New Orleans East Wal-Mart Brings Hope

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The new Wal-Mart Supercenter in New Orleans East opened Wednesday to much fanfare.

As WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter reports, neighbors are excited about job opportunities and the hope for new retail in the area.

Things moved like clock-work during the Grand Opening of Wal-Mart in New Orleans East.

“It’s been non-stop,” Store Manager Michael Nowell said. “It’s a lot of support from our community, been going through the store talking with our customers. “Just very very thankful that we’re open and just as thankful that we’re here.”

Trotter asked shopper Olivette Temple, “How excited are you? I’m so excited it makes no sense,” she replied.

Temple just moved from the North Shore.

She says the impact the Bullard Avenue Supercenter is expected to have on the community was a major factor in her decision to move back to the East.

She’s pleased with the layout of the new store.

“Oh my god, beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Fresh and new; I’m excited.”

Calvin Baker lives two blocks away.

Until now he’d been driving to Jefferson Parish to make groceries.

“I’m not going to Metairie no more spending $10 on gas to go over there and back to their Wal-Mart,” Baker said.

The new store has created 300-jobs. A spokesperson said the majority of workers live in New Orleans East.

The new location provides neighbors better access to fresh food, and promises to breathe new life into retail space that’s been shuttered Hurricane Katrina.

“When Wal-Mart comes in, everybody else moves in,” Temple said.

Temple would like to see more restaurants, like those available on the North Shore.

“Anywhere I wanted to eat I could, and so I’d like to see that here,” Temple explained. “Not just fast foods, but fine dining.”

There’s no question, the Wal-Mart Supercenter is the start of great things to come.

Baker says more retail in the area is a win-win for all.

“So things like this, we got to keep them coming in,” Baker said. “Right off the interstate here; it’s convenient for a lot of people. “So I just think it’s great. “We’re keeping money in our pocket, keeping it in this area now.”

Construction is well underway for the new Wal-Mart in Gentilly.

That smaller store is set to open late summer; and it’s expected to have the same kind of economic impact.