Sugar, Sippin’, and the Spirit of Giving

Arabi Elementary Principal Carla Carollo (center) receives OANA's donation at the Shop Small PopUp Market.

The Old Arabi Neighborhood Association has been busy this holiday season, hosting a number of events and continuing its commitment to philanthropy and improving the community.

First up was the 2nd Annual Sugar Soiree, a patron and volunteer appreciation party for those who support Sugar Fest. Nearly 100 guests were on hand at the 40 Arpent Tap Room to enjoy food and fellowship on the riverfront. 

OANA also continued its holiday tradition of supporting local families and children in need. This year the organization donated $5000 to Arabi Elementary to provide food and gifts for ten families in the school community. In addition, OANA donated $300 to the school’s performing groups, and $300 to the Community Center of St. Bernard for its Backpack Program, which provides nutritious snacks for children. 

OANA also visited the Kiwanis Club to make a $500 donation to the Chalmette High Key Club as thanks for its support of the Old Arabi Sugar Fest. 

OANA co-sponsored and participated in the recent Shop Small Holiday Pop-Up Market held in the neighborhood, and provided the funds and labor to decorate the neutral ground on St. Claude for the holiday season. 

The organization wrapped up its year with its members-only Christmas Party at the Kitchen Table Cafe. In addition to great food and spirits, the event was a chance to thank some special members for their commitment. Four awards were given by OANA President Barry Lemoine: Maegan Dobson and Katherine Lemoine were honored for bringing many seasons of Sippin’ in the Sunset to life, while Board Members Linda Van Aman and Sal Cusimano were given Friend of Arabi awards for their many years of dedicated service.

OANA Vice President Troy Barrios also awarded Sal with OANA’s version of a purple heart, a playful nod to a recent injury incurred in service to the neighborhood. 

Lemoine said funds raised throughout the year also support various beautification projects in the neighborhood.

“I’m really proud of the work being done in Old Arabi and appreciate the tireless efforts of our volunteers. Board members include Linda Van Aman, Troy and Alison Barrios, Sal Cusimano, Ray Lauga, Georgia Rilette, Shelli Gifford and Jenifer Heintz. 

“We are a small group of volunteers who work hard as a team to promote all of the positive things going on in our neighborhood,” Lemoine said. “Thanks to all who help us plan and put on our events, and of course, to all of those who support and participate in our events and outreach.”

Lemoine was quick to remind everyone that membership in OANA is open to all.

“Any person or business interested in being a part of our Old Arabi community can join OANA. We invite you to help us promote and celebrate St. Bernard.”

For membership details, please visit

Patrons and volunteers enjoy the Sugar Soirée.
Soirée decor at sunset.
Neutral ground decorations by OANA.
Board members celebrate at the Holiday Party. [L-R]: Georgia Rilette, Shelli Gifford, Alison Barrios, Linda Van Aman, Barry Lemoine, Sal Cusimano, and Troy Barrios.