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Lafayette is a city in and the parish seat of Lafayette Parish, Louisianamarker, United States, on the Vermilion River. The population was 110,257 at the 2000 census; a 2007 census estimate put the metropolitan area's population at 256,494. It is the fourth largest city in the state. It is the larger principal city of the Lafayette-Acadiana, LA Combined Statistical Area, which, in 2007, had an estimated total population of 538,470.

The city was founded as Vermilionville in 1821 by a French-speaking Acadian named Jean Mouton. In 1884, it was renamed for General Lafayette, a French military hero who fought with and significantly aided the American Army during the American Revolutionary War. The city's economy was primarily based on agriculture until the 1940s, when the petroleum and natural gas industry became dominant.

Lafayette is the center of the Cajun culture in Louisiana and the US. Lafayette has a strong tourism industry because of the Cajun and Creole cultures of the surrounding region. The Cajun cuisine is one of the most distinctive cuisines in the US, and perhaps because of the Cajun reputation for good food, it has one of the highest numbers of restaurants per capita of any U.S. city.



Isaac Verot Coulee
Lafayette is located at (30.213901, -92.029363) and has an elevation of .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 47.7 square miles (123.5 km²), of which, 47.6 square miles (123.3 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (0.19%) is water.

Lafayette is located on the West Gulf Coastal Plain. What is now Lafayette was part of the seabed during the Quaternary Period. During this time, the Mississippi River cut a 325 foot deep valley between what is now Lafayette and Baton Rougemarker. This valley was filled and is now the Atchafalaya Basin. Lafayette is located on the western rim of this valley. This land, called the southwestern Louisiana Prairie Terrace, is higher up and not made of wetland like much of the surrounding areas to the south and west of Lafayette. Because of this, Lafayette does not suffer significant flooding problems.

The Vermilion River runs through the center of Lafayette. 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's climate is described as humid subtropical using Köppen climate classification. Lafayette is typical of areas along the Gulf of Mexicomarker in that it has hot, humid summers and mild winters. (See table below for average temperatures for Lafayette.)


As of the census of 2000, there were 110,257 people, 43,506 households, and 27,104 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,316.7 people per square mile (894.5/km²). There were 46,865 housing units at an average density of 984.7/sq mi (380.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 68.23% White, 28.51% African American, 0.25% Native American, 1.44% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.58% from other races, and 0.97% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.88% of the population. In 2005, 84.2% of the population over the age of five spoke English at home, and 11.5% of the population spoke French or Cajun.

There were 43,506 households out of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.9% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.7% were non-families. Nearly 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 13.3% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,996, and the median income for a family was $47,783. Males had a median income of $37,729 versus $23,606 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,031. About 11.6% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.3% of those under age 18 and 14.5% of those age 65 or over.

Also, the population of the Lafayette area has increased in recent years since Hurricane Katrina. Many hurricane victims from the Greater New Orleans area have either permanently relocated to Lafayette or have stayed there for a prolonged period of time.

Education and healthcare

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Primary and Secondary Schools

Public Schools

See Lafayette Parish Public Schools for more information.

Lafayette has one of the top school systems in the state. The public schools in the parish are run by the Lafayette Parish School System. The system has 33 schools, 21 elementary schools, 12 middle schools, and five high schools. The LPSS offers six career academies at the high school level, school curricula designed to prepare students in certain career fields.

The six academies are:

The LPSS has partnered with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office to offer the Sheriff's Career Academy. The academy is open to all high school seniors in the parish. This program, offered after school, prepares students for a career in law enforcement through job-shadowing and hands-on training. Seniors that complete the course receive one high school credit.

The LPSS also offer schools of choice, a program to improve racial diversity at schools and to provide a more exciting educational experience. Accepted students are allowed to attend schools outside their school zone (but still within the parish) to receive their state mandated core curriculum using specialized themes or programs. This is available at all levels, elementary, middle, and high schools, and is designed to provide a more interesting learning experience for the students in the program.

Private Schools

See Lafayette Parish Private Schools for list of schools.

Lafayette is home to a large Roman Catholic population and, because of this, Lafayette Parish has many private schools, with grades from kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Universities and colleges

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's the second largest university in the state, with an enrollment of approximately 18,000. The university has been a part of Lafayette since 1900. It is one of the top-ranked universities in the south. It has nationally-ranked nursing, architecture, and computer sciences colleges.

South Louisiana Community College (Lafayette campus) is one of the newest college systems in Louisiana. SLCC partnered with Acadian Ambulance to form the National EMS Academy. The academy 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 of Applied Science Degree in many different area.

Remington College (Lafayette campus) is a vocational school that offers a few Bachelor's Degree Programs, many Associate Degree Programs, along with a few Diploma Programs.

Public Library System

The Lafayette Public Library System operates a system of public libraries throughout Lafayette Parish. The library is free to use, although you must obtain a valid Lafayette Public Library Card to borrow books. These cards can be obtained for free. There are 10 branches throughout Lafayette parish.

list of branches:

  • Main Branch - Downtown Lafayette
  • Butler Branch - Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, Lafayette
  • Carencro Branch - Carencro,Louisiana
  • Chenier Branch - Clifton Chenier Center, Lafayette
  • South Regional Branch - South Lafayette
  • North Regional Branch - Carencromarker
  • Scott Branch - Scottmarker
  • Duson Branch - Dusonmarker
  • Broussard Branch - Broussardmarker
  • Milton Branch - Miltonmarker
  • Youngsville Branch - Youngsvillemarker


Lafayette is home to a very large healthcare industry, in addition to UL's nationally ranked nursing program. CIS is one of the nation's largest and most comprehensive cardiovascular centers, with cardiologists who represent nearly every specialty in heart and circulatory medicine. Founded in 1983, CIS’ team of nearly 500 employees serves communities throughout Louisiana, as well as national and international patients, at its 11 clinics. CIS is dedicated to providing patients with the most up-to-date technology and compassionate care.

There are also numerous non-emergency clinics in Lafayette.

Lafayette is home to Acadian Ambulance the largest private ambulance service, and one of the best rated and most technologically advanced EMS services in the country.

Lafayette is also the Home Office of LHC Group, Inc. (A nation-wide home health, hospice, and long-term acute care provider with over 250 locations in 17 states) - 420 West Pinhook Road.

Government and politics

See also Notable local politicians

Since the consolidation of city and parish governments, Lafayette has had a city-parish president as its chief executive, rather than a mayor as it had previously. The current Republican city-parish president is Joey Durel.

Law Enforcement

Lafayette is served by four police agencies:


Lafayette is the home of the National Guard headquarters of the 256th Infantry Brigade, a military unit of over 3,000 soldiers that served in Iraq in the years of 2004-2005.

Lafayette is also home to the United States Marine Corps Reserve Unit, D. Co. AT Battalion. This unit has been on several deployments and currently have assets in Iraq.


Electricity, water, and waste water service

Lafayette is served by Lafayette Utilities System, a city-parish government run, publicly owned utility company. Started over 100 years ago as an electrical company, LUS has expanded into a full service utilities company. They provide electricity, drinking water, and sewage treatment to all citizens in Lafayette as well as some parts of the parish. LUS also is currently installing the infrastructure for a fiber telecommunications network. Called LUSFiber, the network would provide digital cable, telephone service, and high speed internet service to all households in the city of Lafayette. It will offer individual services as well as bundles.

Natural gas service

Lafayette's need for natural gas is served by Atmos Energy.

Telephone service

Local land line telephone service is served by AT&T. Cox Communications and Lafayette Utilities System provide Voice over Internet Protocol phone service.


Cable television service in Lafayette is provided by Cox Communications. Lafayette Utilities System provides FTTH video services through LUSFiber. DirecTV and Dish Network both include in their local packages.


Retail and Shopping

Lafayette serves as the retail and shopping hub of the Acadiana area, serving an eight parish area. One of the major retail areas in Lafayette is the Mall of Acadiana. The mall features department stores Macy'smarker, Dillards, JC Penney, and Sears. It also includes over 100 specialty stores, such as Express, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle Outfitters, Talbots, Chico's, Nine West, and Coldwater Creek. Other retailers/stores that have recently located in Lafayette include Kohl's, Incredible Pizza Co., and Plato's Closet. Academy Sports and Outdoors recently built a new building for its Lafayette location to become the largest store in the Academy chain.

The Oil Center, Downtown Lafayette, and River Ranch offer more specialized and a unique shopping experience and is preferred by most people .


Lafayette has a wide variety of manufacturing and fabrication businesses including:

Information Technology

The city also has a burgeoning IT community including such businesses as:

Culture and contemporary life


Lafayette is home to the Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns, the athletic teams of The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. It is also home to the Lafayette Bayou Bulls, a semi-pro football program which started in 2003. It is home to the Louisiana Hurricanes, a semi-pro football team that plays at STM Stadium. Between the years of 1995 and 2005, Lafayette was home to the Louisiana IceGators ECHL hockey team; in 2009, the IceGators will return as a member of the Southern Professional Hockey League. Also starting in 2009, Lafayette will be home to the Acadiana Mudbugs of the Southern Indoor Football League. Lafayette is home to three large sports venues: the Cajundomemarker, Cajun Fieldmarker and Blackham Coliseummarker.


Lafayette is known for its nightlife [citation?]. On weekend nights, Downtown Lafayette turns into a nightlife hub in the Acadiana region. Downtown Lafayette offers a diverse range of clubs and sports bars like The Green Room and Marley's, live music venues like Grant Street Dancehall and The Blue Moon Saloon, dance clubs like Stan's Downtown and Nitetown, and the Miami-style nightclub, Karma. Outside of the downtown area, Lafayette offers many other types of establishments, like The Taproom, a beer specialty bar, The Bulldog, a sports bar very popular with UL students, Fast Eddie's, a poolhall, and Buffalo Wild Wings, a restaurant and bar.




Currently, Lafayette is served by Cox Communications; however, Lafayette Utilities System (Lafayette's parish owned utilities company) is installing infrastructure and preparing to offer LUSFiber, a fiber optic network offering digital cable, telephone, and high speed internet services.

Lafayette is home to:

Lafayette is also served by:


See List of Lafayette radio stations for full list.

Popular radio stations in Lafayette:


Points of Interest

Lafayette is the heart of Acadiana and the center of Cajun culture in Louisiana and the United States. As such, Lafayette has many cultural places of interest.


Louisiana claims to have more festivals than any other state. Lafayette does its part to keep this tradition.


Lafayette is also served by U.S. Routes 90 (known as the Evangeline Thruway for part of its route) and 167 (also known as Johnston Street). Ambassador Caffery Parkway, named for Jefferson Caffery, serves as a partially completed loop around Lafayette. Other arterial roads serving Lafayette include Verot School Road (LA 339), Congress Street, Kaliste Saloom Road (LA 3095), Carmel Dr. (LA 94), University Avenue (LA 182), and Pinhook Road (LA 182).

Sister Cities

Lafayette has six sister cities:

Six intersections in the downtown area are each named after one of its sister cities.

See also


External links

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