Month: September 2010


Hello Everyone!  As I write to you all, the rain has been pouring down for days, with no relief in sight. Happily, the oppressive temperatures are starting to come down, and football season is about to begin…Life Is Good!
In this issue of GTP we examine what makes our Coast Casino industry tick. Meet Brad Rhines, Vice President of Marketing and Gaming for the IP.  We also visit with the extremely talented, in house horticulturist for the Beau Rivage, and learn about her very unique job. The Isle Casino Hotel Biloxi just celebrated their 18th Anniversary!  Find out how it all began in our September Cover story.
Biloxi icon, The Upstairs Downstairs is celebrating as well – 33 years in business in South Mississippi! Read all about the rich and wonderful history of this Coast treasure. And Taste Buds will introduce you to Lil Italy in D’Iberville, where you can dash in and dash out for authentic, home made Italian fare.
All this…and so much more
Nancy Marchbanks
Executive Editor

This Month in History Sept

September 1
World War II Begins
In 1939, World War II began when Germany invaded Poland. In May of that year, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini had signed the”Pact of Steel,” promising mutual aid in case of war. In August, Hitler reached an agreement with Russia that contained an agreement to divide Poland. This Nazi-Soviet pact was Hitler’s green light for the invasion of Poland, which occurred at dawn on September 1. Two days later, Britain and France declared war on Germany. (more…)

Simple Fitness Tips

By: Dawn Mattina

Today, people are so busy and our lives are at a fevered pitch most of the time. You wonder,  how could it be possible to schedule regular exercise and fitness into an already overwhelming schedule? Fitness, like anything else, is about strategy and logistics. It is also a state of mind. When the mind and body are well cared for, they work in unison and productivity is at its best. Here are some great fitness tips that will help you stay on course with a regular exercise plan. You will feel better, have more energy, and always be at the top of your game.Set GoalsGoals provide direction and motivation. (more…)

Upstairs Down Stairs, 33 Years and Still Going Strong


Picture yourself living on “The Point” in Biloxi in 1977. Elvis is still the king and casinos didn’t exist in this quiet little southern fishing town. When the work day was done, and the sun seemed to sink into Gulf; everyone searched for excitement and yearned to hear the sounds of a live band playing in the night.  The Mattina brothers were paying close attention and decided to open a new club…actually two clubs in one!  The Downstairs came to be in September of 1977, and on New Years eve, The Upstairs opened it’s doors for business as well. Downtown Biloxi would never be the same. Glenn Mattina, Sr. and his brother Nick, worked hard to make their dream of a really high-class nightclub come into being. The building they chose was already rife with history from 1909 on. The concept was to have 2 clubs in one. The Upstairs opened with ‘Biloxi Packing Company’ taking the stage with Dave Duddley at the helm. Locals and military flocked onto the dance floor and the ‘joint was jumpin’ until the wee hours of the morning. Every week there was a new band slated to play. (more…)

The Importance of Estate Planning

By: Dawn Mattina

No one likes to think about it, but at some point, death will come to us all. When we pass away, we will undoubtedly leave family and loved ones behind. It is extremely important to have some sort of estate planning in place well in advance, and before the people you care about most, are in need of it.  Regardless of your net worth – whether it is a few hundred dollars or in the  millions – you need an estate plan to make sure your loved ones are taken care of and protected in the event of your death. (more…)


By: Nancy Marchbanks

This wonderful event has happened here on the Coast, four times before. The first home was given away in early 2000, and the last house was presented in June of 2005. Due to the after math of hurricane Katrina,  the representatives of St. Jude were forced to wait to continue until the area had healed, and the right partners could be found to make it all come together. The first folks to step up to the plate were the Developers of Tradition in Gulfport. They very generously donated a lot where the house would be built. The fine people at Westin Homes also wanted to be a part of the new St. Jude Dream House Giveaway, and offered to build the house.  The two companies were a match made in heaven, and everything fell perfectly into place. (more…)

Isle Casino Hotel – Biloxi

By: Nancy Marchbanks

On August 1st, the Isle Casino Hotel Biloxi celebrated a very special milestone. They had succeeded in business for 18 years on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Isle was founded by Mr. Bernard Goldstein. He is known as the Father of Riverboat Gaming. It all began with the launch of the first casino riverboat in 1991, in Iowa. During the late 1980’s, America was in economic turmoil…not unlike what we are experiencing today. River towns were struggling because industry was leaving, which caused people to lose jobs at an alarming rate. The state of Iowa was working diligently to find a way to utilize riverfront property which would prove to be the catalyst for riverfront gaming. When Iowa passed legislation to allow riverfront gaming, soon several other states wanted a piece of the very lucrative pie…Mississippi was one of the first. (more…)

The Gardens of Beau Rivage

By: Melody Worsham
Twelve years ago, Teresa Malone had just finished her degree in Horticulture and was ready to start a new life. After 20 years of service in the Air Force, Teresa was returning to something she has loved since childhood when her mother won blue ribbons for her fuchsias and roses. Born and raised in San Diego, Teresa was brought here by the military, but what kept her here was the opportunity to be the first Horticulturist hired by a casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Teresa is, and always has been, the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino’s own Horticulturist. It is her full time job to keep the Resort fresh and full of beauty and color. Teresa and her team of ten gardeners, four floral designers, and her two managers, James Pendergrass and Jessica Hall, keep fresh flowers and lush green plants displayed in the long halls of the main corridor, in the hotel suites and around the spa, which Teresa called a “tropical oasis.” An indoor atrium is home for a miniature forest of fichus, Australian tree ferns, Rex Begonias and white celosia. The outdoor perimeters of the resort are adorned with oaks and perfectly trimmed shrubs. (more…)


Brad Rhines is the consummate professional. He came from the beautiful city of Sacramento, California but is now firmly ensconced in the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He began his career as a Financial Analyst at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  He went to work at the Bellagio immediately upon graduating from University of Nevada/Las Vegas in 1998, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with concentrations in Financial Services and Financial Management. When an opportunity in Marketing opened later with Station Casinos, Rhines took over as Database Manager and Player Development Manager at the Texas Station property. “It is where I learned the soup to nuts of Marketing in this business, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made,” Rhines said. Within a year and a half, he became the Director of Marketing. (more…)

Wearing White After Labor Day & Other Fashion Advice

In the past, fashion experts warned against wearing white after Labor Day. Today, winter white and other off-white shades are extremely popular as fall and winter fashion staples. Not wearing white after Labor Day no longer applies, in fact there are no fashion rules anymore! Just for fun, this is the list of the top ten fashion myths.
Myth 1 – You can’t wear sandals after Labor Day. Reality: You can wear sandals fashionably any time of year, as long as the weather is appropriate for them.
Myth 2 – You should wear suede shoes in the fall and winter. Reality: Yes, suede shoes are very attractive with Fall and Winter fashions, but wearing a fine light Nubuck shoe is great any time of year. (more…)

Lil’ Italy

Big things DO come in small packages! Lil’ Italy is the place to enjoy the very best in authentic Italian cooking. Located in the old ‘Catfish One’ shack, 2 blocks south of 1-10, Exit 50 on Washington Avenue. It certainly isn’t fancy, but you will not find better Italian food anywhere. 2 blocks south of I-10, exit 50 on Washington Avenue. This little place serves the most delicious express lunches, and also take out and special party menu items. “All the recipes have been in the family for generations and go back to Sicily over one hundred years,” said co-owner Tony Abbate. (more…)


When the Island Strikz and Village Sports Pub owners hired Mike Sealy as their new manager, they were anxious to make some big changes. When the former PBA athlete took over, the first thing he told the employees was that when a customer walks through that front door, they will be treated like a guest in your home.  Everyone who visits the bowling alley and the Sports Pub has noticed that the atmosphere is light and happy, and the employees are extremely friendly and accommodating.  Guests are greeted the minute they arrive, and everyone is guaranteed a grand ol time at Island Strikz. (more…)