Local markets at full speed after Katrina

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 19, 2005


The Daily News

LAPLACE — Hurricane Katrina has changed the River Parish and metro/New Orleans in ways that may not be fully understood for decades, but right now, things along the river seem to be moving back to a sense of normalcy.

With power, water and other services restored, the large chain grocery stores of the area, Winn-Dixie and Wal-Mart are running back at full capacity for the most part.

The Wal-Mart Supercenter on Airline Highway in is jam-packed with customers, leading to long lines at the registers and in the parking lots, as consumers search for the closest possible parking space.

Most of the traffic is centered in the grocery section, which is near-fully stocked, save the occasional gap in a shelf. Dairy products, especially cheese, appear to be the thinnest areas. While there are goods available, the supply seems to be slightly short of the usual number.

Frozen foods and refrigerated goods in general are the ones with less-than-full numbers, likely a product of the area’s increased demand and the loss of power that occurred during Katrina.

Across Belle Terre Blvd., LaPlace’s Winn-Dixie branch seems to be in a similar boat, with shelves full for the most part, though with perhaps less than the usual quantity. Cheese, especially in the store’s deli section, is in scarce supply, but overall the store is missing little. Again, most of the shelf-gaps appear to be in frozen and refrigerated sections.

While the store’s registers do have healthy lines, they are not nearly as long as Wal-Mart’s. The store has, however, changed to abbreviated 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. hours, and has closed its check cashing service for the time being.

Both stores had aisles occupied by employees unloading boxes and re-supplying shelves.

Over at the New Sarpy Winn-Dixie, in the shopping center on the corner of Airline and Ormond Blvd., the crowd is slightly larger than the LaPlace branch and a “help wanted” sign hangs near the door.

Inside, dry goods are in full supply, with minor shelf spaces in the refrigerated and frozen food areas. Again, cheese and other dairy products are in short supply, though workers were unloading boxes to refurbish the shelves.

The produce section also had some scarcity, specifically in the shelves that usually hold bagged lettuce and other salad