Grand Casino Island View Hotel Implosion

She's hardly a grand old lady of Biloxi.

"It's only a 12 or 13 year old building," says Jim Manley a marine surveyor working for Harrah's Casino. "We don't normally demolish a building that's that new."

She's no real outstanding example of architecture or design. Instead, the Grand's Island View Hotel is an example of Biloxi's casino past, giving way to the city's post-Katrina future.

"It's not the implosion that's the news today in my opinion," says Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway. "I think what the news is, is what's coming to this location."

Harrah's employees say what's coming is big, but for the most part, still under wraps.

"It's going to be a billion dollars worth of surprise," says Manley. "We don't know exactly what it's going to be yet. It's still in evolution."

Even Mayor Holloway, who threw the switch that brought down the hurricane battered Island View, hasn't seen exactly what will take its place.

"I think it's going to be a fantastic casino resort they're planning on here," says Holloway.

Residents who came to witness the Island View's final stand agree with the mayor that this represents a turning point.

"It's part of history," says Bill Walker, who drove from Ocean Springs to see the implosion. "It's part of the renewal process."

Leonard Cherry's company, Cherry Demolition, handled Sunday's demolition.

"We're very pleased with the way the building came down," says Cherry. "Now we'll start tomorrow moving this debris."

And he says he's especially proud to be a part of creating this pile of debris, from which will rise Biloxi's bigger and better casino row.

"Some places you go to work are nicer than others," says Cherry. "And this certainly is on the top of our list as a nice place to be."