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A Day Fit for a Queen at Buffington Harbor

Gary, Ind., March 11 – March 3, 2004, was proclaimed "Koko Taylor Day" by Mayor Scott King, City of Gary. An emotional Taylor said, "I am almost without words; I can’t thank you all enough for the love and the support given to me. A month ago I did not think I would be here to accept this honor, this latest setback on my health had me on life support at Northwestern Hospital, but I am here. I have won Grammy awards, but this proclamation has just made my day."

The celebration took place at the Buffington Harbor Koko Taylor Blues Café. Some of the friends and family that paid tribute to Taylor were: legendary blues guitarist Lonnie Brooks and his talented guitarist son, Ronnie Baker Brooks, musician John Castro, harmonica player Billy Branch, Artie "Blues Boy" White, Dennis Edwards, former lead singer of the Temptations, Marie Dixon, widow of blues great Willie Dixon, Taylor’s husband, Hays Harris, and Taylor’s daughter, Joyce Taylor Threatt.

Throughout her almost 40-year career beginning with the ever-popular "Wang Dang Doodle," Taylor has earned virtually every award offered by the blues community. Many of these awards are adorned on the walls of the café. She won 19 W.C. Handy Awards, which is more than any other female blues artist. She’s received Grammy nominations for six of her last albums and won a Grammy in 1984.

Along with awards on her illustrious wall of fame in the Koko Taylor Blues Café at Buffington Harbor, visitors can see photos of Taylor with other musical legends such as Ray Charles, Cher, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Keith Richards and more. Visitors to the café can also taste delicious Southern cuisine including "Sweet Home Chicago" and Memphis Style ribs, beef filet including the "Koko Queen Cut" and the "B.B.’s King Cut," Southern fried or blackened catfish, crab cakes, gumbo, lobster and much more. The menu boasts recipes from Taylor’s private collection. An assortment of champagnes and wines are also offered. To make reservations call (219) 977-7539. The hours are Sunday, 5-10 p.m.; Wednesday, 5-10 p.m.; Thursday, 5-10 p.m.; Friday, 5-11 p.m. and Saturday, 5-11 p.m. The café is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Buffington Harbor is a $100 million facility encompassing 121 acres and is jointly owned by Majestic Star and Trump Indiana. Buffington Harbor facilities include a 2,000 space parking garage as well as a 90,000 square foot pavilion which houses multiple restaurants, lounges and a gift shop. Majestic Star Casino’s Vessel II was placed into service in late 1997 and is a state-of-the-art riverboat casino.

Majestic Star Casinos is 100% owned and operated by Don H. Barden, the only African American to own and operate a national casino entertainment company. Majestic Star Casino operates from Buffington Harbor in Gary, Indiana. Majestic Investor Holdings, LLC through its subsidiaries also acquired three Fitzgeralds casinos in Tunica, MS, Black Hawk, CO and Las Vegas, NV. Majestic Star Casino is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is located conveniently off Cline Avenue at Buffington Harbor in Gary, just 25 minutes from Chicago. Parking and admission are always free.

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