THE GREATER NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA AREA–With Marko and Laura moving in closer to the Louisiana coastline New Orleans took to the streets to fill up with the essentials in preparation.
Joseph Zuppardo is the owner of grocery store, Zuppardos and says, “If Katrina taught us anything, it’s was to prepare for the unexpected. I think people are starting to learn from that. People are coming here a little earlier than they usually shop. They are getting the water, the batteries and canned goods and of course the beer and wine because of course what’s a hurricane without a Hurricane party.”
Tyra Daniels was shopping in a grocery store when we caught up with her. For her it’s business as usual. On a weekly basis, she shops for her Aunt, who stays at home because she is at high risk of COVID-19. Daniels says, “I got the essential, perishables, her water, a little bit of the breads and things that won’t spoil. I also have snack foods to get us through. Hopefully we won’t loose any power so her meats won’t spoil. I’ve recently moved back to New Orleans so it’s been 25 years since I’ve had to do something list. I’m kind of out of practice. I have my list of essential so I’m just checking it off and keeping it pushing. With COVID-19 and these two storms it’s just getting to be a bit too much right now.”
Many of the shoppers say it’s a chance to get out of the house in a socially distanced 2020, and momentarily focus on a different kind of misfortune. They hope the storm will be kinder than the year thus far.
Lisa Helm is a manager at grocery storm chain Langenstein’s and says “If there’s one thing we here in Louisiana know how to do is shop for a storm.”
It’s been a profitable and hectic year for some businesses. The stores have been working hard all year stocking up with coronavirus essentials, now they work overtime to make sure both PPE and Hurricane supplies are available for customers.
Jeff Warren is a manager at Home Depot in Hammond, Louisiana and says, “We get a lot of shipment trucks coming in but thankfully we have a really good crew here so everybody stays all hands on deck so we can get it off the truck and into the aisles as quick as possible. Right now we have a hurricane checklist going on, so that way as customers come in, they can be fully stocked. It also contains a list of what you should have after the hurricane.”
The overall feeling for New Orleans is one of bitter nostalgia. It is the 15th year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation this week. In a year of so much change, for gulf coast residents, the one consistency seems to be in a hurricane shopping list.