|City of Lafayette|
The Hub City
The Heart of Cajun Country
|Founded||1821 as Vermilionville|
|Renamed||1884 as Lafayette|
|Founded by||Jean Mouton|
|Named for||General Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette|
|o Type||Consolidated city-parish|
|o Mayor||Josh Guillory (R)|
|o Total||55.65 sq mi (144.13 km2)|
|o Land||55.57 sq mi (143.92 km2)|
|o Water||0.08 sq mi (0.20 km2) auto%|
|o Metro||3,408.5 sq mi (8,828 km2)|
|Elevation||49 ft (15 m)|
|o Rank||US: 234th|
|o Density||2,270.78/sq mi (876.75/km2)|
|o Urban||252,720 (US: 148th)|
|o CSA||627,146 (US: 77th)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (CST)|
70501-9, 70593, 70596, 70598
Lafayette (, French: [lafaj?t]) is a city in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The city is the most populous and parish seat of Lafayette Parish, and is located along the Vermilion River. It is Louisiana's fourth largest incorporated municipality by population and the 234th-most populous in the United States, with a 2020 census population of 121,374; the consolidated city-parish's population was 244,390 in 2019. The Lafayette metropolitan area was Louisiana's third largest metropolitan statistical area with a population of 489,759 at the 2020 population estimates program, overtaking the Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area in 2015.
Originally established as Vermilionville in the 1820s and incorporated in 1836, Lafayette developed as an agricultural community until the discovery of oil in the area in the 1940s; since the discovery of oil, the city and parish have had the highest number of workers in the oil and natural gas industry in Louisiana as of 2018. With the establishment of the University of Louisiana System's Lafayette campus, and the diversification of its economy, Lafayette and its metropolitan area have experienced population growth and became nicknamed "The Hub City". Culturally, the city and parish of Lafayette are also known as the "Heart of Acadiana".
The city, metropolitan area and Acadiana region are major centers for the technology industry, and home to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the second largest public research university in Louisiana. Lafayette is also a major center for health care and social services, aerospace, banking and retail. Notable corporations with headquarters or a large presence in the Lafayette area include the Ochsner Health System, IberiaBank, Rouses Market, Petroleum Helicopters International, Amazon, Brookshire Grocery Company, JP Morgan Chase, Albertsons, Perficient, and CGI. The Lafayette area is home to a diverse population from Louisiana Creole and Cajun backgrounds, and was named the "Happiest City in America" in 2014.
Lafayette is named after Marquis de Lafayette. Little is known about early settlements or if the area had a different name prior to European colonization. The city was originally founded in 1821 as Vermilionville.
The Attakapa Native Americans inhabited this area at the time of the first European encounter. French colonists founded the first European settlement, Petit Manchac, a trading post along the Vermilion River. In the mid-to-late eighteenth century, numerous Acadian refugees settled in this area, after being expelled from Canada after Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War. They intermarried with other settlers, forming what became known as Cajun culture, which maintained use of the French language and adherence to the Roman Catholic Church.
Jean Mouton, an Acadian settler, donated land to the Roman Church for construction of a small Catholic chapel at this site. In 1824, this area was selected for the Lafayette Parish seat and was named Vermilionville, for its location on the river; in 1836, the Louisiana State Legislature approved its incorporation.
The area was initially developed by Europeans for agriculture, primarily sugar plantations, which depended on the labor of numerous enslaved Africans and African Americans. They made up a large percentage of the antebellum population. According to U.S. census data in 1830, some 41% of the population of Lafayette Parish was enslaved. By 1860, the enslaved population had increased to 49.6%. Some free people of color lived in Lafayette Parish, as well; they made up 3%, to a low of 2.4% between 1830 and 1860.
In 1884, Vermilionville was renamed for General Lafayette, a French aristocrat who had fought with and significantly aided the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. The city and parish economy continued to be based on agriculture into the early 20th century. After the American Civil War, most of the labor was done by freedmen, who worked as sharecroppers. From the 1930s, mechanization of agriculture began to reduce the need for farm workers.
By 1898, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette was established in the city as the Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute. It opened in 1901, and changed its name to the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1960. The university's current name was chosen in 1999.
In the 1940s, after oil was discovered in the parish, the petroleum and natural gas industries expanded to dominate the economy. As of 2018, Lafayette had the highest number of oil and natural gas industry workers in the state.
In 1992, the city and parish consolidated; the city's boundaries encompassed the entirety of Lafayette Parish, though incorporated municipalities continued to operate with their own municipal governments and departments. Since the beginning of the 21st century, a committee proposed the deconsolidation of the city and parish.
The city of Lafayette is located at  in southern Louisiana's Acadiana region on the Gulf Coast of the United States. It was part of the seabed during the earlier Quaternary period. During this time, the Mississippi River cut a 325-foot-deep (99 m) valley between what is now Lafayette and Baton Rouge. This valley was filled and is now the Atchafalaya Basin. The city is located on the western rim of this valley.(30.2139, -92.0294),
The Lafayette area is part of the southwestern Louisiana Prairie Terrace; it is higher and not made of wetlands like much of the surrounding areas to the south and west of Lafayette. Lafayette does not suffer significant flooding problems, outside of local flash flooding. Lafayette has developed on both sides of the Vermilion River. Other significant waterways in the city are Isaac Verot Coulee, Coulee Mine, Coulee des Poches, and Coulee Ile des Cannes, which are natural drainage canals that lead to the Vermilion River.
Lafayette lies approximately 135 miles (217 km) from New Orleans, 59 miles (95 km) from the state capital of Baton Rouge, 75 miles (121 km) from Lake Charles,and 89 miles (143 km) from Alexandria. The city has an elevation ranging from 36 feet (11.0 m) to 49 feet (15 m) above sea level. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 55.65 square miles (144.1 km2), of which 55.57 square miles (143.9 km2) is land and 0.08 sq mi (0.21 km2) (0.19%) is covered by water.
Lafayette has maintained a modest downtown skyline throughout much of its history; in 2021, two high-rise towers were planned for the downtown area, the latest addition in over 40 years. This follows efforts to redevelop the downtown area in the 2010s.
Lafayette's climate is described as humid subtropical using Köppen climate classification. It has year-round precipitation, especially during summertime. Lafayette's highest temperature was 107 °F (42 °C); it has hot, moist summers and warm, damp winters.
|Climate data for Lafayette Regional Airport, Louisiana (1991-2020 normals, extremes 1893-present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||87
|Average high °F (°C)||62.2
|Daily mean °F (°C)||52.8
|Average low °F (°C)||43.5
|Record low °F (°C)||10
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||5.92
|Average precipitation days||10.0||9.3||8.7||7.5||8.4||12.2||14.1||12.2||9.4||7.6||8.3||9.8||117.5|
At the 2020 United States census, 121,374 people lived in the city. The U.S. Census Bureau's 2019 American Community Survey determined 126,199 people lived in the city limits, and 244,390 within the consolidated city-parish. The 2010 U.S. census reported 120,623 people, 43,506 households, and 27,104 families were residing in the city proper, up from 94,440 in the 1990 United States census. The growth of Lafayette and its metropolitan area's population from the later 20th and earlier 21st century has been attributed to the oil and gas industry, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Acadiana tourism.
Per the American Community Survey's 2019 estimates program, the city proper's age distribution was 21,104 under 15; 20,835 aged 15 to 24; 45,707 aged 25 to 54; and 38,553 aged 55 to 85 years and older. The consolidated city-parish's age distribution was 48,548 under 15; 132,872 aged 15 to 54; and 62,970 aged 55 to 85 years and older. In 2019, Lafayette had a median age of 37.6 and the consolidated city-parish 35.9. For every 100 females there were 88.3 males in the city proper limits and 93.1 males per 100 females for the consolidated area.
There were 59,431 housing units for the city and 105,067 for the consolidated city-parish in 2019. Lafayette proper had an owner-occupied housing rate of 56.6% and the parish had an owner-occupied housing rate of 64.8%. Owner-occupied housing units had a median value from $185,300 to $195,400. Median homeowner costs with a mortgage were estimated from $1,362 to $1,420. Lafayette Parish had an estimated 1,162 building units in 2019. In 2019, the median household income was $56,999 for the parish area and $51,264 for the city proper. The median rent was from $870 to $890.
In 2010, 84.2% of the population over the age of five spoke only English at home, while 11.5% of the population spoke French.
Of the population in 2019, 62.5% were non-Hispanic white, 29.6% Black or African American, 0.3% American Indian or Alaska Native, 2.7% Asian, 1.4% two or more races, and 3.5% Hispanic or Latin American of any race. The consolidated area of Lafayette 65.2% non-Hispanic white, 26.6% Black or African American, 0.3% American Indian or Alaska Native, 1.8% Asian, 0.3% some other race, 1.0% two or more races, and 4.6% Hispanic or Latin American of any race. The largest single Hispanic or Latin American group overall were Mexican Americans.
The 2010 American Community Survey determined the racial makeup of the city was 64.1% White, 29.1% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.5% Asian, and 0.8% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 3.2% of the population. At the 2000 U.S. census, 68.50% were White, 28.25% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 1.42% Asian, 0.2% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, 0.58% some other race, 0.98% two or more races, and 1.88% Hispanic or Latin American.
In common with Louisiana's religious demographic as part of the Bible Belt, the Lafayette consolidated city-parish and metropolitan area are majority religious (78.6% and 71%), dominated by Christianity. As of 2021, the Catholic Church was the single largest Christian denomination (46.4%), and Protestants were the largest collective Christian group. Among Protestant Christians, Evangelical Protestantism was the largest transdenominational body and historically Black or African American churches were the second largest. Mainline Protestantism remained a minority.
Owing in part to Spanish and French colonialism and missionary work, Christians are primarily served by the Latin Church's Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette in Louisiana. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette in Louisiana was founded in 1918 and its see is the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist. Baptists were the second largest individual Christian denomination (17.8%). The most prominent Evangelical Baptist denomination in the Lafayette area as of 2021 is the Southern Baptist Convention. The National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. and National Baptist Convention of America were the largest historically Black or African American Baptist denominations. Independent Baptist churches also have a significant presence in the metropolitan area.
Pentecostals made up the third largest Christian community in Lafayette (3.6%), and have been primarily served by the Church of God in Christ and Assemblies of God USA. Following, Methodists, Episcopalians or Anglicans, Mormons, Lutherans, and Presbyterians formed the remaining mainstream Christian population of Lafayette and its metropolitan area. Christians of other faiths including the Jehovah's Witnesses, united and uniting churches, and Independent Sacramental Movement collectively formed 5.6% of the population.
In 2021, Judaism and Islam were tied as the second largest non-Christian religions within Lafayette and its metropolitan area (0.1% each). Jews began immigrating to the area in the 1800s, and one of Louisiana's oldest continuously-operated synagogues (Temple Shalom) has been present in the city since 1869. The historic synagogue of Temple Shalom originally functioned as an Orthodox Jewish congregation before joining the Reform Judaism movement. Lafayette's Jewish community has assisted in economic and cultural development of the area since their arrival.
The public schools in the parish are run by the Lafayette Parish School System (LPSS). The system has 45 schools: 25 elementary schools, 12 middle schools, and eight high schools. The LPSS offers nine career academies at the high-school level, school curricula designed to prepare students in certain career fields.
Lafayette has one university, one community college, and two vocational colleges.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is part of the University of Louisiana System. It is a national research institution, home to more than 18,000 students, over 100 programs, and home of the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns. It is the second-largest university in the state. Schools and colleges related to the institution have been located in Lafayette since 1898.
One of the newest college systems in Louisiana, South Louisiana Community College (SLCC), is headquartered in Lafayette. SLCC partnered with Acadian Ambulance to form the National EMS Academy, which offers EMT-Basic and EMT-Paramedic certification. SLCC is part of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. Louisiana Technical College (Lafayette campus) is part of the Louisiana Technical College System, which in turn is part of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. It offers associate degrees in several fields. is a vocational school that offers a few bachelor's-degree programs, many associate-degree programs, and a few diploma programs.
It is also home to the Lafayette campus of the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, a technical college that specializes in video game programming, art and animation, and SFX.
Lafayette's major healthcare facilities are:
See also Notable local politicians
Some residents did not like the consolidated government, but in 2011, parish voters soundly rejected a proposal to separate parish and city governments. Under consolidation, the City of Lafayette and Parish of Lafayette have a common representative body and executive officer. Public works and other services, such as land use and plat review, are operated by the Lafayette Consolidated Government to serve the City of Lafayette and unincorporated areas of Lafayette Parish, and by contract some of the area municipalities. Zoning rules apply only within the city and unincorporated areas of Lafayette Parish.
Some neighboring municipalities have adopted their own planning and zoning protocols. The suburban and rural cities and towns maintain independent city councils, local executives, police and fire departments, and other public services. The LPSS operates independently of any municipality, and its jurisdiction is coterminous with the Parish of Lafayette.
Lafayette is also home to a regional office of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and the headquarters of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana, the state agency that oversees preservation and documentation of Louisiana French for tourism, economic development, culture, education, and the development of international relations with other Francophone regions and countries.
Lafayette is served by four local police agencies:
Note: City Police and Parish Sheriff's office were not combined during consolidation.
Lafayette is home to the National Guard headquarters of the 256th Infantry Brigade, a military unit of more than 3,000 soldiers. The unit served in Iraq in 2004-2005. The brigade was deployed again in January 2010.
Until 2014, Lafayette was also home to the United States Marine Corps Reserve Unit, F. Co. Anti-Terrorism Battalion commanded by Captain Cole Clements. This unit went on several deployments, many related to the Iraq War. In 2014, F. Co. Anti-Terrorism Battalion was decommissioned, to be replaced with H&S Co. Det. 4 4th Tanks Tow and Scouts, 4th MARDIV.
Both electricity and water services have been continuously provided by LUS to the residents of the City of Lafayette since that time. LUS has expanded to provide electricity, drinking water, and sewage treatment throughout the City of Lafayette, and to some unincorporated parts of Lafayette Parish. LUS also provides bulk sales to the water systems of most surrounding municipalities.
In 2009, LUS installed infrastructure for a fiber telecommunications network. Called LUSFiber, the network provides digital cable, telephone service, and high-speed internet to all households in Lafayette.
Natural gas service is supplied by Atmos Energy.
Cable television service in Lafayette is provided by Cox Communications. LUS provides FTTH video services through LUSFiber. DirecTV and Dish Network both include Lafayette TV stations in their local packages.
Cultural organizations include the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra and Conservatory of Music, Chorale Acadienne, Lafayette Ballet Theatre and Dance Conservatory, the Lafayette Concert Band, and Performing Arts Society of Acadiana; as well as the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum and the Acadiana Center for the Arts.
The 2018 television film, The Christmas Contract, set in Lafayette, features many Cajun Christmas customs. In the story line, Jolie Guidry (Hilarie Burton) dreads returning to her home town when she learns that her former boyfriend, Foster Broussard (Hunter Burke) will be present at social gatherings with his new love interest. Jolie persuades Jack (Robert Buckley) to be her "contracted" escort in Lafayette. Then romance blossoms between Jolie and Jack. Bruce Boxleitner plays Jolie's father, Tim.
Lafayette is home to the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, the athletic teams of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. It is home to the Bayou Hurricanes, a semiprofessional football team that plays at Clark Field. Between 1995 and 2005, Lafayette was home to the Louisiana IceGators ECHL hockey team. In 2009, the IceGators returned as a member of the Southern Professional Hockey League until 2016. Also from 2009 to 2012, Lafayette was home to the Lafayette Wildcatters of the Southern Indoor Football League. It is also home to the Lafayette Bayou Bulls, a semipro football program started in 2003. Lafayette is also home to the Acadiana Cane Cutters, a summer-league baseball team. The team plays its games at Fabacher Field and is a member of the Texas Collegiate League. The Lafayette SwampCats (1997-1999) and Lafayette Swamp Cats (2000-2004) soccer teams played in the city. The Cajun Soccer Club of the Gulf Coast Premier League was founded in 2013. The Acadiana Rollergirls of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association is a roller derby league in Lafayette.
Lafayette was home to minor-league baseball teams in various seasons from 1907 to 2000. Lafayette was an affiliate of the St. Louis Browns 1936-1941, Chicago Cubs (1955-1957) and San Francisco Giants (1975-1976). The Lafayette Browns (1907), Lafayette Hubs (1920), Lafayette White Sox (1934-1942), Lafayette Bulls (1948-1953), Lafayette Oilers (1954-1957), Lafayette Drillers (1975-1976) and Bayou Bullfrogs (1998-2000) all played in Lafayette. The teams were members of the Gulf Coast League (1907), Louisiana State League (1920), Evangeline League (1934-1942, 1948-1953, 1954-1957), Texas League (1975-1976) and Texas-Louisiana League (1998-2000). Lafayette teams played at Parkdale Park (1934-1942), Clark Field (1945-1957, 1975-1976) and Tigue Moore Field (1998-2000).
Lafayette is served by Cox Communications and by LUS's LUSFiber.
Lafayette is home to:
Lafayette is also served by:
See List of Lafayette radio stations for full list
Popular radio stations in Lafayette:
See List of Lafayette record labels for full list
This article's list of residents may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. (February 2018)
Lafayette has seven sister cities: