The Fisherman's Harbor has a breathtaking view of Biloxi's sparkling waterfront. It's a view Joe Lancon gets to admire everyday. "Beautiful Biloxi. It's beautiful to me," the seafood restaurant owner said.
Lancon's diner sits on the western tip of Biloxi's commercial harbor. He has shrimp boats on one side, and a towering casino resort on the other side. "I think there's room for another one here," he said.
That's what Premiere Entertainment thinks. It's negotiated a deal with the Biloxi Port Commission. Premiere would replace the shrimp boats docked next to Highway 90 with a scaled down version of the Hard Rock casino proposal from a few years ago. "There would be extra revenue for us," said port commission director Frankie Duggan.
According to Duggan, the agreement reached between the Biloxi Port Commission and Premiere Entertainmnt pays the commission $500,000 a year. The port will also receive two percent of the casino's revenues, if the resort grosses more than $55 million a year. "And of course the main thing we're looking at, we're going to get a brand new marina built for our fishermen," said Duggan.
As he weatherproofed his shrimp boat for the expected freeze, Eddie Rhodes said a new harbor near Point Cadet would be a plus. The fisherman is willing to move his vessel to a better harbor built by the casino group. "I don't have a problem with it," Rhodes said from the deck of his shrimp boat, "as long as they make it convenient for the fishermen, the way they build the new harbor and everything. Make it to where it's easy access for everybody."
Back at the restaurant, Joe Lancon wondered if the new casino would force him to move someday. If it did, he said it would only be because Biloxi was getting an important new neighbor on its waterfront. "When I first moved here, there was condos around me," Lancon said. "Now there will be casinos. I think it would be a good plus for the area."