Hollywood Premiere In The Bay A Star Studded Affair - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Hollywood Premiere In The Bay A Star Studded Affair

How often does Bay St. Louis get to see Joan Rivers, Mae West, Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable in the same room? The four look-a-likes were invited guests at the city's Hollywood premiere. Toss in Mayor Eddie Favre, and you've got quite a quintet.

Just before the Bay St. Louis casino opened, the quintet started singing, "Hooray for Hollywood."

Who knew that on August 29, 2005, Katrina would create Bay St. Louis' next star - Hollywood Casino.

"We talked about a number of pieces of the puzzle have to come together to rebuild Bay St. Louis," the mayor said, referring to early conversations about how to put his battered city back together.

The casino's renovation "is a huge piece of the puzzle."

This piece means tax dollars for a hurricane ravaged city that's starving for tax revenue.

"I can't describe what it means," said the mayor.

Pollye Tresemer could. Hollywood's land based premiere meant a job for her, and more than 1,000 friends.

"I'm looking at it as a whole brand new start," the blackjack dealer said.

Tresemer was a star at Hollywood back when it premiered under its original name, Casino Magic. The Bay St. Louis dealer got dealt a terrible hand when Katrina washed away her job, and her home.

"So I think what the casino has done is really, is going to bring everybody back to life," she said.

Since last Thursday, three coast casinos have flipped on their slot machines. That means eight resorts have been renovated since Katrina wiped them out.  According to gaming commission chairman Jerry St. Pe', the casino industry's rebirth is an important part of south Mississippi's recovery.

"We're talking about 6,000 jobs that have been created, if you will, or restored or returned just in the last eight or 10 days. So it's great news," he said.

It's especially good news in Hancock County, where jobs have been at a premium for more than a year.

"We are alive," Tresemer said. "We really have gotten ourselves going again."

Almost 75 percent of the people who worked at Casino Magic before the hurricane returned to the Bay St. Louis casino to work at Hollywood.

"Without the people, we won't have a city," Mayor Favre said, hoping the casino would spur activity in his beleagured town. "This is a huge step in that direction."

Hollywood lost one of its hotels during the storm. And it's golf course is still closed. It has about 200 fewer employees than it did a year ago.

by Brad Kessie

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