D'Iberville Anxiously Waiting For Corps' Environmental Study

Jack Hickey used a special bait to reel in a Back Bay catfish. Right before the D'Iberville resident hooked his fish, he sat on the west side of the I-110 pier and talked about his city's chances of ever becoming a casino town.

"I would love to see that happen," he said. "Then I wouldn't have to drive over the bridge."

On the south side of the bridge, Biloxi has nine casino resorts. North of it, D'Iberville doesn't have any. And Jack Hickey said the city needs one.

"In D'Iberville yes definitely. It definitely needs a casino," he said.

The most recent proposal brings a casino resort west of I-110. But the developer's plans are in limbo until the Army Corps of Engineers determines how the resort will impact things like wetlands, infrastructure, schools and the everyday way of life around D'Iberville. A draft of the environmental impact study, or EIS, could be released in six months.

At Betty Jo Fountain's snowball stand, the owner has done her own study.  Fountain believes a casino can help D'Iberville grow.

"They should have built it years ago," Fountain said. "There shouldn't have been any stopping it."

D'Iberville City Manager Alan Santa Cruz won't argue with that statement. Despite years of delays, Santa Cruz said he's more confident than ever that a casino will eventually dock west of I-110.

"I think the casino will happen," Santa Cruz said.

A pile of papers on his desk indicated that other economic opporunties are also looking at D'Iberville. "I think some things will happen downtown. And I think some things will happen at the interchange," he said. But he wouldn't be specific.

In the past, D'Iberville residents have seen several casino proposals fall apart. This time, they think the city will finally catch its elusive resort.