The Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation donated land on Paris Road at the entrance to St. Bernard Parish to the St. Bernard Parish Public School Board to develop a new elementary school, which will be named the Arlene Meraux Elementary School. The new school is projected to open in August 2017 and is a response to the growing number of school-age children in the parish.
“We are delighted that this prime location in the parish will soon be a school where generations of St. Bernardians will receive a world-class education,” said Rita Gue, the president of the Meraux Foundation. “We donated the land knowing that we would be making my Aunt Arlene very happy, and we are deeply grateful that the school will be named in her honor. Education is an issue that was very close to her heart, and it remains one of our Foundation’s top priorities.”
The donation furthers the Foundation’s mission to fulfill founder Arlene Meraux’s vision to leverage its landholdings to improve the lives of the people of St. Bernard.
“The St. Bernard Parish School Board thanks the Meraux Foundation for their generosity and support in helping our school system grow. Arlene Meraux was an incredible advocate of education and always personally involved with our students. This donation continues her legacy,” said Superintendent Doris Voitier.
To date the Meraux Foundation has made significant contributions to education in St. Bernard, including awarding more than 600 scholarships valued at $1.7 million, granting $1.8 million to develop the Cultural Arts Center of Chalmette High School, annually sponsoring the St. Bernard Performing Arts Academy, and supporting scores of educational programs. The Foundation also hosts a number of student programs at its Docville Farm campus, including LSU’s AgMagic on the River and the Chalmette Key Club’s Boo at the Barn.
“The donation of property to build a new elementary school is another example of the Meraux Foundation’s commitment to the people of St. Bernard Parish in helping provide a great place to raise their families and get a quality education,” said School Board Member Clifford Englande.
The 14.6 acre plot of land is ideally located near the parish line on Paris Road and will help enhance the entryway into St. Bernard. The future school will compliment the new sheriff’s substation and other new developments slated for the area, creating a visually welcoming experience for people driving into the parish.