Starting with Paragon Casino Resort alone, you have eight choices for dining: the golf course restaurant at Tamahka Trails, a 50's style diner called Roxy's, a Cajun bistro called Marceline's, an oyster bar called Big Daddy E's, an upscale steakhouse called Legends, the Marketplace Buffet, and a snack bar, plus a full Burger King franchise located across the Paragon parking lot. Off-site, there are fast-food franchise restaurants like Popeye's, McDonald's, Subway, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Local fast-food includes Marty's Drive-In and Royal Cajun Fried Chicken. For sit-down dining try Red River Grill and a pleasant family restaurant called Nanny's. There's also a breakfast place called The Rice Pot Cafe. Downtown, there's a nice gift shop called Treasures of Faith which offers a tasty assortment of coffee and super-rich desserts like chocolate turtle cheesecake.
Paragon Casino Resort has a concert hall called the Mari Center where a surprisingly wide array of musical acts come to perform. Yes, you get the typical Vegas acts like Engelbert Humperdinck, but also rock artists such as Joan Jett, .38 Special and the Beach Boys, plus country favorites like Charley Pride, Loretta Lynn, George Jones and more. It's worth checking the casino's Web site to see who's coming next.
Casino guests are regularly bused into Marksville on a 24-hour basis from a wide array of destinations. It's not uncommon to see large groups of Mexican nationals from such locations as Monterrey or Nuevo Laredo arriving on charters in the middle of the night. Many buses also come from various cities in Texas. Within Louisiana, there are buses from surrounding cities such as Lafayette, Opelousas, and New Orleans. From Alexandria, service is frequent enough that you'll see the same customers riding the casino bus several times a week via the Star Travel and Gator Express lines.
They're building a 24-hour SuperCenter to replace the existing Wal-Mart in Marksville, and a couple of supermarkets and chain drug stores, but don't look for serious shopping otherwise. There's a gift shop at Paragon Casino Resort and religious gifts in downtown Marksville at Treasures of Faith. If you want to do mall-type shopping, you can easily drive northwest to Alexandria and find everything you need there.
There's a custom in Louisiana that I've never seen anywhere else -- the drive-through daiquiri bar! Coming from the North, I have never encountered anything like the freedom of public alcohol consumption in Louisiana. You could never get away with this in Massachusetts or New Jersey, let me tell you, but here it appears to be legal. In Marksville, there is a bar called Daiquiri Island where you pull up to the window and give the bartender your order just like a fast-food restaurant. The daiquiries come in plenty of different flavors, so you have a lot to choose from. The bartender hands you a frozen drink in a styrofoam cup with a straw and away you go. You've absolutely got to try it to believe it!
When planning family travel, please keep in mind that children are NOT allowed on the casino floor. There is, however, an excellent babysitting facility at Paragon called KidsQuest for younger children. There's also a separate arcade for older children. The cost for KidsQuest is an hourly rate plus a surcharge if the children eat snacks while you're gone.
Please don't do anything illegal while on the grounds at Paragon Casino Resort. The casino has extremely tight security and everything is under constant scrutiny and surveillance. The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana has its own separate police force and court system. If you get into trouble on their property, tribal law will prevail.
144 Reviews and Opinions
Some people just don't like casinos, plain and simple, and won't set foot in them. They might have a moral objection to gambling or they can't deal with the loud noise and hectic activity going on around the clock. Meanwhile, some people shouldn't ever go to casinos because they don't know when to stop betting or dropping money down the slot machines. In short, if you can't afford to lose, don't bet in the first place.
Unique Suggestions: If you're with someone who absolutely loves to gamble and you don't, there are indeed other things to do at Paragon Casino Resort. There's a wonderful golf course, live entertainment, an arcade center, plenty of restaurants, and a diverse assortment of lodging.
Fun Alternatives: If you don't want to be near the casino action, ask the hotel reservations agent to put you in a cabin or chalet at the opposite end of the property. You won't be completely isolated because there is always shuttle service to the main building. The freestanding chalets have little porches and you could even barbecue or entertain company on them!
Favorite thing: Marksville has a lot to offer besides the casino. You can learn about the history of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe, play on a wonderful golf course at Tamahka Trails, visit a wildlife preserve, check out a museum about the original French settlers, and find plenty of good places to eat. It's definitely worth a visit!