Jun 5, 2010 10:06 PM by Chris Welty
PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - The timing might be a bit off for
tourists hoping to waste away in Margaritaville. But that doesn't
bother Jimmy Buffett.
The singer - whose tunes are as much a part of life in this
beach town as fried grouper sandwiches, Land Shark beer and the
U.S. Navy's Blue Angels - is planning to open a 162-room
Margaritaville Hotel in a week.
As tar balls came ashore Saturday from an oil plume shooting out
of the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, Buffett said he had no plans to
delay the opening.
"This will pass," he said as walked along the city's
beachfront and fishing pier with Fla. Gov. Charlie Crist.
Curious beachgoers mobbed the duo in a frenzy rarely seen on the
normally laid-back beach, snapping cell phone pictures and laughing
as Crist and Buffett spent about an hour doing interviews and
Buffett told fans he often went to Pensacola Beach while growing
up nearby in Alabama. He said his favorite memories are of sunsets
in the fall. He joked that he also enjoys the sunrises - but
usually sleeps through them.
Buffet said the community will get through the crisis by pulling
together. He wants people in the area to know that he's there for
them as the oil encroaches on their leisure and livelihoods.
If Buffett's good for anything, it's "helping people forget
their troubles for a couple of hours," the "Cheeseburger in
Paradise" singer said.
Buffett's $50 million hotel sits on the Gulf near the main
section of Pensacola Beach. Hundreds of applicants lined up outside
this week for a job fair even as television trucks filled a nearby
parking lot to report on the oil slick's arrival.
The hotel sits on land where Hurricane Ivan destroyed a previous
hotel in 2004.