More Groceries Expected To Rise In New Orleans East

More Groceries Expected To Rise In New Orleans East
November 25, 2009

NEW ORLEANS -- It's been two years since the Winn Dixie opened on Chef Menteur highway in New Orleans East and in that time not a single major grocery chain has followed suit. On Wednesday, officials said that by next holiday season, another grocery store should be in place.

Winn-Dixie really has the corner on the market in this part of the city. Business is booming, especially on Thanksgiving eve, as people prep their meals for tomorrow.

"We're having gumbo, ham, stuffed bell peppers, baked macaroni, potato salad, peas, corn, sweet potato pie," said Leona Beattie as she stood patiently in line.

Thanksgiving shoppers were gobbling up the deals at the Winn Dixie on Chef Menteur highway. Bridgett Wilson shops here regularly, even though the store is so busy, checkout lines extend into the aisles. It's convenient, she said.

"I stay right around the corner, so this is walking distance," said Wilson.

But most of the folks who live in the east want more choices.

"New Orleans East is almost the equivalent to a small city. It's come back to the point where there is enough reason to justify a store, they're just not doing it," said Gilbert Casimire.

Casimire has personally written Walmart pleading for a store there.

"It's a lot of talk, no action," he said.

There are signs that there may soon be some action. Rouse's president told WDSU Wednesday, "We have a signed letter of intent for a store in New Orleans East. We cannot release the location yet, but hope to break ground within three months."

State Rep. Austin Badon has been talking with several grocery chains about building a store in the East.

"Our money is spent just as well as everybody else. So we want to have the services here. This major grocery store/retailer – I've been working with him now for seven months and it's paying off," said Badon.

Badon said Rouse's has looked at two possible sites at the old Schwegmann plaza. No matter where a new supermarket is located, Bridgett Wilson said she hopes it brings people back home.

"It should, I'm hoping and praying that it do," said Wilson.

Rouses' also plans to open another store in Orleans Parish this year and Lafayette.

Sources also said that Walmart has plans to come to New Orleans East. One potential site is the Lake Forest Plaza near Lowes. There is no word on where or when the store will break ground. Several other grocery stores are also coming to areas hit hard by Katrina. Walmart plans to open a store in Chalmette in 2010 and Robert's Fresh Market plans to build a store on Harrison in Lakeview.
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