Arlene Meraux Elementary “Topping Out” Barbeque

St. Bernard School Board Members join board members of the Meraux Foundation for the “topping out” celebration of the new Arlene Meraux Elementary School opening this August. Pictured: Joseph Long, Darleen Asevedo, Floyd Gue, Judy Nicosia, Rita Gue, Chris Haines, Katherine Lemoine, Bill Haines, Doris Voitier, Diana Dysart, William Egan, Carl Gaines.

St. Bernard Parish School District’s twelfth school is opening this August and just celebrated a major construction milestone – the completion of the school’s steel structure. Thursday, a “topping out” barbeque was hosted by Gibbs Construction to celebrate the last beam being placed atop the structure.

Superintendent Doris Voitier addressed guests and the crew working on the school.

“Arlene Meraux Elementary School is the final new construction project for the district in its rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina. Eleven years ago, we began a journey together of trying to rebuild this community one school at a time. It has not been easy, but through the hard work and dedication of many of the people standing here today, we have been able to provide the families and students of St. Bernard Parish with a top performing school system,” she said.

The school system has been rapidly growing over the last eleven years, and the student population is nearly 90% of what it was prior to Hurricane Katrina.

“Young families are moving to St. Bernard for a wide range of reasons, but one of them is the school system. The new elementary school is a direct response to our growing community needs,” Voitier explained.

School Board President Diana Dysart also addressed the crowd and gave special thanks to the school district’s partners who have made the school possible.

“I want to especially thank the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Foundation for their generous land donation. Without the beautiful 14.5 acres of land, this school and the opportunities it will offer hundreds of students each year would not be possible,” she said. “ I also want to thank Gibbs Construction and the architects of the building, Michael Lachin and Albert Carey, for helping
us create a structure that is not only going to be beautiful but also incredibly functional in its purpose to serve our young people.”