Tunica-Biloxi Tribe Holds Rural Economic Development & Small Business Summit in Louisiana

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe’s strong leadership and entrepreneurial spirit yielded the first land-based casino in the state of Louisiana. The Tribe soon became the largest employer in Avoyelles Parish. Now theTribe that built and still operates Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville, Louisiana, is hosting the first Louisiana Rural Economic Development Summit, along with Southern University Law Center, at its resort, to empower more rural economic development and entrepreneurship. (Photo Courtesy Tunica-Biloxi Tribe)

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe is helping to promote economic development and build the next generation entrepreneurial ecosystem in Louisiana by creating greater opportunity for rural communities and small business owners to bridge strategic partnerships with Tribal, local, state and national leaders. 

Today marks the final day of the Louisiana Rural Economic Development Summit, or “LA LaRuE” for short, hosted at the Tribe’s Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville. Taking place July 7-9, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe initiated partnerships with the Southern University Law Center (SULC) and the EDA University Center for Economic Development at Southern University to co-host the event. 

Topics of focus include workforce development, financial services, healthcare, agriculture, entrepreneurship and more. 

“We want to improve the quality of life in rural areas by helping future generations develop an entrepreneurial spirit while providing them with the tools and the resources to be successful,” Tribal Chairman Marshall Pierite said. 

A key intention for LA LaRuE is to develop a stronger foundation of communication between small business owners and elected officials. Governor Edwards is speaking this Tuesday morning. On Monday, Congressman Ralph Abraham delivered a keynote speech. 

“You plant the seed and then the tree grows,” Congressman Abraham said. “This is what this is about. They are going to see the positive impact that this has, not only locally, not only regionally, but statewide. People are going to want to be involved in it over and over,” he said of the recurring summit. 

Tribal member Jeremy Zahn explained to KALB.com how the networking and educational event drives opportunity for entrepreneurs through linking small business owners with other business and governmental representatives. “We believe that by partnering with small businesses and the local corporations that it benefits not only the Tribe, but the local people. It brings jobs to the communities, brings income, makes people live better, meaningful more productive lives,” Zahn said.