You may have noticed the structure stuck under the bridge in the picture in the previous post.
Years and years ago, when casinos were first allowed in Louisiana, they had to be riverboats. I can’t remember the details but you would think I would because I worked for the City Attorney at the time and had those contracts memorized. Even though most of the work was done by the state’s gaming commission, the city still had some input. I think the rule was that the boats had to sail so many hours per day in order to maintain their license. Louisiana was trying to avoid land based casinos, which is no longer the case.
The casino in Westlake is Isle of Capri. I think it may be the only one left of the original riverboat casinos. There was one in Lake Charles, just across the I-10 bridge, but I believe it got wiped out in Hurricane Rita and didn’t rebuild.
At some point, the rules changed and the riverboat/sailing rule no longer was in effect. I don’t think Golden Nugget or L’Auberge, which are both on the south side of Lake Charles were ever riverboats but always fixed land casinos.
Anyway, Isle of Capri apparently turned their riverboat into a fixed land casino, and during the storm last night, the riverboat part of it broke loose and is now wedged between the bridge pilings. That bridge has long been considered unsafe, depending on who is giving out information. That was the only bridge from Lake Charles to Westlake when I first started driving so I drove across it a million times, or more, in the almost 30 years I lived there as a driver. We lived in Westlake, and all the shopping, restaurants, movie theaters, along with the college I attended, were in Lake Charles. At some point, the I-210 bridge was finally finished and opened. Of course, I won’t drive over either bridge but I won’t even ride over that big I-10 bridge with someone else driving.
There’s one more bridge – from Moss Bluff to Lake Charles. As an adult, I mostly lived in Moss Bluff so there wasn’t much need to cross the I-10 bridge. From where I worked in south Lake Charles, I’d sometimes take the 210 bridge, depending on what stops I had to make along the way home.
During a previous flood, which I don’t think was a hurricane, a barge got loose and knocked out one of the two railroad bridges just north of the I-10 bridge. That was never rebuilt. I keep thinking . . if this piece of the casino gets loose and knocks out that other railroad bridge, that would be really bad. I haven’t heard much in the news about the casino under the bridge but I guess everyone has bigger fish to fry right now.
I keep seeing people ask on Facebook . . when is the power going to be restored, or when will the water be running again? Right away, I know those people have just experienced their very first hurricane.
One more thing . . so many of the schools are damaged beyond repair. The kids were back in school maybe a week or 10 days. Even those who are doing the distance/remote learning, my guess is that even in a month, there are still going to be areas without power.
It’s all a mess!