Chelsea Gaudin / Eyewitness News
Arabi, La. - St. Bernard Parish replaced their nearly 50-year-old welcome sign on Wednesday in hopes that visitors will see that “the parish is coming back better than before the storm,” according to Robby Showalter who headed the initiative with fellow Kiwanis member Kevin Reichert.
Several civic and business organizations gathered for the dedication of the sign, which will be illuminated at night.
It is located on St. Bernard Highway in Arabi and replaced the one that was first erected in 1964 by the Kiwanis Club of St. Bernard.
Parish government matched the amount collected by eight community organizations that donated $2,500 each in order to get the $20,000 deposit needed. They were the Kiwanis Club of St. Bernard, Rotary Club of St. Bernard, chapter 5747 of the Knights of Columbus, Lions Club of St. Bernard, St. Bernard Business and Professional Women’s Club, St. Bernard Tourism Office, St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce, and the Louisiana State University Alumni Association of St. Bernard.
The St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation will provide the funds so the sign and adjacent flag pole can be maintained.
“This is what the recovery of St. Bernard Parish has always been about – the partnership of the citizens with the support of Parish Government – to move forward in a very determined and deliberate fashion to let the world know that St. Bernard is a survivor and has come back stronger and better than it was before Hurricane Katrina,” said Parish President Craig Taffaro, Jr.