The threat of Hurricane Ivan caused hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate their homes and businesses Tuesday and Wednesday, September 14th & 15th. They fled from Mobile, New Orleans and countless other places along the Gulf coast, looking for shelter. Thousands found their way to Natchez and the city soon found its hotels and bed-and-breakfast establishments full.
While we feel compassion for the individuals that were forced to flee from their homes, this tragedy presented an opportunity for Natchez to expose our community to some individuals that otherwise may never have come to Natchez. As an editorial in the local newspaper said:
The best things we can do [is] ...to welcome the evacuees with the same open arms we greet our tourists. As hotels and restaurants were reaping the unexpected economic benefits, Natchez was also extending the red carpet.
Like many other businesses in Natchez, Under-The-Hill-Saloon opened its arms to evacuees of Hurricane Ivan. We made them feel like one of the locals. One group from New Orleans that stopped by the saloon, and pictured here, was Glenn Isemann, Robyn Orgeron, Jennifer Buffington and Robert Bochert. Others came by the saloon and most of them were from the Mississippi Gulf coast, and others stopped to view the river and never entered the saloon.
As readers of this web site know…there is a parking problem under-the-hill. This problem prevented the evacuees from finding a parking space where they could view Natchez form a different perspective, under-the-hill.
Much credit should be given to our local law enforcement personal during this emergency as well as their attitude concerning the parking situation under-the-hill during this time. Everybody knows they must do their job, and everybody also knows common sense is a virtue. Our local police did not remove the evacuees who parked in the ‘boat ramp’ just across Silver Street from the saloon, and for this courtesy we applaud them.
Isle of Capri Casino
Although the local newspaper encouraged all of Natchez to welcome the evacuees with open arms the Isle of Capri Casino, located in Natchez, continued to lock-down its parking area just north of the saloon. Thousands of people were walking around downtown Natchez and many others were driving around town and under-the-hill to see what our city has to offer.
We were under the assumption, perhaps incorrectly, that the Isle of Capri Casino was community oriented. To us ‘community oriented’ means a business or person that supports the community in every possible way. Also, it seems for the Isle of Capri Casino to lock down a parking area during a major disaster does not exhibit a ‘community oriented” attitude, especially with thousands of people pouring into Natchez during a disaster.
Could this action by the Isle of Capri Casino possibly become public knowledge? If its inhospitable action during a major disaster did became general public knowledge could its behavior possibly affect the casino’s revenue? If so, the Isle of Capri Casino, like all publicly traded companies, is obligated under SEC Rules to list potential factors that could affect the company’s financial position.
Biglane and Isle of Capri in Cahoots?
Everyone is aware of Mr. Biglane’s displeasure with Under-The-Hill-Saloon. He has built a gate across Water Street and he is seen on a daily basis driving to the gate to lock it down. Also, from what we are told by Isle of Capri Casino employees, Mr. Biglane is forcing the Isle of Capri Casino to lock its parking lot to prevent people from parking under-the-hill. If what we are told is fact, and we’ve heard it from more than one employee, is a publicly traded company being controlled by someone other than its board of directors? Would the SEC consider this is a potential factor that could affect the company’s financial position?
We ask why?
Why would a publicly traded company deprive disaster victims from parking under-the-hill for a day or two?
Why would a publicly traded company want to cast an unfavorable light upon Natchez?
Why would a publicly traded company allow one individual to dictate its parking policy?
A disaster hits the Gulf Coast. Evacuees flood into Natchez. Emergency shelters are opened. Yet under-the-hill stays locked down. No parking -- even for one day -- is allowed during this acute situation.
Why can’t Mr. Biglane overlook his dislike for Under-The-Hill-Saloon if only for a day or two?
Why can’t the Isle of Capri Casino stand up to someone that seems to want to hurt Natchez purely out of spite for another business owner, if only for a day or two?