DRY PRONG (AP) — A new casino joins Louisiana’s market today when the Jena Choctaw Pines Casino opens in central Louisiana.
The 46,000-square-foot casino’s doors will open following a ribbon-cutting ceremony set for 10 a.m.
The Jena Band of Choctaw Indians’ Pines Casino will be the third Native American-owned casino in Central Louisiana. The Tunica-Biloxi tribe operates Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville and the Coushatta tribe operates Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder.
The casino, on U.S. 167 in the Grant Parish town of Dry Prong, will offer more than 700 gaming devices, poker tables, a sports bar, entertainment and dining options.
Tribal Chief B. Cheryl Smith says the project’s been a long-time coming and “it makes us extremely happy to see it become a reality.”
Entergy income nearly doubles
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Electric power company Entergy Corp. said today that its fourth-quarter net income nearly doubled helped by lower income tax expenses.
The New Orleans-based utility earned $296.3 million, or $1.66 per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, up from $154.1 million, or 87 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.
Excluding one-time items, the company said it posted an adjusted profit of $1.72 per share for the recent quarter.
Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 95 cents per share on $3.15 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.
The company said profit at its utility business jumped 65 percent to $279.7 million, largely as a result of lower income tax expense stemming from a settlement with the Internal Revenue Service that was completed at the end of 2012.
Agriculture key to growth in SW La.
JENNINGS (AP) — For agriculture to grow as an economic factor in southwest Louisiana, the region must increase agritourism, promote locally grown products and promote the importance of the industry.
That was the message a dozen farmers, landowners and business leaders sent Thursday during a discussion on ways to boost and diversify agriculture as well as attract more young people to agriculture careers.
George Swift, president and CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, said growth in the agriculture plays a critical role in the future of the region.
“We feel like we have a lot of opportunities in southwest Louisiana to increase our agricultural economy to include farming, agricultural businesses and agritourism,” Swift said.
Agricultural production is the largest economic generator in Jefferson Davis Parish with the total value of agricultural commodities exceeding $140 million, the LSU AgCenter says.
An agriculture-focused meeting also was held last week in Beauregard Parish. Others are set for Feb. 28 in Calcasieu and then in March in Cameron and Allen parishes.
Information from the meetings will be compiled into a report and presented to Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain.
“As long as there will be a rice industry in Louisiana, I think Jeff Davis Parish will be there,” former county agent Eddie Eskew said. “Rice is our No. 1 crop and we consistently grow good rice.”
The parish currently has 82,000 acres of rice, followed by 32,000 acres of soybeans and 22,000 acres of crawfish, the LSU AgCenter said. Other crops include sugarcane, hay, turf grass and beef cattle.
“If agriculture left tomorrow, there would be nothing left here,” agriculture lender Steve Broussard said.
LSU offers seminar on tomatoes
BOSSIER CITY (AP) — The LSU AgCenter will conduct a free seminar on growing tomatoes in greenhouses on March 1 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Red River Research Station.
The seminar will be conducted by LSU AgCenter horticulturist Hanna Y. Hanna.
Hanna will address major greenhouse expenses, modern greenhouse technology, understanding your tomato plant and the greenhouse environment, including light, water, heating and cooling. Other topics will include producing a good tomato crop, rooting media for greenhouse crops and other greenhouse crops besides tomatoes.
People interested in attending should call 318-741-7430, Ext. 1107 for reservations.
The Red River Research Station is in southern Bossier City off U.S. Highway 71 about 3 miles south of the Jimmie Davis Bridge.