond.

Hurricane Delta will be the 10th tropical storm or hurricane to make landfall in the mainland United States this year, the most on record. The previous record was nine, set in 1916, according to The Weather Channel.

Hurricanes Pound Gulf Coast

Since late summer, severe weather has blasted the Gulf Coast. On Aug. 27, Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm with wind speeds up to 150 mph, barreled into the Louisiana shoreline south of Lake Charles. The hurricane battered Lake Charles and surrounding areas, killing 30 people in the region. Dozens more were killed in the Caribbean.

The Lake Charles-area casinos were closed with damage, but later reopened. The unoccupied Isle of Capri riverboat casino came unmoored in the storm and struck a bridge. There were no reported injuries. The riverboat was returned to its original location and put back into use as a casino, said Lt. Robert Fontenot of the Louisiana State Police.

At least 6,000 Lake Charles residents remain homeless from that storm, Mayor Nic Hunter said Thursday on The Weather Channel. Many homes and businesses were still under repair in early October.

On Sept. 16, Hurricane Sally, a Category 2 storm, made landfall at Gulf Shores, Alabama. That hurricane, with wind speeds of 105 mph, was responsible for eight deaths, authorities said.

Two unoccupied riverboat casinos undergoing repairs in Alabama broke loose during Hurricane Sally and struck a dock. No one was injured.

Casinos along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast were closed during Hurricane Sally, but soon reopened. The storm struck east of the Mississippi border.

Food Assistance

In Hurricane Laura’s aftermath, the Horseshoe Casino in northwest Louisiana donated $45,000 in food to residents in the Lake Charles area, according to KTAL-TV in Shreveport. The Horseshoe is in Bossier City, across the Red River from Shreveport.

With the casino’s restaurants closed because of COVID-19 restrictions, frozen items such as catfish, crab legs, sausage, and more were packaged for shipment to Louisiana’s southwestern corner.

The food recently was loaded onto trucks and taken to Lake Charles, about 190 miles south of Bossier City.

“I think right now, as you think about hurricane relief and just what these people are going through in Southwest Louisiana, it’s just one more meal and one more thing they don’t have to worry about when it comes to feeding their family,” said Horseshoe spokeswoman Shelli Murphy.