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lisacarter on 09/26/2017 at 01:12PM

Traveling Around - Lula, Mississippi - Isle of Capri Casino

What's Where

The layout of the complex is a little sprawling but the main entrance leads off to the parts of the facility. Directly inside the main entrance under the large portico is the hotel check in desk and the lobby area. The area is accentuated with a fountain and pool area that has decoy ducks floating aimlessly in the pool as well as deer and a hunter on the banks watching them. A very pleasant spot to spend a few quiet moments anticipating the excitement to come.

A hallway behind the fountain leads to one of the two casinos. The hallway contains a full service restaurant - Otis and Henry's - as well as a snack bar - O&H Express - associated with the restaurant. This casino is populated entirely by slot machines. To the west from the atrium is Calypso's Buffet where it is reasonably easy on Mondays to find a complimentary admission. Past the buffet is the second casino which has some 20 table games as well as slot machines and video poker. One of the two hotels is also located in this wing. To the east from the atrium is the second hotel.

The Hotels

The Palm Terrace Hotel and the Coral Reef Hotel have a combined 450 rooms. The Coral Reef Hotel features rooms with one king or two double beds, while the Palm Terrace Hotel has a king or a queen or two double beds. They are all equipped with flat screen televisions and coffee makers. The hotels also feature an outdoor swimming pool and an indoor exercise facility. Laundry facilities are also available for guests that have been on the road. Several combinations of accommodations are available from regular rooms through deluxe facilities and range in price from $69 during the week to $159 on the weekends. In looking at the reservation website, it would appear that space is available most of the time.

The Food

Three restaurants are available.

The Calypso Buffet features Mississippi Delta style cooking that tries to use locally grown and produced food. They have a Catfish Friday and a Seafood Saturday buffet every week. Holidays such as Easter call for special menus. Prices range from $10.99 for lunch to a normal $15.99 for dinner. Specialty menus such as Catfish Fridays are more expensive.

Otis & Henry's Bar & Grill opens at 5:00 PM each day for dinner and is open on Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM for breakfast. The dinner menu contains appetizers, soups, and salads, sandwiches, and an array of entrees. The entrees are moderately priced (a fried chicken platter is $14.00).

The O&H Express is open from 7:00 AM till 2:00 AM every day. They feature breakfast sandwiches and muffins as well as grab-and-go sandwiches, burgers, nachos, and chips. Patrons can also order sandwiches from the Otis & Henry's Bar and Grill menu.

Entertainment

Periodically the casino sponsors name entertainment in the Flamingo Ballroom. The ballroom is a large facility that can accommodate up to 1,000 people. In addition to entertainment is is used for conventions, meetings, and as a venue for weddings.

The Gambling

Two casinos are present at the facility. Together they house some 1300 slot machines and video pokers. There are 20 plus table game. The casino directly down the hallway behind the atrium has slot machines. There is a cashier's cage that can handle transactions from the players club (called FanPlay).

The casino to the west of the atrium contains not only slot and video poker machines but many table games. There is a cashier's cage and a window for joining and obtaining the players club (FanPlay) benefits. They feature Blackjack (both double deck and shoe dealt), Craps, Roulette, Mississippi Stud, and a blackjack off shoot called 21+3.

Most days of the week have special contests or giveaways in progress that can enhance the guest's experience.

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dsuisman on 07/19/2010 at 09:10AM

Fat Possum Mississippi Juke Joint Caravan live on WFMU

Paul "Wine" Jones, photo via Fat Possum

Matthew Johnson has said that he started Fat Possum Records just to be able to put out a record by R. L. Burnside. He did that (Bad Luck City, 1992), but fortunately he didn’t stop there. From that time on, Fat Possum has released many of the most exciting blues discs to appear since the 1960s, revitalizing interest in music that many people (outside the South, especially) had long thought was creatively exhausted.

For a number of years, a handful of artists from the label’s roster toured the country, billed as the Fat Possum Juke Joint Caravan. Back in the mid-1990s the troupe featured R. L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. Later, its mainstays were T-Model Ford and Paul "Wine" Jones. In 2004, the opportunity arose to bring the Caravan to WFMU for a set on my show "The Inner Ear Detour," and I was thrilled to have them.

For reasons I don’t recall, everyone was packed into Studio A, rather than setting up the musicians in the regular, roomier performance space upstairs, connected to Studio B. It wasn’t intentional, I’m sure, but with everyone crammed in there, the effect when the music started was that Studio A felt an awful lot like a crowded hill-country juke joint. The sound had a lot to do with it, too, of course. Listening to these recordings today, this is not a sound—gritty and dark, loose and groovy—that I generally associate with 10 a.m. on a Thursday morning! It helped too that we had a throng of people squeezed into the room: all the musicians, their handler, engineer Jason Engel, sundry WFMU staffers and volunteers, and, somewhat incongruously, a small television crew doing a story on Fat Possum for the Canadian branch of Bravo.

The late Paul "Wine" Jones played first, with a searing guitar style reminiscent of the rawer recordings of Hound Dog Taylor. T-Model Ford played next, with echoes of Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters in his repertoire but with a sandpaper-and-gravel timbre and sparse accompaniment (by his longtime partner Spam on drums) that no one would mistake for Chess Records. "T” (as everyone seemed to call him) was then in his 80s and walked with a cane, but this didn’t stop him from getting up and dancing when the other musicians played. Last was Kenny Brown, best known as a protégé of R. L. Burnside but whose lighter finger-picking on this date was more reminiscent of another of his mentors, Joe Callicott. Cedric Burnside played drums with Paul Jones and with Kenny Brown.

Great musicians, and a great morning.

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