LeBeau Plantation fire: Joe Meraux must be spinning in his grave

Joe Meraux must be rolling over in his grave right now. It’s not enough that his plans after death aren’t being followed. Now one of his prized estate assets is gone forever.

The LeBeau Plantation, at the end of Friscoville Street at the Mississippi River in Arabi, is gone.  Overnight a fire ravaged the massive structure that was built in 1851, or a decade before the Civil War started.

The Meraux estate, with an estimated value of $250 million, has many real estate holdings including historic Lafite’s Blacksmith Shop in the French Quarter. But the most historic and significant structure was LeBeau Plantation. The 16-room structure was the largest plantation south of New Orleans. Now it’s gone, forever.

And ultimately, the worthless Meraux foundation board down in Chalemette is to blame.

Joe Meraux left specific instructions to the parish of St. Bernard to use his estate to better the people and his parish. Instead, it’s been a money grab. More money is paid out in six-figure salaries to lazy, politically-appointed board members than is given to the citizens of the parish each and every year. And now, that same corrupt board has neglected to perform one of its most basic duties: protecting the assets of the Meraux estate.

Contrary to what these board members think, the estate and its quarter-of-a-billion dollars in assets is meant to benefit the citizens of St. Bernard, not a select few. Now, those select few have committed the biggest sin: they’ve allowed an irreplaceable historic building to be destroyed.

The LeBeau Plantation is gone, not because of a fire last night that burned the building to the ground, but because of the Meraux Foundation Board: a corrupt group of little people that not only are screwing over the parish of St. Bernard and its citizens who have now destroyed one of St. Bernard Parish’s most historic assets.

Joe Meraux must be rolling over in his grave, even more so than usual today.