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BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- In the latest example of post-Katrina progress, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. here is re-opening two supercenters in New Orleans just seven months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.
Associates and members of the community were on hand yesterday for a ceremony at the Wal-Mart store located at in the New Orleans warehouse district, which re-opened its doors March 22. The supercenter at in Harvey on the west bank of the Mississippi River will re-open March 31.
"After Katrina, Wal-Mart, like so many area businesses, faced numerous challenges before we could return to New Orleans," said Wal-Mart market manager Janie McNeill in a statement. "Once we were confident we could provide our customers with the level of service and merchandise they expect from their Wal-Mart, we opened our doors. We are excited to begin serving this community once again."
Originally opened in August 2004, the supercenter had just celebrated its one-year anniversary when Hurricane Katrina struck and the store was closed. Wal-Mart re-opened to customers March 22 as an 80,000-square-foot "store within a store" with temporary walls defining the shopping area.
Based on fulfilling immediate community needs, the store currently offers a full line of groceries, as well as a bakery, a delicatessen, a frozen food section, and meat, dairy, and fresh produce sections. General merchandise departments offer an assortment of key products, including home furnishings, storage, and small appliances.
A full selection of health and beauty aids is also available.
"We are rebuilding our store as this community rebuilds," said Terry Hebert, store manager of the warehouse district Wal-Mart. "We look forward to the day when our store can return to its pre-Katrina size and hours, reflecting the full recovery of our community."
The Harvey Wal-Mart, which was originally opened in 1986, will re-open March 31 to its original size as a 221,800-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter. It will feature a full line of groceries, as well as a bakery, a delicatessen, a frozen food section, and meat, dairy, and fresh produce sections.
As a part of the re-openings, the stores will provide a total of $130,000 in grants to the local community. Two $50,000 grants -- one to Dryades YMCA of New Orleans and the other to Jefferson Council on Aging -- will be presented on behalf of Wal-Mart customers, provided from the pool of dollars raised at Wal-Mart stores across the U.S. in the weeks following Katrina.