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August 18, 2004

(Carencro, LA)-Acadiana native, Kevin Fontenot, has been influential in the conception and construction of Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino. Both an avid horseman and construction foreman, his career eventually allowed him to unite two of his strongest passions.

Below you will find a press release with further information on Kevin Fontenot. To view this press release via the Internet, simply click on the link below or copy and paste to your browser:

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


Julie Calzone
Calzone & Associates
Lafayette Atlanta New Orleans
337.235.2924 ext. 3
337.237.0556 (fax)

August 18, 2004

Acadiana-Bred Contractor Builds Something Close to Heart, Close to Home
Kevin Fontenot at the Forefront of Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino Construction

(Carencro, LA)-Acadiana native, Kevin Fontenot, has been influential in the conception and construction of Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino. Both an avid horseman and construction foreman, his career eventually allowed him to unite two of his strongest passions.

Fontenot first became interested in the horse industry as a youth, when he would accompany his father to the "bush tracks" throughout the Acadiana community. These visits include trips to Toomey Downs in Vinton, LA and Carencro Downs in Carencro, which would become Delta Downs and Evangeline Downs, respectively. At age 10, he worked at Lindsey Downs as both a gatekeeper and a bartender. According to Fontenot, he received wages in the form of bets on racing horses and was taken with the whole concept right away. It was his fondness for the animals, he says, that kept him going back for more.

"We loved the bush tracks and the fair-like atmosphere," said Fontenot. "Horses would run at alternating tracks every weekend just to give people a different place to venture out to." He describes his experiences as intriguing and claims that the sport grabbed hold of his attention and paved way for interesting things to come.

"Things have changed tremendously, though," Fontenot continued. "In the early racing days, no one kept official records. The lack of paperwork sometimes led to misrepresentations such as owners renaming horses after ones that had been put down, leading the public to believe that the horse was still up and running."

After graduating from St. Edmund's High School in Eunice, LA, Fontenot entered the University of Southwestern Louisiana. With no declared major, it is rather coincidental how Fontenot became interested in architecture.

"You just learn to expect the unexpected," he stated. "The administrator at USL suggested I get some idea of what career I wanted to pursue. So, I walked around campus, liked the look of Fletcher Hall, the art building, and it was then that I decided I wanted to be an architect."

Throughout his college career, Fontenot toyed with exploring other opportunities, such as engineering, and in his fifth year, he ultimately decided that he wanted to be involved in the construction of projects, rather than design, and eventually work hand-in-hand with management.

College, a career, and a family couldn't diminish Fontenot's love of horses, or racing, for that matter. He continued to hold a trainer's license and kept several horses behind what is now Lowe's in Opelousas and recalls many occasions in which his daughter accompanied him to the tracks.

In his final year in college, two of Fontenot's favorite pastimes were linked when, as part of the requirement for graduation, he designed a mock racetrack. This educational experience would set the stage for his latest and greatest endeavor, the Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino in Opelousas.

According to Fontenot, the Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino project essentially "fell in his lap." "Everything simply came together and it just worked out," he added. "I have enjoyed every minute of being so close to the construction of something that is so dear to me."

The initial plans for Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino were conceived approximately three years prior to the Casino portion opening December 19, 2003. Although the actual construction of the Casino took only nine months - from bidding to contracting to construction to opening - making sure everything was up to par was often rigorous.

Fontenot, along with KGA Architects and Yates Construction, worked intimately to guarantee success on the design, construction and fundraising phases of the Racino. Ultimately, Fontenot was responsible for ensuring that everything was as close to perfection as possible the night the doors to the casino were open to the public.

"I guess I had a small part in almost every aspect of the project," continued Fontenot. "I was involved with securing the land where the Racino is now located, introducing Peninsula Gaming, LLC to the horse industry in the area, even coordinating and facilitating orders for food and cocktail waitress uniforms. There were many tedious and challenging tasks, but I loved every minute of it."

"From a construction standpoint, I wouldn't rate the Racino as a difficult project," commented Fontenot. "Other than systems, our main concern throughout the undertaking was the time frame that we were working towards. As a result, crew was on hand constantly to make sure we'd meet deadlines. Some even spent the night so as to waste as little time as possible."

The Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino is built on a "real world" coordinate grid system. The "real world" grid system arranges everything according to precise latitude and longitude measurements, making it easier to locate a problem at the source and quickly resolve it. As using a Global Positioning System (GPS) is not yet the standard for building structures of this kind, Fontenot was eager to become engrossed in the operation.

"Being a part of a project of this magnitude is something that most people could only dream of," he said. "I believe that the horse industry will return to what it once was and Acadiana will soon have an incredible facility to watch the sport steadily gain popularity with a new generation. Knowing that you played a significant role in making that happen is rewarding beyond words."

As a horse owner, Fontenot believes having a facility of this nature will benefit everyone belonging to the racing community. He currently owns 19 horses and comments that "Trying to figure out each horse's personality is what I love most about raising these animals. I enjoy the challenge of keeping them 'together' both mentally and physically. Over the years, you become familiar with their actions and mannerisms. But, like people, all horses are different; everyday is a new challenge-both on the construction site and at the farm-and I welcome every minute of it."

Fontenot, father of three and grandfather to one, is married to Pat Fontenot and they are residents of Carencro. He has also been involved with projects that include River Ranch, cleanup on Cutler Ridge following Hurricane Andrew, and construction ventures in both Atlanta and New Orleans.

About Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino
Peninsula Gaming Company, LLC, the parent company of Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino in Opelousas, LA, owns Evangeline Downs Racetrack in Carencro, LA. The "Racino" development is the first new facility of its kind in the United States to be built from the ground up and was completed ahead of schedule. The Casino opened December 19, 2003. The racing operation is expected to move to a totally new facility next to the Casino and begin racing by April 2005. Evangeline Downs opened for its final live racing at its current Carencro location in 2004 on April 1 and will race a 92-day thoroughbred meet through Labor Day, September 6, 2004. Racing will be held on a Thursday through Saturday format and also Mondays with a post time of 6:45 p.m. A Quarter Horse race meet returns to the track on September 16 through October 31 (including a special quarter horse date on Sunday, August 22) with racing on a Thursday through Sunday schedule. Post time for all quarter horse evenings will be at 6:45 p.m.

Contact: Julie Calzone, CEO/Calzone & Associates
337.235.2924 ext. 3,

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