Choctaws launch Golden Moon

By Staff
VISION Chief Phillip Martin of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians shows off a map of the Pearl River Resort's future grounds, scheduled to be complete in 2002. Photo by Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
PEARL RIVER Despite an all-day drizzling rain, the turnout was huge Thursday at ground-breaking ceremonies for the $750 million Pearl River Resort Golden Moon Hotel and Casino.
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians' latest casino development is scheduled to be complete in 2002.
Choctaw officials welcomed an all-star cast of guests and media from all over the country at the Silver Star Resort and Casino, where many of the day's activities were held.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin was there to help "launch" the Golden Moon, an 840,000-square-foot casino that will house 572 rooms, 90,000 square feet of casino space, seven restaurants, several elaborate fountains and 8,000 square feet of convention space.
The moon sphere perched on top of the casino 310 feet above ground and 80 feet in diameter will house one of the restaurants, a bar and an observation deck. A skywalk will join the new casino to the Silver Star.
Guests also enjoyed a water and laser show put on by Emmy-winning producer Robert Miziker of Miziker Entertainment Group, producers of Walt Disney World and Super Bowl half-time shows.
The Golden Moon's designers are employed by Arquitectonica, and Martin said they are internationally known for innovative designs.
The firm's principal partner, Bernardo Fort-Brescia, said Central Mississippi gives designers "an open landscape to work with, almost like painting on a blank canvas." The Golden Moon is designed to be visible for miles.
The $750 million Pearl River Resort will also have a 280-acre lake for boating, fishing and skiing and a "Star Car Auto-torium," which will be a permanent exhibit of more than 30 famous Hollywood cars like the 1949 Mercury driven by James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause" and the 1960s Mini-Cooper from "The Pink Panther."
An exposition and cultural museum featuring genuine artifacts tracing the history of the Choctaw Indian tribe opened Thursday, as did the Pearl River Town Center which includes a Piggly Wiggly, Dollar General, ACE Hardware, the Citizens Bank of Philadelphia, Fluff and Fold Laundromat, Big-G-Deli, Choctaw Revolving Credit, Exxon, a U.S. Post Office and several other businesses.
The resort will also include a new laser water show by Miziker Entertainment called "Star-tacular" and a seven-acre water park with slides and tube shoots, fairgrounds, a university-style fitness and wellness center, a 10,000-seat amphitheater and sports complex and a 200-room lakefront hotel.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at