September 05, 2014
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2005 Hurricane Katrina damage in Gulfport, Miss.​

Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast near New Orleans nine years ago, but most people in the close-knit communities that were affected still tell stories about loss, resilience and great recovery – physically, economically and emotionally.

Like its Gulf Coast region neighbors, Winn-Dixie store No. 1511 in Gulfport, Mississippi was catastrophically affected.

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged areas of Louisiana and Mississippi, and left many people with damaged homes and broken spirits. Many families lost everything. But for many people in Gulfport, better days came just one week after the storm hit the coast when Winn-Dixie store No. 1511 re- opened its doors to the community despite the massive hurricane damage it had taken. The store didn’t have a roof, but people came together there in record numbers as they joined to rebuild their lives.

"Even though Hurricane Katrina was very devastating to the entire Gulf Coast community, it was also a way for the citizens of Gulfport to come together,” said Michael Moore, current store director of store No. 1511. “By opening our doors when we did, Winn-Dixie was able to lead the way in bringing the community back in many ways.”

Store No. 1511 played a major role in recovery by giving the community a place to purchase basic necessities that the storm had wiped out. To date, the store still holds the record for the most meat sold at any Winn-Dixie store in a given week.

“We were the first grocery store to open in Gulfport after Hurricane Katrina,” said Moore. “Many of our associates had lost everything and were also in need. It was very gratifying to come together by giving back to the community and supporting each other during such a critical time.”

In nearly ten years since Hurricane Katrina, Winn-Dixie has played a major part in rebuilding the lives and spirits of people along the coast. Currently, store No. 1511 is in the process of a remodel and the same deserving community served nine years ago will benefit from a store filled with new offerings.

“We are such a big part of the Gulfport community,” said Moore. “We were here for the people in 2005 and we are still proudly serving the people of Gulfport. Our remodel will help us to serve them even better.”

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