Baton Rouge performance of Disney Live cancelled.
Hurricane Katrina has made its presence felt among venues in the Gulf Coast region. Among the large venues in the region impacted by Katrina are the Louisiana Superdome; New Orleans Arena and Keifer UNO Lakefront Arena in New Orleans; the Cajundome in Lafayette, La.; the RiverCenter in Baton Rouge, La.; the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi; the Mitchell Center and Mobile Civic Center in Mobile, Ala.; the Pensacola, Fla. Civic Center; and the Grand Casino Gulfport, Miss.
Of all of these facilities, the only one that could be determined to have a major immediate booking was the RiverCenter, which had to cancel an Aug. 28 booking of Disney Live.
Philadelphia-based venue management firm SMG is very active in the territory, managing the Superdome and New Orleans Arena, the buildings in Pensacola and Baton Rouge, and the Mobile Civic Center.
Of the SMG buildings, the Superdome was the most high profile in Katrina's path, serving as a shelter for some 10,000 hurricane refugees and taking a beating from the storm.
In Florida, Pensacola Civic Center director Cyndee Pennington tells Billboard.biz that her building received minimal damage, as did the Mobile Civic Center. She says the RiverCenter in Baton Rouge is operational, as well.
"We all stand by ready to coordinate with corporate and the other buildings if they need our assistance," says Pennington. The Pensacola Civic Center is currently serving as a shelter for some 500 people (down from 800 at one point), after previously serving the same function for hurricanes Arlene, Cindy and Dennis. A Papa Roach/311 show set for Sunday is still scheduled.
The Gulf Coast casino business was also hammered, with at least five casinos out of action, according to reports. The Grand Casino Gulfport Web site posted the following message: "To ensure the safety of team members and customers, Harrah's New Orleans, Grand Biloxi and Grand Gulfport are now closed. We will reopen as soon as it is safe. At this time we anticipate this will happen no sooner than Monday, Sept. 12, 2005."
New Orleans is the home base for promoters Beaver Productions and Superfly Presents, as well as the grounds of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Promoter Don Fox, president of Beaver Productions, and his partner Barry Leff, rode the storm out in Memphis and Houston, respectively, but the devastation of Katrina on their home city was lost on neither.
"It's going to be a long road," Fox tells Billboard.biz. "There won't be any concerts in New Orleans for a while, at list three to six months. If anybody wants to help, tell the acts to come play for free."