Originally named Vermilionville when it was founded in 1821 on the banks of the Vermilion River, Lafayette gained its current moniker when it was renamed in 1884 after General Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette, a French military hero who aided America during the Revolutionary War.
A cultural mecca and the center of Louisiana’s Cajun heritage, Lafayette boasts a wonderful blend of French, Spanish, and Caribbean influences with a splash of New Orleans Creole. Lafayette’s people embody an undeniable joie de vivre that infuses everything from local art, architecture, and cuisine to entertainment.
Shopping, Dining, Entertainment
Lafayette has always been a hotspot destination for the best in Louisiana cooking, and now the city can boast further, having earned the title “Best Food City in the USA” in the Rand McNally/USA TODAY Best of the Road® Rally.
Start your day with a traditional southern breakfast at Dwyer's Cafe, or come by for some grits & grillades at The French Press. If you’re into Cajun cuisine stop in for lunch at Blue Dog Cafe, or dinner and dancing at Randol's Restaurant and Cajun dance hall. Whatever your taste, your taste buds are sure to find something to shout about! And whether you’re looking for a daiquiri shop, dance club, iconic music venue, sports bar, or just a quiet local watering hole, Lafayette has something for you.
Lafayette and the entire Acadiana area is home to wonderful shopping including everything from quaint downtown souvenir and antique shops, to the grand Mall of Acadiana, featuring many staple department stores such as Dillard's, Macy’s, JC Penney, and Sears, and including numerous specialty stores, like Abercrombie & Fitch, Coldwater Creek, American Eagle Outfitters, Chico's, Talbot’s, and Nine West. Locations like The Oil Center, River Ranch and downtown Lafayette offer a more unique, boutique shopping experience.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra and Conservatory of Music, Chorale Acadienne, Lafayette Ballet Theatre and Dance Conservatory, and Performing Arts Society of Acadiana offer world-class cultural entertainment.
The Southern Indoor Football League, Lafayette Wildcatters, and the semi-pro football Lafayette Bayou Bulls claim Lafayette and her fans as their own. The Cajundome, Cajun Field and Blackham Coliseum are Lafayette’s home sports venues.
Parks and Recreation
Canoeing and golf are popular outdoor activities in Acadiana, and Lafayette is the place to visit for the best of both. Popular local public golf courses are the Jay and Lionel Hebert Municipal Golf Course and the Wetlands. There are also semi-private courses nearby.
Public schools in Lafayette are governed by the Lafayette Perish School System, and private schools are available for grades K through 12.
Lafayette is home to three post-secondary schools, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, South Louisiana Community College, Louisiana Technical College, and Remington College.
The nearby Lafayette Regional Airport provides limited passenger airline service, and the Lafayette Transit System offers bus service within city limits.