Beau Rivage Lays Off 340 Workers

Beau Rivage executives said they had no choice. They had to cut costs today to meet a dropping demand. Beau Rivage Public Affairs Executive Bruce Nourse said, "This is something that is very, very difficult for this company to do."

Bruce Nourse made the announcement. The Biloxi resort was laying off 340 workers, roughly 11 percent of its staff. He said, "We've done all we can as a business to ensure first and foremost that our customer has been served."

Company executives said the September 11th World Trade Center attacks hit the Biloxi resort harder than anybody imagined. When business dropped, Beau Rivage decided to trim 340 jobs and cut other costs where it could.

For instance, Nourse said, "In order to minimize jobs reductions, we're implementing a salary and wage freeze. Some jobs are being preserved by bringing various out-sourced positions in house."

Susan Sawyer was one of the Beau Rivage workers who lost her job. As she walked out of the resort, she said, "They just called me in this morning and said there has been a separation, and we're letting you go."

As word spread about the 340 layoffs, the mood around the Biloxi resort turned gloomy. Ellenetta Marshall said it was "scary." Marshall was a Beau Rivage dealer who got fired. "They got me right when I walked in, so I didn't have to stop and think about too much," she said. "I love this place. But it's gone."

Nourse said, "There is no easy way to implement a program that's going to directly and negatively affect some of our employees. But we're committed to dealing with them and working with them in a sensitive and compassionate way."

According to Nourse, Beau Rivage offered some of the employees who lost jobs today a severance package. And the company said it will provide insurance for the laid off workers, at no charge, for the next 60 days.