New Orleans area prepares for Hurricane Marco and tropical storm Laura


THE GREATER NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA AREA — With Marco 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.

“If Katrina taught us anything, it’s was to prepare for the unexpected,” Zuppardo said. “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.

“I got the essential perishables, her water, a little bit of the breads and things that won’t spoil,” Daniels said. “I also have snack foods to get us through. Hopefully we won’t lose any power so her meats won’t spoil.

“I’ve recently moved back to New Orleans, so it’s been 25 years. I’m kind of out of practice. I have my list of essentials, 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.

“If there’s one thing we here in Louisiana know how to do, it’s shop for a storm,” Helm said.

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 personal protective equipment and hurricane supplies are available for customers.

A manager at the Home Depot in Hammond said the home improvement store locations have scrambled to ensure supplies remain in-stock for consumers as the storms near the coast.

“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,” said manager Jeff Warren. “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 a hurricane shopping list.

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