Businesses returning to storm weary New Orleans


Posted on September 5, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 5 at 6:01 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Businesses are coming back on line across the metro area.

A handful are still on generator power, many are cash only for now, but for the most part the corner grocery and local gas stations are up and operating.

That's a welcome sign as people displaced by Hurricane Isaac return to their homes.

It took some businesses longer than others to make it back.

"No credit cards," said Gene Usner, manager of the Lakeview Harbor Restaurant in Lakeview. "We didn't have the internet. We just got that back this morning."

He said there were other challenges getting the restaurant ready for business.

"The biggest issue, we threw away all the food and had to sanitize the inside of the building," said Usner. "Then when we got back open, we had a limited menu. We have a lot of fresh prepared foods. We couldn't have them."

There was some criticism that gas stations were slow to return, and when they did, the price at the pump was through the roof. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said he'd like to see more businesses capable of running on generator power.

"Grocery stores and gas stations need to have back up power sources," said Landrieu. "It really is a matter of dollars and cents, but it's really good business and it helps the city get stood back up."

Local economic development leaders say going forward New Orleans will be be judged not only by how quickly the city evacuates, but also how quickly it comes back on line.

"Isaac pushed a surge that was within two feet of Katrina and we came through within the new levee system really extremely well, very dry," said Greater New Orleans President and CEO Michael Hecht. "I think it's about telling that story. Telling people that actually what was put in place to work, did work."

If your employer has not been able to return, you may be able to qualify for unemployment benefits.

For more information call the Louisiana Workforce Commission at 1-866-783-5567.