POSTED: Saturday, September 1, 2012 - 6:50pm
UPDATED: Saturday, September 1, 2012 - 9:02pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — The capitol area has a brand new entertainment hot spot.
The L'Auberge Casino Hotel opened Saturday afternoon to a large and excited crowd. Lines started forming before the doors opened, and traffic backed up almost to Nicholson Drive well into the afternoon.
The grand opening was supposed to have been last Wednesday, but Hurricane Isaac delayed those plans. The casino took a risk by holding its opening on the same day as LSU's first football game, but that risk paid off.
"All of us were focused first on making sure the storm passed safely though and people
were taken care of," said Pinnacle Entertainment CEO Anthony Sanfilippo. "We knew today would come."
"Today made up for (the wait)," echoed the casino's general manager, Mickey Parenton. "The energy on our team members' faces, the energy on the customers. It's been a long time coming, and it's just a great day."
The hotel has 204 guest rooms and a 12,000 square foot event space. The casino has three restaurants, including a buffet, a sports bar, and a steakhouse, as well as 74,000 square feet of gaming space.
The casino employees 1,400 people, and Parenton said that 93 percent of those jobs went to local residents. Some of them received as much as eight months of training before Saturday's official opening.
The casino took more than two years to complete, at a price of $368 million.