Old Arabi Neighborhood Association continues to grow

Kids' Donut Eating Competition. Photo by Ray Solis.

The OANA recently hosted a pair of events designed to celebrate the unique features of the area and bring people together.

First up was the 9th Annual Sugar Fest, held at the Aycock Barn. All things sweet were at the heart of this event, as a dessert baking contest, a donut eating competition, narrated tours of the area, children’s activities, live music, food, and art were all part of the fun. Domino Sugar, one of the major sponsors of the event, gave away over four thousand pounds of sugar to festival-goers as part of the celebration.

The chairman of the Sugar Fest Committee, “Sugar” Ray Lauga, and his selfless team of volunteers also deserve credit for bringing the festival to life. Lauga said great weather and great participation by the neighborhood and sponsors made the event a sweet success. “It’s a lot of hard work, but building relationships with our neighbors and showcasing the culture and all of the unique features of Old Arabi make it worthwhile,” Lauga said. He was also quick to thank neighbor and local photographer Ray Solis for documenting the festival in preparation for next year’s event. “We are already looking ahead on ways to promote and improve, so that next year the 10th Annual Sugar Fest will be the biggest and best one yet.”

OANA also recently hosted its annual Night Out Against Crime and, like Sugar Fest, it was a sweet success. The newly renovated patio at Arabi Food Store was the perfect place for friends and neighbors to gather – a chance to greet, meet, and eat.  Charles Borcher of the Sheriff’s Office gave a brief talk about the importance of locking parked vehicles, and of how community policing is the best form of neighborhood protection. Over 80 people attended the event, including Sheriff James Pohlmann and Parish President Guy McInnis. Arabi Food Store owners Max and Niquelle Landry and his staff deserve much credit for hosting the event, organized by OANA Vice President Charlie LeSage and other Board Members. OANA Secretary Linda Van Aman said the night was a good night for a good cause. “It was great to see such a large turnout in support of our Sheriff’s Department and getting to know our neighbors and friends. The venue was fantastic, and everyone seemed to be having a really good time.”

Next up for the OANA is the Holiday Sippin’ in the Sunset on Thursday, November 9th, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Aycock Barn, followed by a General Membership Meeting on Thursday, November 16th at the Maumus Center. Please note that the start time of the General Meeting has been moved up to 6:00 p.m.

President Barry Lemoine thanked the Board and all the volunteers for their commitment to the OANA. “It’s exciting that we continue to grow and that people seem genuinely happy to be a part of it all. I’m really grateful for the support, and look forward to shopping and sipping on November 9th.”

Sugar Fest sponsors banner. Photo by Ray Solis.

Arabi Elementary performers. Photo by Ray Solis.

Domino Sugar gave away more than 4000 pounds! Photo by Ray Solis.

Neighbors get crime prevention tips at Night Out. Photo by Ray Solis.