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Harrah's reopens New Orleans casino
Gaming operator says the Gulf Coast property will employ about 1,250 workers.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Harrah's Entertainment reopened its New Orleans casino Thursday as the city swings into Mardi Gras season.

The casino will employ about 1,250 workers, the company said in a statement, about half the number of employees who worked there before Hurricane Katrina hit last summer.

Harrah's Entertainment (Research), which owns and operates more than 40 casinos, was dealt a blow when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita slammed the Gulf Coast late last August, damaging its properties there.

The company said New Orleans and the Gulf Coast remain an important focus for its future. "Our plans for investment in New Orleans haven't skipped a beat," CEO Gary Loveman said in the statement.

The gaming operator's investments in New Orleans include a 450-room hotel, conference center and restaurant, a $150 million project that is expected to open in September.

Mardi Gras falls on Feb. 28 this year. Parades and celebrations begin this weekend.

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