DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - Walmart Supercenter, like many stores in the Denham Springs community in August 2016, was flooded with several feet of water within hours.
"We got to work, everything was fine and then about 8 o'clock walked outside and I seen the water started to progress towards the store," Walmart store manager Derrick Fontenot said.
That's when Fontenot saw a rescue boat drift by on South Range Ave. and customers were evacuated.
"The water started coming in the store around 11 o'clock and there was no stopping it," Fontenot said.
About four feet of water seeped in and Walmart was out of commission for the next 8 months.
"The only thing that was left was obviously the cinder block walls; everything else was completely taken out," Fontenot said.
About 60 percent of Walmart employees lost their home, car, or both. Not only are they helping the community bounce back, but members of their own work family as well.
"I had nowhere to live and nowhere to work. It is great being able to return to a little bit of just a normal daily living," Support Manager John Ayer said. Ayer has been part of the Walmart family since 2003.
"From a hollow store, then you come in one day you have nothing but shelves. Then once the products come in you notice, okay it's coming together," associate Velvet Tripp said.
City leaders say Walmart is one of top three revenue drivers for the city, along with Bass Pro Shop and Sam's Club. This grand reopening, not only helps the economy; it's also a big sign of recovery.
The grocery company also stated in a press release that they upgraded the electronics department and expanded the pharmacy. The company also stated that customers "will soon be able to order Walmart groceries online and pick them up without ever having to unbuckle their seat belts."