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June 15, 2014

After Nine Years, Walmart Reopens in New Orleans East

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

The Crescent City recently celebrated another milestone in its rebirth, with the opening of New Orleans East Walmart on the former site of the Katrina-ravaged Lakeland Medical Center.  The newly opened Supercenter at 6000 Bullard Ave. marks the return of the big-box retailer to Eastern New Orleans after nine years of absence, brought on by the 2005 destruction of the previous Eastern New Orleans store at 6901 Bundy Road.

According to nolaeast.com, at 177,000 square feet, the newly opened retail center features one of the largest store sizes in the Walmart construction program. It sells groceries and general merchandise and also features a pharmacy. The new store has created more than 400 full- and part-time jobs, 300 of which are new employment while the rest are transfers from other stores. Twenty-five of the New Orleans East Walmart associates were among the employees of the destroyed Bundy Road facility. Around 65 percent of the new jobs will be filled by New Orleans East residents, Mayor Mitch Landrieu declared at the store’s grand opening.

“The opening of this new Walmart not only gives the residents of District E the convenience of shopping nearby, it allows the city of New Orleans to capture sales taxes on the millions that will be spent here every year — tax money that can be used to replace street lights and pave roads,” said District E Councilmember James Gray II. He added that the retail giant acts “as a magnet for development,” with numerous businesses already expressing interest in opening in the surrounding area.

“The New Orleans East Walmart is yet another example of the retail boom we’re experiencing all across the city of New Orleans,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu commented, adding that “this is another step in rebuilding our city and restoring quality services in our neighborhoods.”

Even before purchasing the Bullard Road site, Walmart had promised to rebuild in New Orleans East, which was alarmingly underserved retail-wise. As previously reported, New Orleans East, home to around 70,000 residents — almost one-fifth of the city’s population — had remained without a retail center after Hurricane Katrina.

Walmart is also developing a new store in Gentilly, set to open later this year on the former site of the Gentilly Woods Shopping Center. Including the newly opened store, Walmart operates 18 locations in the greater New Orleans area.

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Image courtesy of Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Walmart Supercenter New Orleans via Facebook 

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