Joseph Meraux was among the largest known landowners in the history of St. Bernard Parish. When he died, he left his holding to Arlene Meraux. She devoted the remainder of her life to establishing the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation. The private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization relies on its land holdings to improve St. Bernard Parish and benefit the entire community.
In addition to the customary functions of foundations, the Meraux Foundation manages, maintains, and preserves extensive and diverse landholdings, including levee-protected lands, pastures, woodlands, historic structures and sites, canals, water bottoms, riverfront property, battures, bayou-ridge sites, and non-levee wetlands and marshes.
Each type of land poses complex and often delicate challenges in its preservation, protection, and use, but the Foundation aims to maximize both short- and long-term benefits for the community and Louisiana ecosystem.
The Meraux Foundation intends to preserve natural environments while pushing St. Bernard ahead using smart-growth and sustainable-development principles.
Potential improvements include: community facilities, parkways, bikeways, recreation centers, restoration of historic buildings and sites, scenic areas, museums, battlefields, archaeological sites, water sports, special events, agriculture, forestry, and ranching.
Lands unsuitable for development will become available for levee rights-of-way, buffer zones, dedicated open space, or natural wildlife preserves and fisheries.
These advances push us toward our ultimate goal of improving the local quality of life for St. Bernard residents.