Nestled in the heart of Baton Rouge, La., right alongside the Mississippi River, is the newly completed L’Auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge, owned by Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. A premier Southern destination, this new property fully embraces Louisiana’s rich cultural heritage and “laissez les bon temps rouler” way of life (translation: Let the good times roll), truly capturing the feel of a Southern river lodge.

Located on 575 acres in the East Baton Rouge Parish—all owned by Pinnacle—this unique casino entertainment complex features an expansive single-level 74,000-square-foot gaming facility, a 12-story hotel, four dining outlets, a unique casino nightclub, a rooftop pool with stunning views of the river and—proving they thought of every important detail—2,400 parking spaces for their many guests.

The $368 million project kicked off in May 2010 with the opening date set for Aug. 29. Pinnacle assembled a more-than-capable team for the job, choosing some of the best in the architecture industry. Marnell Architecture—a Las Vegas-based design and development company responsible for numerous world-class gaming resorts, including the Bellagio, Borgata and Caesars Palace—paired up with New Orleans-based Manning Architects to create the resort’s singular look, and Manhattan Construction brought the designs to life. As for the interior design, Pinnacle took charge in that department using its own director of design interiors. Through a well-coordinated, collaborative approach and strategic planning, the team was able to complete everything by deadline.

L’Auberge’s gaming floor.
L’Auberge’s gaming floor.
Pinnacle is proud that the project benefits not just the company, but the community. More than 1,000 new permanent jobs were created for Baton Rouge, with an anticipated tax impact of about $50 million annually. The property also generated 1,200 temporary construction jobs. L’Auberge Baton Rouge is Pinnacle’s fourth property in Louisiana, bringing the company’s number of employees to more than 5,000 and its investment in the state to more than $1 billion. Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne voiced his support for the region’s newest tourism destination on behalf of the state, saying: “With the opening of L’Auberge comes more than 1,000 new hospitality jobs for Louisiana. We are happy to have L’Auberge as part of Louisiana’s already burgeoning lodging and entertainment landscape.”

Life along the Mississippi is captured in every aspect of the L’Auberge Casino & Hotel. Throughout the property the design team was sure to incorporate classic elements from an older, high-society Southern lifestyle. The result? Rich, elegant touches with distinct Louisiana flair. Wrought iron gates, an oversized fireplace, artisanal glasswork and rich paneling are but a few accents designed to welcome guests to an exquisite getaway experience. From the moment you step onto the property, you feel transported into another time. Each of the 205 standard guest rooms is steeped in the rich heritage of the South. While guests are sure to enjoy this vintage vibe, they will be equally glad to know that their amenities are very modern; they get the best of both worlds. Rooms at L’Auberge include LED TVs, iPod docking stations, comfortable robes, and stunning artwork and prints by Louisiana’s best local artists. Aside from the standard rooms, there are also 30 beautiful suites. Elegant marble bathrooms, full living rooms with home theaters and wet bars, provide the comforts of a lavish estate. There is even butler service available!

Inside a room at L’Auberge.
Inside a room at L’Auberge.
A contemporary interpretation of the classic lodge, the expansive casino is a thrilling tribute to the beauty, tradition and energy of Baton Rouge. Those ready to take a chance with lady luck will be glad to know the casino offers a number of options. Players can choose from amongst nearly 1,500 slot machines and 50 table games. For those who prefer a bit more of a challenge, the Red Stick poker room offers a handsome retreat for poker enthusiasts. Stepping into this elegant room, players will find many of their favorite games, including Limit Hold ‘Em, No Limit Hold ‘Em, Limit Omaha High/Low and Pot Limit Omaha. Those willing to hike the ante up a notch can enjoy the thrill that comes with high-stakes excitement in the exquisite High Limit Salon, complete with incredibly comfortable flex-back chairs and connected to a spacious VIP Lounge.

L’Auberge also features a variety of other options for entertainment, or entertainment purposes. This includes an expansive Event Center that spans nearly 13,000 square feet and features a 1,000-square-foot performance platform. The Event Center can also be broken up into three separate meeting areas or provide theater-style seating for 1,400 guests.

Situated on a scenic levee, the outdoor festival grounds, known as “The Lawn,” is the perfect place to enjoy thrilling concerts and exciting live entertainment in the fresh Louisiana air, while those looking for a more intimate night of music can head to Edge, the property’s hip music bar. And guests hoping to lay back and relax can soak up the sun, and breathtaking views of the Mississippi River, from the rooftop pool, featuring six private cabanas, friendly poolside service and a full-service bar.

Four distinct dining destinations provide a variety of choices to please the palate. Dining at L’Auberge Casino & Hotel, one can experience some of the very best of the region; the freshest seafood, comforting Southern classics and beautiful cuts of beef are all served with a side of signature Louisiana hospitality. At the Bon Temps Buffet, a good time is guaranteed. Here, guests will find scrumptious Southern comfort food, decadent desserts such as house-made gelato and fresh local seafood, including seasonal crawfish boils. For those who have no desire to miss the Sunday football game, Stadium Sports Bar and Grill is the place to go. With a menu chock-full of Southern specialties and 50 flat-screen TVs, you won’t miss a thing as you cheer on your team.

18 STEAK honors Louisiana being named the 18th state of the U.S. Guests can savor juicy steaks cooked to perfection—and paired with the perfect wine—in the elegant dining room. Or, they can simply visit the bar for a stiff pour of bourbon, scotch or whiskey, while admiring the burned scotch and whiskey barrels adorning the ceiling. When looking to grab a quick meal, at any time, guests can stop by PJ’s Cafe for a hot cup of authentic Louisiana coffee or tea, and a yummy sandwich or pastry.

A minor bump in the road forced Pinnacle Entertainment to postpone the originally planned Aug. 29 opening. But considering the circumstances, the company was more than happy to do so. As Hurricane Isaac approached the Gulf Coast, governors in Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi ordered a state of emergency for their areas. Thus, in Baton Rouge, the storm diverted Louisiana State Police personnel required to issue the final regulatory approval for opening L’Auberge. With no serious impact on Baton Rouge, the final step in the formal licensing and approval process was approved soon after Isaac’s passing on Aug. 31, 2012.

A ceremonial throw of the dice on L’Auberge opening day.
A ceremonial throw of the dice on L’Auberge opening day.
On Sept. 1, Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. opened L’Auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge to robust crowds. Enthusiastic guests lined up hours before the 2 p.m. CDT opening, eager to be the first ones in. Over the course of the weekend, more than 18,000 excited guests streamed through the doors. President and CEO of Pinnacle Anthony Sanfilippo credits his team for the property’s overwhelming success. “This opening is the result of diligent work by an immensely skilled group of leaders at a property now brought to life on this exciting day for Pinnacle and Baton Rouge by our talented and enthusiastic team members.” He continued to say: “We thank the citizens of Baton Rouge for their vote of confidence and look forward to being a vital part of regional tourism and the local community.”

This momentous occasion was appropriately marked with a ceremonial throw of dice by Baton Rouge Mayor Melvin ‘Kip’ Holden and Sanfilippo, with L’Auberge vice president and General Manager Mickey Parenton, and Pinnacle’s executive vice president of regional operations, Geno M. Iafrate, participating.

Parenton discussed Pinnacle’s commitment to the region. “The premier casino in the region is now open for business and we are excited to welcome guests for the first time as we extend the iconic L’Auberge brand into the thriving Baton Rouge market.” He concluded by saying: “From the expansive vibrant casino to the luxurious hotel and our distinct restaurants with breathtaking riverfront views, we look forward to creating memorable moments for our guests.”

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