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TUNICA TOUR NOTES

TUNICA COUNTY
Population 10,475

TUNICA (TOWN)
Population 1,300

VISITORS PER DAY
20,000 - 25,000

VISITORS ANNUALLY
6-8 Million

CASINO EMPLOYEES
12,000

INDUSTRIES
Casino Gaming, Hospitality, Agriculture, Manufacturing

POPULATION
Tunica County was one of ten counties created in 1836 from Chickasaw Indian territory ceded to the U.S. in 1816. Commerce, now the site of Casino Strip, was the first county seat. Founded in 1834, Commerce was destroyed by the flooding Mississippi River in 1842.

Commerce was located in the province of Quizquiz where Chisca, the Great Chief, ruled when this area was discovered by Tunica's first tourist, Hernando DeSoto in 1541. The next county seat was Austin, which survived being burned by the Federals only to be flooded and destroyed. In 1848, twenty acres of inland property was donated for the new and current county seat of Tunica, Mississippi. To date, the town of Tunica has remained unharmed by the flood waters of the Mighty Mississippi.

America's best gaming odds are yours in the fastest growing adult playground: Tunica, Mississippi.

GAMING
Gaming was legalized in 1991. Splash was the first casino to open at Mhoon Landing and three others followed at that location. A $10 boarding fee was charged until the other three casinos opened and competed for the business.

Tunica receives 4% of gross gaming revenues. Of this, 12% goes to schools, 2% to Levee Board, 4% to the Town of Tunica, and the rest to the general fund.

Tunica is one of the top gaming destinations in the U.S. based on gaming revenues.

Tunica County had 20 hotel rooms in 1993. Currently, there are over 6,000 rooms.

The Mississippi Blues Trail currently has five markers to commemorate the significant contribution Tunica County has played in the history of Blues Music. Markers are currently in place for "America's Blues Highway" - Highway 61, Son House, James Cotton, Abbay & Leatherman Plantation and Harold "Hardface" Clanton. Other famous Blues artists such as Robert Johnson, Willie Brown and Isaiah "Dr." Ross have roots here.

Highway 61, closely follows the course of the Mississippi River and was once the primary route from Minnesota to New Orleans. But in the Mississippi Delta, Highway 61 is known as the Blues Highway - a hallowed path where gospel, field chants and folk merged and Robert Johnson sold his soul in exchange for mastery of the music that made him a legend. See the first Mississippi Blues Marker at the Gateway to the Blues Visitor Center on Highway 61, the entrance to the America's Blues Highway.

AGRICULTURAL PROFILE

 CROP SIZE  ESTIMATED REVENUE 
 Soybeans 101,000 acres  $12 million
 Cotton 30,200 acres $27 million
 Rice 21,000 acres $14 million
 Wheat 40,400 acres <$1 million
 Corn 13,400 acres <$1 million


GAMING PROFILE

  SIZE  ESTIMATED REVENUE 
 Gaming 13.5 acres  $1.2 billion 

Tunica is booming right on the banks of what the native Indians called "the Father of Waters."

LEVEE SYSTEM
The upper and lower Mississippi Delta is protected from the flooding Mississippi River by the Yazoo Mississippi Delta Levee. This levee begins at the Chickasaw Bluffs just south of Memphis and continues down through Natchez. The Levee Board and the U.S. Corps of Engineers maintain 98 miles of levee and 20 miles of backwater levee.

The creation of the levee district was, in fact, a reaction to the flood of 1882, which has been described as the most destructive flood in the recorded history of Mississippi River overflow. There were 284 crevasses with a combined length of 56.1 miles.

The last crevasse was in 1897 in Tunica County at Flower Lake. This was the first flood that could accurately indicate the maximum high water level following the closing of the St. Francis and White River Basins on the Arkansas side. Estimated guesses could not be made until the Arkansas levees were built.

In 1917, Congress passed legislation, which provided that the U.S. Government through the Corps of Engineers would build the levee if local districts would provide one third of the cost and secure rights-of-way.

It was not until 1920, after World War I, that federal participation in levee construction began. Other significant floods were in 1927, 1937, 1950 and 1973.

The Mississippi River flood in April and May of 2011 was among the largest and most damaging recorded along the U.S. waterway in the past century, comparable in extent to the major floods of 1927. The 2011 flood in Tunica was a true test of the effectiveness of the Levee system. Tunica was forced to close all casinos for a 3-week period in May of 2011 due to the rising flood waters, but there was never a breach or loss of property on the "dry side" of the levee.

Earliest levees were approximately three feet in height above ground level and were built by riverfront landowners.

The levee has grown in height from an average of eight feet in 1884 to an average of 40 feet. The base has grown from an average width of 58 feet in 1884 to 350 feet today. The riverside of the levee has a layer of heavy, impervious clay and a berm to prevent passage of seepage through the levee. The entire levee is planted in Bermuda grass to protect the dirt material from erosion.

In the riverside "borrow pits," which provided most of the material for the construction of the levee, natural tree growth is encouraged to protect the levee from wave wash during high water stages.

The levee is controlled and maintained by the Yazoo Mississippi Delta Levee Board made up of elected officials from the ten river counties. They employ a full-time engineer.

MISSISSIPPI TOUR NOTES

Mississippi is the birthplace of Elvis Presley, BB King and the home of Jimmie Rodgers, "The Father of Country Music."

The word "Mississippi" means "Father of Waters," a reference to the great Mississippi River for which the state is named.

65% of all catfish produced in the U.S. comes from Mississippi, where over 95,000 acres are devoted to catfish farms.

The Parent Teachers Association (PTA) was founded in Mississippi in 1909.

The world's first human heart and lung transplants were performed in Mississippi at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Mississippi seceded from the Union in 1861. Rejoined the Union in 1870. 

Mississippian Jefferson Davis was named president of the Confederate States of America in 1861.

America's first Memorial Day was celebrated in Columbus, Mississippi, April 26, 1866.

According to the Mississippi Department of Transportation, the longest stretch of highway in the U.S. with no horizontal or vertical curves (completely flat) is a 29.8 mile stretch of U.S. Highway 61 beginning just south of Tunica to just north of Clarksdale.

MISSISSIPPI FACTS
State Flower & Tree: Magnolia

State Bird: Mocking Bird

Nickname: Hospitality State

FAMOUS MISSISSIPPIANS

 Musicians
Entertainers  Athletes  Writers 
 B.B. King  Jimmy Buffet
 Brandy Norwood  Archie Manning  Beth Henley
 Blind Mississippi Morris  John Lee Hooker
 James Earl Jones
 Brett Favre  Eudora Welty
 Bo Diddley
 Johnny Winter 
 Jerry Clower
 Dizzy Dean
 John Grisham
 Brittany Spears
 Lance Bass
 Jim Henson
 Eli Manning
 Richard Wright
 Bobbie Gentry
 LeAnn Rimes
 Mary Ann Mobley
 Jeff Brantley   Shelby Foote
 Charley Patton
 Leontyne Price
 Morgan Freeman
 Jerry Rice
 Tennessee Williams
 Charley Pride
 Marty Stuart
 Oprah Winfrey  Lewis Tillman
 William Faulkner
 Charlie Musselwhite
 Mickey Gillie  Robin Roberts  Louis Lipps
 Willie Morris
 Conway Twitty
 Muddy Waters
 Shepard Smith  Peyton Manning
 
 Denise LaSalle
 Paul Overstreet
 Tavis Smiley  Red Barber  
 Dorothy Moore
 Pete Fountain
 Vivica A. Fox  Sammy Winder
 
 Edgar Winter
 Pinetop Perkins     Steve McNair
 
 Elvis Presley
 Robert Johnson
   Walter Payton
 
 Faith Hill
 Rufus Thomas
     
 Howlin Wolf
 Sam Cooke
     
 Ike Turner
 Son House
     
 James Cotton
 Sonny Boy Williams
     
 Jerry Lee Lewis
 Tammy Wynette
     
 Jimmie Rodgers
 WC Handy
     
 
 Willie Dixon      

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