From Emerald Star to Grand Soleil

Published 12:31 am Friday, October 26, 2007

NATCHEZ — The Emerald Star casino and hotel announced Thursday they have changed the name of the development to Grand Soleil.

The name, French for “Great Sun,” came from the Natchez Indians, according to a statement developers issued Thursday. One of the revered chiefs was named Great Sun.

“We wanted to find something that would fit more with the project here in Natchez,” Marketing Director Baxter Lee said. “The developers wanted to have a strong sense of the type of property and culture they’re trying to create. They didn’t feel Emerald Star fit well.

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“After months and months of research, we whittled it down to this name as the winner. We feel it fits well with Natchez.”

The developers also announced a new logo for the hotel and casino, featuring a rising sun.

“The logo’s something we’re very proud of,” Lee said.

The development company name, Emerald Star Casino — Natchez, LLC, will remain the same, Lee said.

The development has had the name Emerald Star since former lead developer Charles Cato started negotiations with the city in 2003.

Construction on the parking lots and dock area for the casino riverboat began earlier this year, as did demolition and reconstruction of the former Ramada Inn on the bluff above. Both are located just south of the Mississippi River bridge.

The casino and hotel are scheduled to open in the spring.

The casino will have 850 slot machines, 17 table games and a poker room. The hotel will have 124 rooms and two restaurants.