Soon it will be be easier to drop those dolla-dolla bills at yet another Louisiana casino. This time it comes to us courtesy of a Texas native, the white tiger-loving Landry's captain, Tilman Fertitta.
Earlier this month, Fertitta announced that he has brokered a deal to acquire the property of Lake Charles neighbors L'Abuerge Du Lac, now owned by Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment, and will be sinking around $600 million into turning it into a Golden Nugget.
The casino is, of course, being marketed to Texas residents, as the "closest thing to Vegas for Texas" only about a two-hour drive up I-10. With Fertitta's bankroll and his penchant for all things over-the-top, you can basically guarantee he's right on the money with his description of the soon-to-be Nugget.
Fertitta's plans call for an enormous golf course, lakefront beach and marina, "one of a kind" pool (yeah, no idea what that actually translates to), 800 freaking guest rooms, and of course, Landry's restaurants. It wouldn't be a Fertitta project if Landry's wasn't incorporated somehow. Vic and Anthony's and Grotto are already slated to come along with the casino.
We'll just add this new Golden Nugget cash cow as another tally on the list of ways Texas is getting screwed by not legalizing gambling. Louisiana casino count: one billion, Texas: zero. We could really use some of those tax dollars if you're listening, casino gods.
Thing is, those tax dollars and gambling that's not done in some shady "game room" are great, but not the only thing we're missing out on. Not only are these casinos pumping massive dollars back into Louisiana's economy, they're also bringing some of the most random musical treasures to the state. I mean, last month we just missed Billy Ocean at Delta Downs, a casino that is literally less of a haul than crossing Houston in rush-hour traffic on a Friday night.
Gambling and concerts are awesome respectively, but the two combined? Well, that's awesome plus one. But since our state is hell-bent on keeping us puritanical when it comes to gambling and the random casino concerts that go hand in hand with these mega-resorts, we don't just get those down here in Texas.
We like to see the glass as half-full, though. So instead of side-eying our legislature, we thought we'd do you a solid and round up some of the better concerts that are headed to Texas's top hat in the next few months. Until they turn the Astrodome into a casino at a quarter til never, it's the best we can do.
That I-10 corridor is pure concert magic; just look below. You'll see why.
Journey 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 15 at Coushatta Casino, Kinder, La.
I don't care what you say, even if you refuse to claim it out loud, I am of the belief that every person on earth has a secret soft spot for Journey. Their catalog is flippin' insane, and you really can't go wrong with songs like "Faithfully" and "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)."
No, it's not the Steve Perry-fronted Journey, but it's still freakin' Journey. I mean, the front man who took Perry's place, Arnel Pineda, sounds dangerously close to the beloved Perry. Just close your eyes and you'll travel back in time to a place where the pop-rock ballads flowed like wine and permed hair was acceptable on both men and women.
Tracy Lawrence 7 p.m. Saturday, August 17 at Isle of Capri Casino, Lake Charles
Yeah, Tracy Lawrence is playing at Isle of Capri, and yeah, you should totally check him out. He's rad, with his honky-tonk-inspired music, and tickets are only $15. That should leave you enough to pick up one of the uber-rhinestoned cowboy hats Isle of Capri proudly displays down in the gift shop. Only in Louisiana...
Smokey Robinson August 23 and 24, L'Auberge Du Lac Casino, Baton Rouge
Yes, that Smokey Robinson will be playing at a casino in Louisiana. The man produced music for some of the all-time greats; think Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells and the Temptations, just to name a few. He's also a Motown hero in his own right responsible for bringing us classics like "You've Really Got a Hold On Me," and his songs have been covered by guys like the freaking Beatles and Luther Vandross. See what I'm sayin' about how awesome casinos can be?
John Anderson August 23, Isle of Capri Casino, Lake Charles Three words: "Straight Tequila Night." If you don't pay the $5 to check out ol' John Anderson, it's your own fault, cause "Straight Tequila Night" is teh awesome.
Gary Allan August 24, Coushatta Casino, Kinder, La. Coushatta's summer concert lineup is pretty strong, as you can tell by the fact that they're bringing in not only Journey, but also Gary Allan. Everybody likes Gary Allan, with his sad man's version of country music, and that "Watching Airplanes" song manages to be so bittersweet that it's almost palatable. So yeah, good job, Coushatta. Gary Allan was a good call.
Chris Cagle September 20, L'Auberge Du Lac Casino, Baton Rouge
Chris Cagle started out writing songs for David Kersh, but luckily for country-music fans, he eventually broke out on his own after an agent discovered him while Cagle was working at a restaurant. He went on to bring us songs like, "I Breathe In, I Breathe Out." Even his bio kinda reads like a country song, no?
Better Than Ezra, Sister Hazel October 11 at L'Auberge Du Lac Casino, Baton Rouge Uh-oh, Better Than Ezra and Sister Hazel? Yes, please. Better Than Ezra has managed to keep their following strong enough for them to remain out of the dreaded "'90s Nostalgia" category, and they're Louisiana natives, which makes it kinda cool since they're playing in their neck of the woods. It'll be worth the extra drive up I-10 to hear both of these bands headline the same concert.
Kellie Pickler, Robert Earl Keen November 22 at L'Auberge Du Lac Casino, Baton Rouge
See, even Robert Earl Keen is traveling out of Texas for concerts. The Houston native now calls the Hill Country home, but is draggin' his boots all the way up to Baton Rouge to play a show at L'Auberge with Kellie Pickler, who is actually a pretty decent little country musician. She seems to have avoided that American Idol curse, and playing with Keen pretty much proves it.
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Cowboy Mouth November 29 at L'Auberge Du Lac Casino, Baton Rouge What better band to play a Baton Rouge casino concert than New Orleans natives Cowboy Mouth? Dude, Cowboy Mouth is awesome, and their massive following knows it. They're a raucous group, those Cowboy Mouths, and "Jenny Says" needs to be on a top ten list of awesome songs somewhere, because it is, indeed, awesome.