Despite MGM Mirage debt struggles, Beau Rivage celebrates a decade in Biloxi

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - According to a Wall Street Journal article, the Beau Rivage's parent company, MGM Mirage is searching for ways to generate money and avoid defaulting on its debts.  Which is why industry insiders say every MGM property is for sale.  That would include the Beau Rivage in downtown Biloxi.

Beau Rivage managers will not discuss their parent company's financial situation.  Their focus is on Biloxi, and the steps they've taken to make the Beau profitable.

A decade after it opened, Beau Rivage still has 517 of its original employees.  Viode Sheedy is one of the workers who got hired and never left.

"I've actually climbed the ladder.  I started here as an hourly employee.  And I'm now in executive housekeeping, a manager position," she said.

A decade later, a lunch in the employee cafeteria was for Sheedy, and the other 516 Beau Rivage employees who never left this property.

Jaclyn Cochran was 20 years old when she got hired by the Beau.

"The company has been really great to me and my family.  And hopefully I can stay another 10 years and see what it offers," she said.

Beau Rivage President George Corchis marked the milestone by donning an apron.  He joined other executives behind the counter.  They served lunch to people who Corchis called the resort's secret sauce.

"We're trying to show our appreciation.  We're trying to serve our employees who do a wonderful job every day taking care of our guests," said Corchis.

Margaret Sigurnjak appreciated the gesture.

"Why did I stay?  It's a good place to work," she said, as the musician Brooks Hubbert played in the dining room behind her.

It hasn't always been bands and balloons at Beau Rivage.  After its initial opening, the resort went through some growing pains.  Managers admitted they had a hard time trying to figure out who their customers were.  But they eventually got that straightened out.

Then, just as the Beau seemed to be running on all cylinders, Hurricane Katrina shut it down for an entire year.

Kristian Wade was one of the original employees who worked during the 365 day hiatus.

"It's a sense of accomplishment to stay somewhere 10 years.  And it really feels good," he said.

Wade went from a cook to an executive soux chef.  He survived the hurricane.  And he made it through a couple rounds of layoffs.

He's the kind of employee that the Beau Rivage president likes to boast about.

"We're still the crown jewel of the gulf coast, and we're proud of it," said Corchis.

MGM Mirage stockholders have an earnings conference on Tuesday.  And the financial state of the company is supposed to be addressed.

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