Margaritaville: A huge milestone in our long-term recovery

Here are Mayor A.J. Holloway’s comments made during the May 15, 2007 announcement of Harrah’s plans to open a Jimmy Buffett-themed Margaritaville Casino & Resort on Casino Row in Biloxi.

It was a year ago this month when Harrah’s called me down here to push two buttons and implode a hotel.

This morning, as I was getting on the elevator to come up here, I thought twice before pushing the button.

Good morning. I’m delighted to be here for this announcement.

We’ve come a long way since Aug. 29, 2005, and today represents a huge milestone in the long-term recovery of Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

In those hectic and trying days after the storm, I received calls offering assistance and reassurance from people all across the country.

One of the ones that I remember very well came from Harrah’s Entertainment.

The Harrah’s leadership let me know in no uncertain terms that they were committed to Biloxi, and that they were going to be a big part of our future.

Harrah’s is following through on that commitment – and today gives us an idea of what we can expect from the world’s largest gaming company.

And as popular as Jimmy Buffet is today, some of you in the audience may not know that he has a special connection with Biloxi.

While going to college a few miles north of here, Jimmy cut his musical teeth playing in nightclubs a few miles down the beach here in Biloxi. He came back anyway.

Seriously, I think Jimmy Buffett knows the Biloxi of the past, and he obviously sees the immense promise in the Biloxi of the future.

I’ve said it time and again and I’ll say it here again today: Tourism and gaming are Biloxi’s niche.

They are the engine driving our economy, and with Harrah’s and Jimmy Buffet, we’re going to grow this market to levels we never dreamed of before.