Tuesday, August 30, 2005

It's Important to Keep Your Priorities Straight

Hurricane Katrina wreaked horrible devastation on a large swath of land from Lousina to Coastal Alabama, with coastal Mississippi appearing to have taken the brunt of the damage. Rescue workers in New Orleans, for example, are still "pushing aside the floating bodies in order to rescue the living". Meanwhile, less than two days after the storm, casino executives are wondering how they can turn the disaster to their advantage by lobbying the Mississippi legislature for emergency changes to the law that will allow them to move their casino onto land rather than barges.

I mean, we all *know* how important it is to get the casino back into operation amidst a disaster with so much human carnage.

The Jackson Channel
POSTED: 3:00 pm CDT August 30, 2005
Casinos Want Emergency Legislation

A top casino executive is calling on the Mississippi Legislature to enact emergency legislation to keep the state's coast gaming industry alive.

Treasure Bay Casino President and CEO Bernie Burkholder said Tuesday most of the casino hotels on the coast survived the hurricane, but several gambling barges suffered extensive damage.

Reconstruction could take years, Burkholder said.

State law doesn't allow land-based casinos, so lawmakers would have to draft legislation that would allow casinos to operate on land.

Burkholder today walked around the Treasure Bay property in Biloxi, surveying the damage. He said it would take about $100 million to replace what was lost.

Also in Biloxi, the President Casino was swept from its beach moorings and tossed across U.S. 90 into the parking lot of the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.

Just so we don't lose perspective here:

Emergency Workers Expect Grim Body Count

Mississippi Officials: More Than 80 Dead

UPDATED: 4:37 pm CDT August 30, 2005

JACKSON, Miss. -- It's clear the death toll on the Mississippi Gulf Coast will rise sharply in the days to come.

One Hurricane Katrina survivor after another told stories Tuesday of friends and loved ones who floated off or disappeared as the floodwaters rose around them.

American Medical Response Operations Supervisor Mark Williams said paramedics on the scene said the devastation is so great that they won't quit counting bodies for days.

AMR operates ambulances along the Mississippi coast.

The only evidence of the Quiet Water Beach apartments in Gulfport is a concrete slab. Officials say as many as 30 people died there. Red bricks which were once its walls are scattered around the area, which is located just across U.S. Highway 90 from the beach.

In the debris is a crushed red child's play wagon, jewelry and clothing.

Behind the slab, a wall of debris is washed up against homes. The nearby U.S. 90 is buckled and covered with debris -- twisted boards, pieces of wall, bricks and the possessions of those who lived there.

People are digging through the rubble, trying to salvage any possessions not washed away by the storm.

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