St. Bernard, LA (Oct. 5, 2015) — The St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation welcomes the Old Arabi Marketplace to the Parish. In just one month, the new business is fast becoming a destination for shoppers in the newly-formed Arabi Arts District.
“We are pleased to have the Old Arabi Marketplace open its doors on St. Claude Ave,” said Andrew Jacques, the executive director of the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation. “The Old Arabi Marketplace, along with Studio Inferno, Larkin Gaudet Studio, Old Arabi Eats, Old Arabi Bar and other businesses, is helping create a solid foundation for an Arts District that will attract visitors to St. Bernard to shop at our stores, eat at our restaurants, and experience our unique cultural assets.”
The Old Arabi Marketplace houses interior shops owned by five friends all under one roof. Each shop in the marketplace has its own style. Elizabeth “Gidget” McDougall’s shop features an English Countryside aesthetic, Cathy Vidos’ shop boasts mid century modern furniture, Melanie Bordelon’s shop offers a French style, Gina Wilemon’s shop contains an eclectic mix, and Lynda Catalanotto’s shop presents a little bit of everything.
“We have a variety of new, old, and repurposed collectables and antiques, including original art, small gift items, furniture, and linens,” said Catalanotto. “The response has been incredible. The Old Arabi Marketplace drawing people from all over, including Lakeview and Old Metairie.”
The antiques and collectibles featured at the Old Arabi Marketplace are sourced from across the region, with the owners finding them at antique shops and even the most unlikely places.
“It’s called picking,” said Catalanotto. “You never know where you’re going to find it. In a barn in Mississippi, I came across some tongue and groove floor boards from a home built in the 1800’s. I was literally digging to try and locate it. I put the antique floor boards for sale in my shop, and in no time, a couple visiting from out of town to see the battlefield purchased all of it!”
In addition to the owners, the marketplace supports one full time and two part time jobs. The concept has the potential to grow as it continues to attract tourists and regional residents to shop the curated collections.
The cultural economy is a powerful economic sector in Louisiana that accounts for more than 148,000 jobs and $3.8 billion in wages and income for the state’s residents.
Jacques said, “Businesses like the Old Arabi Marketplace are creating a destination that will attract people from all over to work and shop in St. Bernard. The cultural economy is an important component of our Parish’s competitive advantage and future economic development.”
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. SBDEF’s work is made possible through the general support of its investors, St. Bernard Parish Government, St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District and the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation at the Champion Level and the Law Offices of Sidney Torres, III and Associated Terminals at the Pillars Level.