A Gambling Man
Or lady? Sure, why not? Everyone can try his or her luck at the famous Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans. It’s located at 8 Canal Street and has a whopping 115,000 square feet for gaming.
The Big Easy has a very long tradition in the world of gambling. Its first casino opened for business in 1822 and, like the ones today, it was open 24 hours, seven days a week. Harrah’s opened in 1999 and when we visited New Orleans I had an urge to see it. Why? Because the only casinos I had been in were located in Las Vegas, Nevada; Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Nice, on the Mediterranean coast in the south of France.
Not so fast. The one in Nice was a joke. We were two 20-something single chicks whipping round Europe when we spotted the casino one evening. The fact that we were casually dressed totally escaped us as we walked towards it. Then we saw a sleek, black Mercedes pull up. An elegant male in a tuxedo got out and walked in the door. We deep-sixed the casino idea fast.
HAVING FUN IN HARRAH’S NEW ORLEANS CASINO
This casino seems to be quieter than the ones in Las Vegas. However, it does have 130 table games, including: blackjack, roulette, baccarat and craps. It also has 20 poker tables and 1,500 slot machines. I made a beeline for one of those. My husband, Peter, declined saying, “Boring, not interested. I’ll just wait while you play.”
So he walked a short distance away, found an empty chair and sat with arms folded as he played the role of “the patient husband.” I ignored all this and started dropping in quarters. Then suddenly it was WOW! Quarters came crashing and tumbling out and out and out. Guess what happened?
Hubby shot out of the chair like a scud missile and landed on my left. Then a little old lady appeared on my right. She started jumping up-and-down while hollering at top volume. I could barely think or enjoy my win there was so much nutty action around me.
Plan on visiting. When you win it’s a great feeling. And yes, the casino is open 24/7. Note: Since 2015, Harrah’s is a nonsmoking casino but there are three outdoor smoking and gaming courtyards.
ANOTHER SOUTHERN SPOT: LAS VEGAS
One thought about this town: don’t be judgmental when you visit. Yes, the whole place is over-the-top, very noisy and even exhausting. But it offers many activities, entertainment (lots are free) and a huge number of places to sleep and eat. If it gets too much just rent a car. We did this, but as we were leaving for Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert, the owner of the agency stuck his head in the window and said, “Watch out for the donkeys. They’ll kick the car. And boy! They kick.” Terrified, we started looking for these four-legged bandidos. Did we see any? Not one. That joker was just adding his Las Vegas touch.
AN EXCELLENT MOVIE ABOUT NEW ORLEANS
If you want to soak up the atmosphere of this town ahead of your visit try and get your hands on a copy of The Big Easy. This is a 1987 film starring Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin that was shot on location in New Orleans and really captures the atmosphere of the city.
The opening aerial shot of the New Orleans bayou alone is worth the price of admission – simply fantastic. Roger Ebert, film critic of the Chicago Sun Times wrote, “The Big Easy is one of the richest American films of the year.”
And speaking of “atmosphere” the Rathbone has it in spades with its antebellum mansions. Come visit, you’ll love everything you see.