Harrah's New Orleans Re-Opens - Tuesday 21st of February 2006

NEW ORLEANS Harrah's New Orleans Casino re-opened today with a commitment to help rebuild New Orleans' tourism business and a pledge to get the Mardi Gras party started with fun and excitement.

"We're back and we're excited," said Anthony Sanfilippo, president of Harrah's Central Division. "Harrah's is working with government and community leaders, our vendors and other business partners to help the efforts to bring tourism back to the city and rebuild the economy.

"Getting the casino back in action is an important step for us, the City and the State of Louisiana. We are proud to be bringing back into employment more than 1,250 dedicated Harrah's team members."

The casino held a re-opening ceremony today at noon at the Canal Street entrance. The first of the metro area's Mardi Gras parades roll later today, beginning a parade schedule that continues through Mardi Gras Day, Tuesday, Feb. 28.

"Mardi Gras is a very good time for the city to invite visitors to come and see that New Orleans is open and ready to receive tourists. We were determined to be a part of that invitation and to help deliver the fun and excitement that people expect when they arrive." Sanfilippo explained.

The land-based casino closed shortly before Hurricane Katrina made landfall near the city on Aug. 29, 2005. The building sustained storm damage, and was used by first responders as a base of operations in the days following the storm. Repairs to the facility have been completed and the casino's electronic systems and gaming devices are fully operational. The casino features a 115,000 square-foot gaming floor, more than 2,000 slot machines, over 90 table games and the largest poker room in the South.

"We're opening the entire casino in order to deliver the quality experience that Harrah's guests expect," Sanfilippo said.

Familiar food and gaming areas welcome visitors. The Besh Steakhouse at Harrah's and Asian eatery and sushi bar Bambu return to the casino, along with international cuisine from The Buffet at Harrah's. Also joining the re-opening celebration are the Cafes on Canal, featuring Fuddruckers, Starbucks and McAlister's, plus Gordon Biersch brewery restaurant.

Masquerade, with its ice bar, hot music, giant video tower, ultra lounge, and signature slots and table games, re-emerges in the center of the casino where it debuted last summer as New Orleans' coolest after-hours gathering place.

Harrah's has also brought back its popular Penny Gras penny slot area, and included Party Gras, a completely new, themed slot area. Located near the Canal Street entrance, Party Gras features the latest and most exciting games, including five-reel and multi-denomination machines.

In addition, work continues on a new 450-room, 26-story hotel, located just across Poydras Street from the casino. The $150 million project is expected to open in September 2006.

"Our casino has always reflected those things that people associate with New Orleans and expect when they visit: great food and entertainment, lots of fun, more than a little excitement and even a bit of mystique," Sanfilippo said.

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