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Gulf Supermarkets Close as Isaac Approaches

NEW ORLEANS — Supermarkets along the Gulf Coast reported high customer demand for supplies, and many shut down early Wednesday as Hurricane Isaac approached.

“We have truckloads coming in over the next few days to replenish our bottled water," Rouses Markets here tweeted after some observers complained of outages. Rouses Markets said it was closing its stores in Mississippi and Southeast Louisiana at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

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Jacksonville, Fla.-based Winn-Dixie, meanwhile, opened its stores in Baton Rouge, Picayune, Lafayette, Northshore and Greater New Orleans at an earlier-than-usual 6 a.m. on Tuesday to capture last-minute shoppers, and issued hurricane-preparedness lists that included canned foods, propane, cleaning supplies and other product. It also issued safety guidelines for coping with power outages. The chain followed a similar schedule of early openings in Florida over the weekend as the storm passed by there.

Zara's in New Orleans also said it was closing early Tuesday. “We have ice, water, food but no batteries,” the store said on its Facebook page.

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Whole Foods Market said it was shutting its Veterans and Arabella locations in New Orleans at 2 p.m. Tuesday and its Baton Rouge, La., store at 8 p.m. Plans call for reopening in New Orleans at 3 p.m. Wednesday. The Baton Rouge store is scheduled to remain closed until 8 a.m. Thursday.

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