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A Long Road to Recovery

Louisiana Gov. Cool to Casino Plan

October 12, 2005|From Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said Tuesday she disagreed with New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin's idea to revitalize the devastated city with gambling revenue.

The mayor pitched the casino plan Friday as a way to jump-start New Orleans' economy and help its people get back to work after Hurricane Katrina.

Nagin had hoped the governor would include the gambling proposal in her plans for a special legislative session scheduled for November.

But Blanco said the city needed federal tax credits and stronger public schools to stimulate growth and reconstruction.

The governor urged caution "in looking to the expansion of gambling as a quick fix to our economic problems in the city."

"I have never believed that gambling should be the base on which to build our economy," Blanco said in a statement.

The mayor's plan calls for a large gambling area in the city's central business district, stretching from Interstate 10 to the Mississippi River.

Hotels with more than 500 rooms, the majority of which are near Canal Street, would be able to add gambling under Nagin's plan.

But the proposal would require legislative approval. Also, Harrah's Entertainment Inc., which runs a land-based casino in New Orleans, would have to give up its exclusive gambling rights.

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