NEW ORLEANS– Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Walmart and other dignitaries broke ground on a new store in the former Gentilly Woods Shopping Mall site at 4301 Chef Menteur Highway. Once completed, the new store will provide jobs and access to fresh food to the Gentilly community. The state-of-the-art store is expected to open in fall 2014.
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by representatives of Walmart, Mayor Landrieu, representatives of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), State Senator J.P. Morrell, State Representative Jared Brossett, District D Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell and neighborhood leaders.
Watch Walmart Gentilly ground breaking
View photos from the ground breaking ceremony
“Every day we work to drive investment in neighborhoods across the city and keep our citizens’ tax dollars here,” said Mayor Landrieu. “Walmart’s new location in Gentilly is one more example of how national retailers are expanding in our city and bringing new jobs and services to the people of New Orleans and revitalizing our commercial corridors.”
“The community has been waiting to see this site fully developed. We welcome Walmart and look forward to their opening,” said District D Councilmember Hedge-Morrell. “This economic development is a huge step for Gentilly. The project will bring many new jobs, and allow us to spend our hard-earned money in our own community.”
“As the world’s largest grocer, Walmart has the opportunity to make a difference for American families by making the food we sell healthier and more affordable and we plan to do just that in Gentilly,” said John Mims, Walmart market manager. “We look forward to being a part of the Gentilly community and providing access to pharmaceutical products and fresh food at affordable costs.”
Walmart is making a multimillion dollar investment in Gentilly that will bring an estimated 300 jobs, offering eligible associates a comprehensive benefits package that includes health insurance coverage options, store-performance based bonus incentives, 401(k) matching contributions up to 6 percent and discounts on general merchandise and fresh fruits and vegetables.
“Chairman Jim Singleton and the NORA board and staff have worked tirelessly for the past several years with the community, Councilmember Hedge-Morrell’s office and most recently with the Mayor’s Office to redevelop the vacant Gentilly Woods Mall,” said Jeff Hebert, NORA's Executive Director. "Today we celebrate the transformation of this important retail center and its impact on the continued rebuilding of the Pontchartrain Park and Gentilly Woods neighborhoods."
“Both the DRU and the City of New Orleans knew in 2008 that this site was critical to the recovery of this neighborhood, which is why we invested in getting it back into commerce” said Pat Forbes, Executive Director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development, whose Disaster Recovery Unit provided Community Development Block Grant funds for recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita for the city to purchase the property. “This will be an economic boost to the community and provide much-needed local access to fresh food.
The Gentilly Woods site at 4301 Chef Menteur Highway has remained undeveloped since Hurricane Katrina. Soon residents in Gentilly and nearby neighborhoods will enjoy access to one-stop, low priced shopping with features such as a full line of fresh foods and a wide assortment of products and services, missing in the area since 2005.
“I’m pleased to welcome Walmart to the Gentilly area with open arms,” said Representative Brossett. “This project brings quality jobs to local residents and provides new tax revenue for the City. It’s wonderful to see retailers returning to the Gentilly area.”
“As an active member of the Gentilly community I want to express our appreciation to Walmart for publically acknowledging that the Gentilly area is a community worth investing in, said Pontilly Neighborhood Association President Victor Gordon. “The Gentilly area is open for business and we’re happy to have Walmart on board.”
Walmart currently employs more than 33,800 associates at over 100 retail locations in Louisiana. Additionally, through more than 800 Louisiana suppliers, Walmart supports nearly 27,500 jobs throughout the state of Louisiana. Walmart is also opening a new store in the New Orleans East area in mid-2014.