Tuesday, September 27

DeRidder stores open to weary customers

DERIDDER — The line seemed endless at the Stop-n-Save on West 1st Street in DeRidder when cashier Sharla Moore turned to owner Christine Strahan and said she needed a break.

"It's hot. I need air," Moore said, wiping sweat from her red face.

Strahan said her store has been filled with customers desperate for food and drinks for nearly two days.

Strahan and her husband own two other local stores which were open Sunday, but sold out of supplies. No stores in DeRidder have gas, she said, despite rumors.

"We sold out of that before Rita hit," she said.

Strahan predicted it would be only a few hours before Stop-n-Save's shelves were empty. That prediction came true early Tuesday afternoon, when the store was finally picked clean.

"We're just trying to help people out," she said. "Nobody has anything. We're just doing our part."

At about 7 a.m. Tuesday morning, the line at the DeRidder Wal-Mart started wrapping around the store's massive parking lot.

Weary customers gathered at the doors as early as 6 a.m. to be in the front of the line. Police officers stood guard at the doors to ensure order.

Customers were allowed in 25 at a time and were limited to two loaves of bread and two bags of ice each. Other merchandise, however, was not restricted.

Wal-Mart employees said the store would remain open depending upon supplies. Other DeRidder businesses, including Popeyes and Ryan's Steakhouse, also opened Tuesday.

Elona Weston
Beauregard/Vernon Bureau Writer

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