Arabi, Louisiana

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Arabi is a census-designated place (CDP) in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana on the East Bank of the Mississippi River, between the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana and Chalmette within the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan area. The population was 8,093 at the 2000 census.



Arabi was established in the 19th century as a suburb of New Orleans, along the east bank of the Mississippi River. Arabi was part of Orleans Parish, however, a law passed in the 1880s stated that slaughterhouses could not be located within the City of New Orleans.[1] A 1951 map calls the area Jacksonburgh, a name believe to be derived from Andrew Jackson.[2]

Arabi began as the community known as Stockyard Landing, because of the many stockyards and slaughterhouses located there. In the rear yards of some of houses in Old Arabi, there are remnants of blood traps from the area. When excavation for swimming pools was done, residents found dishes from New Orleans hotels and restaurants whose table scraps were once used to feed animals.

Business interests of the stockyards wanted to be free from control of New Orleans and persuaded the state of Louisiana to transfer dominion of the area to downriver St. Bernard parish.

The area was apparently named after the residents of the area who burned the courthouse down in the 1890s [3], according to an account published by the FWP in 1941, "reputedly because the incendiary activities of an Arabian sheik were at that time much in the news." The New York times makes mention of the media frenzy in 1882 with a note that "The New Orleans Picayune has discovered that Arabi Pasha once sold confectionery in that city. But the Picayune has a habit of occasionally discovering things that are not so."[4]

It is speculated by the publication, the town is named after Arabi Pasha (a mis-transliteration of his actual name Ahmed 'Urabi) who torched Alexandria, Egypt in 1882[5] while fighting for independence from the British. The community felt that the revolt he was leading was a kindred spirit to their own revolt from New Orleans.

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