March 2, 2017

Meraux Foundation Land Certified by the LA Dept. of Economic Development

Meraux Foundation and SBEDF pursued certification to enrich St. Bernard Parish’s economic development resources

The Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation has had 285.64 acres of a property, known as the Sinclair Tract, certified by the Louisiana Department of Economic Development (LED). This certification will allow the site to be marketed to potential developers, and in turn, boost economic development in St. Bernard Parish. The property, located at 3911 E. St. Bernard Highway, is the first in St. Bernard Parish ever to be certified.

“The Meraux Foundation has been very strategic about how we use our land resources to improve St. Bernard Parish. By certifying this site, we are putting a large tract of land in commerce to help create jobs and new tax revenue for St. Bernard Parish,” said Rita Gue, the president of the Meraux Foundation.

According to LED, “Certified Sites are development-ready industrial sites. LED certification is granted after an extensive application process and exhaustive review. The benefits of certification include official acknowledgement of a site’s suitability and readiness and improved success in the site selection process. The program’s rigorous review process is conducted by an independent, third-party engineering firm.”

“We are thrilled that the Meraux Foundation has certified the Sinclair Tract, which as a result, adds a strong development-ready site in St. Bernard to the State’s portfolio of sites. This is a major step for economic development in the parish,” said Andrew Jacques, the executive director of the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation who shepherded the certification process.

The Meraux Foundation pursued certification to market the property for development that will improve St. Bernard Parish; thus, the Meraux Foundation will not sell or lease the property to any project that would be considered environmentally hazardous or damaging to the quality of life in St. Bernard Parish. Such operations include, but are not limited to, coal, scrap metal, or rubber/tire facilities. There are no plans to use the property for river diversions. The Meraux Foundation also requires that the large live oak tree on the property remain intact for perpetuity and is not cut down.

The tract is a total of 675 acres. Specifications on the certified site can be viewed on LED’s website at

About the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation
The Meraux Foundation is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established by Arlene Meraux to benefit the community of St. Bernard Parish by leveraging its landholdings. Today, the Foundation’s board of directors is presided over by Arlene’s niece, Rita Gue, and consists of members Floyd Gue, Bill Haines, Chris Haines, and Sidney Torres, III. Guided by Arlene’s vision, the Board is implementing an innovative strategy to create lasting change and build a better St. Bernard.

In addition to the customary functions of foundations, the Meraux Foundation manages, maintains, and preserves extensive and diverse landholdings. 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 ecosystem.

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About St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation
St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2005 to promote economic development and commercial growth of St. Bernard Parish and to lead the initiation of partnering organizations seeking to improve the quality of life for St. Bernard Parish citizens. To achieve this mission, SBEDF primarily engages in business attraction, retention, and expansion. Additionally, workforce development and policy development are pursued as key initiatives to drive economic development activities. The Board of Directors consists of 28 voting members and 8 non-voting honorary members and public officials, all of which serve as volunteers to the organization. SBEDF’s work is made possible through the general support of its investors, St. Bernard Parish Government, St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District, the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation, Cox Communications, Chalmette Refining, and Valero Energy at the Champion Level and the Law Offices of Sidney Torres, III and Associated Terminals at the Pillars Level, and Meyer Engineers and Palmisano Group at the Community Leaders level.

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