At the time that Harrah’s New Orleans was being considered, there was no legal land based casino gambling in Louisiana, in spite of New Orleans’ very rich gambling history. The city was approached by Christopher Hemmeter, who had been a resort builder in Hawaii for many years, as well as gaining some fame as an owner and commissioner of the short lived World Football League in the 1970’s.
Hemmeter was quite adept at dreaming big, and in 1993 he envisioned building a billion dollar casino in New Orleans which was to be fashioned after the one in Monte Carlo and be the world’s biggest casino. A million visitors a year and almost a billion dollars in revenue a year were numbers that were thrown around.
The chosen site was the Rivergate property, which was built on a failed effort to build a tunnel in the 1960’s, and the state designed this land as being legal for a casino to be built there. Hemmeter teamed up with Caesar’s and the plan was to build it as soon as they got the license.
Strangely enough though, the license was given to Harrah’s instead, so one company had the lease and another had the casino license, and after pressure from the state governor, the two gambling companies finally teamed up to form a joint venture and the casino was built.
The Harrah’s New Orleans eventually opened up in 1999, and just the casino was built at this time, and guests had to stay at nearby hotels. Eventually a hotel was built across the street, with 450 rooms, plenty big enough to accommodate the guests at the casino.
As it turned out, Harrah’s New Orleans ended up being more popular with the locals than expected, and there are more locals than tourists at this casino actually. So the casino wasn’t anywhere near as big as first imagined, and the amount of tourists that it brings into the city isn’t quite as many as hoped, but this is still a very successful casino.
Since then, the state of Louisiana has issued several other casino licenses and casino gambling now represents a pretty significant part of the state’s economy, but Harrah’s Casino New Orleans was the first and the ground breaker and still plays a prominent role in the casino business in this state.
Harrah’s, which joined forces with Caesar’s to build the Harrah’s New Orleans, ended up acquiring Caesar’s Entertainment just prior to the completion of this casino, although they later changed their name from Harrah’s Entertainment to Caesar’s Entertainment, but retain the Harrah’s brand. They operate a total of 50 casinos are the fourth largest gaming company in the world.
The Accommodations at Harrah’s Casino New Orleans
The Harrah’s New Orleans features a 26 story stately looking hotel, which at a minimum nightly rate of $170, is by far the most expensive of any of the Harrah’s properties. This is downtown New Orleans though, so the prices are going to be higher than at a remote location or in an area that caters primarily to gambling, but this is a fine hotel and is rated four diamond by AAA.
The rooms here are all large and start with a luxury king room, on up. The casino is also partnered with several nearby hotels, the Sheraton New Orleans, The Omni Riverfront Hotel, the New Orleans Marriott, and the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, so there is plenty of selection of great hotels and you don’t have to stay at the casino’s hotel, although it is conveniently located right across the street which is a plus for it.
If you are staying at a resort, then you are often limited to either the resort’s amenities and services or similar ones at resorts nearby, but one of the beauties of having a casino in a major city is that you can enjoy everything the city has to offer, and New Orleans is a happening city indeed, with lots to see and do and lots of places to eat at and be entertained at.
There’s plenty to be enjoyed at Harrah’s itself though, from upscale to casual dining, and there are 12 restaurants that are featured here, with 9 restaurants in house at the hotel and casino and 3 partner restaurants nearby.
Seafood lovers will particularly enjoy the offerings here, and there is a great seafood restaurant on hand, an oyster bar, an upscale steak house, a buffet restaurant, and more, where everyone of all tastes can find some fabulous food.
There are shows and entertainment on hand, at their 3 bars, in addition to the massive selection that New Orleans itself offers, especially those who love music. Historic Fulton St. is just around the corner, with all of its bars, restaurants, entertainment, and shopping, in addition to everything else Downtown New Orleans has to offer.
The Casino at Harrah’s New Orleans
Harrah’s New Orleans offers a large casino, with 115,000 square feet of gaming space. Guests are treated with a bevy of promotions and rewards, and players are well taken care of here, in the usual Harrah’s style.
They start you out with 1,700 slot machines, an impressive amount indeed, and with this many you can bet that there’s lots of variety as well. Penny slot players in particular are going to love this place, as they have 700 one and two cent slots, featuring the latest and greatest slots.
They also give away a half a million dollars a week on average with their progressive slots, and have plenty of video poker machines as well for those who prefer poker.
Table game players will find 100 different gaming tables here, featuring Mini Baccarat, Midi Baccarat, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, Let It Ride, Pai Gow Poker, Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, High Card Flush, and Criss Cross Poker.
Their upscale poker room offers 20 tables and offers Texas Holdem, Omaha, and 7 Card Stud. Pit your poker skills against other players instead of just the casino and see how you measure up. This poker room also runs regular tournaments and even hosts a WSOP circuit event. The parent company owns and operates the WSOP now so you know that they know poker.
Overall, if you are going to be in the New Orleans area or would just like to visit, the Harrah’s Casino New Orleans is well worth considering, and if you like playing at a casino, they sure have one for you here.