On a recent visit to Southwest Louisiana’s L’Auberge du Lac Resort
and Casino, the games of chance began before I arrived. Flash
floods and severe lightning storms pummeled the area, followed by
blinding rain that closed I-10. Flights were cancelled to Lake
Charles. Once I arrived in one piece, I expected a ghost-town-like
atmosphere in the gaming halls.
I underestimated the power of this casino.
I slugged out the 2½-hour drive from Houston to the resort and
was surprised to see a waiting line at check-in. The casino and
restaurants were bustling. And after spending five days on the
property, I discovered why. The resort may be the most happening
place in Southwest Louisiana.
Over the past year, L’Auberge celebrated its first birthday,
survived a hurricane and the death of two competing casinos to
become the top-grossing riverboat casino in Louisiana. The reason
is obvious. Style.
Southwest Louisiana is the Gentleman’s Country Club of Gaming
and Adventure. I walked on fresh grass, listened to frogs in the
evening and delighted in watching egrets fly to roosting areas
against a brilliant orange sunset. Moments later, I was enjoying
service, gaming options and entertainment that match Vegas
Louisiana is coming of age in the casino industry. State Gaming
Commission numbers show Lake Charles casinos including L’Auberge,
Isle of Capri and Delta Downs took in $55.1 million in May,
compared with $49.5 million in May 2005. L’Auberge is the top
earner, with nearly $25 million in winnings in May 2006.
Destroyed or damaged casino properties in Mississippi and
Louisiana many with outdated, old-style gambling-hall themes are
being replaced with modern, new-style gaming resorts like L’Auberge
that have spurred interest among people looking for something
According to L’Auberge spokesperson Kerry Andersen, the resort
caters to all types of customers.
“We turn away several thousand people each week,” said Anderson.
“Our weekend events are 100 percent filled because L’Auberge offers
more than just gambling. Promotions include cooking demos, custom
belt bucklers and cigar rollers, with lots of hands-on
A Wide Range of Amenities
Pinnacle Entertainment invested over $400 million in the
26-story, 750-room property that sits on 26 acres on the edge of
Lake Charles about 200 miles from New Orleans. The L’Auberge is one
of the world’s largest single-level riverboats, with a
30,000-square-foot gaming area, including 60 table games and 1,600
Restaurants here offer big-name chefs and great food. The
370-seat Beaucoup Buffet serves seafood to traditional Cajun/Creole
cuisine and more. At Asia Restaurant, try the Vietnamese Noodle
Soup. For the romantic or for a business meeting, there’s the Snake
Another notable feature is the Lazy River, a pool and watersport
complex. A slow, but steady current carries swimmers on floats and
tubes in a meandering course that’s popular with guests of all
ages. Every Thursday night, the Lazy River area turns into a weekly
event called “Party by the Pool” where anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000
people congregate in the 23,500-square-foot event area. There they
enjoy big-name entertainment like Lionel Richie and K.C. and the
The nearby Contraband Bayou Golf Club offers a 7,000-yard, par
71 championship golf course that combines the best of botanical
gardens and golf.
Charter buses run directly from Houston to the casino and return
throughout the day.
According to Andersen: “People will get up in the morning and
golf all day or hunt and fish, and return for a nap or meal before
spending the evening enjoying entertainment or the gaming
The L’Auberge du Lac offers a chance to relax, unwind and enjoy
the true meaning of southern comfort.