Nightly News   |  July 11, 2010

Buffett draws big crowd to Ala. coast

Many of the people on Gulf Coast beaches seem to be workers cleaning up the oil, or officials inspecting the damage, but as NBC’s Michelle Franzen reports, thanks to Jimmy Buffett, that will finally change.

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LESTER HOLT, anchor: Most of the people on the Gulf Coast beaches this summer seem to be workers cleaning up the oil, or officials inspecting the damage from the leak. Not tonight, though. NBC 's Michelle Franzen joins us from Gulf Shores , Alabama ,

to explain why. Michelle: Well, Lester , this is a scene the Gulf Shores has not seen in more than two

MICHELLE FRANZEN reporting: thousands of people filling the sugar sand beaches here in Alabama , all to see Jimmy Buffett and friends play a free benefit concert here tonight. Of course, 35,000 free tickets in all distributed, a third to hotels and rentals in the area, all to attract tourists and also help boost the local economy hurt by oil-tainted beaches of this last month. Of course, Buffett likely the biggest draw, but more free events planned in the coming months, Lester , to let everyone know the Gulf Coast is still open for business.

months: Nice to see that community getting a much-needed shot in the arm today. Michelle Franzen in Gulf Shores , thank you

HOLT: