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Overview

Introduction to Lafayette, Louisiana

Lafayette is located in the southern central part of Louisiana, at the intersection of Highways 10 and 49. It is the fourth largest city in Louisiana and is the only major city in Louisiana that has grown in population since the year 2000. Lafayette resides in an area called Acadiana, which is known as the Cajun Heartland, and is the unofficial Cajun Capitol of the south. Lafayette lies 15 miles west of the Atchafalaya Basin and 35 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico and is surrounded by bayous, swamps and marshes along with forests and prairies. The city got its name in 1844 when it was named after the French Marquis de Lafayette.

Lafayette has a history almost as colorful as the history of the state of Louisiana, which actually was governed by 10 different flags from the period of time beginning 1541 until 1803 when it became a possession of the United States. The rich French heritage of Lafayette was mainly due to "Le Grand Derangement" in 1755. That year, thousands of French Canadians were forced from their homes because they refused to renounce their Catholic religion for the Anglican Church and pledge allegiance to the British flag. More than half of the Acadians lost their lives as their homes and crops were burned by the British and they floundered at sea. Most of the survivors ended up in Louisiana after the King of Spain allowed them to settle in South Louisiana. They eventually ended up in the areas around Lafayette, where they could raise their own crops and fish and trap according to their traditions. Thus, the Cajun culture was born. Interestingly, the word Cajun originated when the French of noble ancestry would call the Acadians "le Cadiens", dropping the "A". Later, the Americans who could not pronounce "Cadien" shortened the term and just called them "Cajuns". These Cajun people were known for their unique culture. They are deeply religious, hard working but enthusiastic and fun people. Their food, spicy and flavorful, became famous throughout the country and still is a favorite among the visitors of the "Bayou Country".

In 1803, Louisiana had become a part of the United States. President Thomas Jefferson negotiated the Louisiana Purchase with Napoleon because of the region's importance to the trade and security of the American mid-west. Much of the produce of the mid-west traveled down the Mississippi River so this area became vital for America. The fertility of the land in this region gave rise to important crops such as sugar and cotton, making the planters of Lafayette some of the richest in America. After the Civil War, sulfur was discovered in 1869 and oil was discovered in 1901. Now Louisiana has become one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas in the country.

Lafayette Points of Interest

Lafayette has a strong tourism industry, attracted by the wonderful Cajun food of this region. It has more restaurants per capita of any city in the entire area. The city has a thriving arts community, consisting of theatre, visual arts, and especially music. Cajun music is a combination of bluegrass and French with a little European folk music thrown in. Almost every weekend, there is a music, dance or street festival and the city is known for its great Mardi Gras celebrations when Lafayette explodes with color and wild costumes.

Because of its year-long warm climate, Lafayette is known as "The Sportsman's Paradise". The bayous and swamps are great places for canoe rides and the fishing is very popular. In addition, there are championship golf courses nearby and lots of hiking and biking trails to explore. The Louisiana Ragin Cajuns is the team name of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In 1960, the name referred only to the football team which was formerly called the Bulldogs, but now the name refers to all the sports of the university, including basketball and baseball. And, since 2003, Lafayette is home to the Lafayette Bayou Bulls, its semi pro football team.

Lafayette has a diversified and interesting college life. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the largest campus within the eight-campus University of the Louisiana System and the second largest university in Louisiana. It is recognized mostly for its excellence in computer science and its graduate courses in environmental biology. In addition, Lafayette is home to the South Louisiana Community College and the Louisiana Technical College at Lafayette.

Located only 135 miles from New Orleans, Lafayette is a popular destination for tourists looking for the flavor of New Orleans; the food, music and festivals rival its famous neighbor and the warm climate is perfect for a relaxing southern vacation. As the Cajuns say, ""Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez", or "Let the Good Times Roll!"

People

Total Population 124,982
Male Share of the Population 48.9%
Female Share of the Population 51.1%
Senior Citizens 12.1%
Employed Population 16+ 62,800
Age of the Population 33

Families

% of people married 38.8%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 35.1%
Median Earnings25+ $34,216
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $16,633
Median Earnings With High School Degree $25,672

Wealth

Median Family Income $64,805
% Above Poverty Level 80.9%
% Below Poverty Level 19.1%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 21 minutes
% Working from Home 2.7%
% Walking and Biking to Work 3.3%
% Using Public Transportation 0.8%

Housing

People Living Alone 35.2%
Median Gross Rent $800
Median House Value $173,900

Ancestry

Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 42%
US/American 0%
English 6%
Irish 5.7%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Lafayette Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 117 miles W of New Orleans, Louisiana
County Lafayette
Metro Area Lafayette
Standard Zip Codes 70501, 70503, 70506, 70507, 70508
P.O. Box Zip Codes 70502, 70505, 70509, 70593, 70596, 70598
Company Zip Codes 70504
Phone Area Codes 337
Time Zone Central (-6 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 30.223
Longitude -92.019

Lafayette Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

Notes:

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station LAFAYETTE REG AP
Distance 2.7 miles
Jan Temp 42 to 62 F
Apr Temp 58 to 78 F
Jul Temp 74 to 91 F
Oct Temp 58 to 81 F
Annual Precip 62.1 inches
Station GRAND COTEAU
Distance 14.5 miles
Jan Temp 41 to 62 F
Apr Temp 56 to 79 F
Jul Temp 72 to 93 F
Oct Temp 57 to 82 F
Annual Precip 63.2 inches
Station NEW IBERIA
Distance 21.8 miles
Jan Temp 41 to 61 F
Apr Temp 58 to 78 F
Jul Temp 73 to 91 F
Oct Temp 59 to 80 F
Annual Precip 60.8 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Lafayette, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Energy Center (70598)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Breaux Bridge 8,286 $42,361
Broussard 9,637 $80,750
Carencro 8,269 $53,789
Duson 1,950 $30,521
Scott 8,865 $66,607
Youngsville 10,109 $91,181

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Lafayette Public Libraries

Library
Lafayette Parish Library
301 WEST CONGRESS STREET
Lafayette, Louisiana
(337) 261-5775
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Lafayette Hospitals

UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER
(Government - State)
2390 WEST CONGRESS
(337) 261-6000
Emergency Service: Yes

LAFAYETTE GENERAL SURGICAL HOSPITAL
(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
1000 W PINHOOK RD SUITE 100
(337) 289-8095
Emergency Service: No

PARK PLACE SURGICAL HOSPITAL
(Proprietary)
901 WILSON STREET
(337) 237-8119
Emergency Service: No

LAFAYETTE SURGICAL SPECIALTY HOSPITAL
(Proprietary)
1101 KALISTE SALOOM RD
(337) 769-4100
Emergency Service: No

LAFAYETTE GENERAL MEDICAL CENTER
(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
1214 COOLIDGE AVENUE
(337) 233-7811
Emergency Service: Yes

SOUTHWEST MEDICAL CENTER
(Proprietary)
2810 AMBASSADOR CAFFERY PARKWAY
(337) 989-6700
Emergency Service: Yes

OUR LADY OF LOURDES REG MED CENTER
(Voluntary non-profit - Church)
611 ST LANDRY STREET
(337) 289-2000
Emergency Service: Yes

WOMEN'S AND CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL
(Proprietary)
4600 AMBASSADOR CAFFERY PKWY
(337) 521-9100
Emergency Service: Yes

SOUTHPARK COMMUNITY HOSPITAL
(Proprietary)
314 YOUNGSVILLE HIGHWAY
(337) 769-2080
Emergency Service: No

HEART HOSPITAL OF LAFAYETTE
(Proprietary)
1105 KALISTE SALOON RD
(337) 521-1000
Emergency Service: Yes

These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
 
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Lafayette High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

LAFAYETTE HIGH SCHOOL
3000 WEST CONGRESS STREET
337-984-5284
Serves 2,060 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.2

O. COMEAUX HIGH SCHOOL
100 WEST BLUEBIRD DRIVE
337-984-8395
Serves 1,859 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 19

ACADIANA HIGH SCHOOL
315 RUE DU BELIER
337-984-2646
Serves 1,853 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.9

CARENCRO HIGH SCHOOL
721 WEST BUTCHER SWITCH ROAD
337-896-6192
Serves 1,435 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 16.2

NORTHSIDE HIGH SCHOOL
301 DUNAND STREET
337-232-0681
A Title I School.
Serves 1,036 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.7

LAFAYETTE CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL
516 EAST PINHOOK STREET
337-261-8981
A Non-traditional School
A Charter School.
Serves 88 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 10.4

W. D. SMITH CAREER CENTER
200 18TH STREET
337-233-2026

C.A.P.S CONTINUING ACADEMIC PROGRAM SCHOOL
516 EAST PINHOOK STREET
337-235-6721
A Non-traditional School

LAFAYETTE ALTERNATIVE PROGRAM FOR STUDENTS
516 EAST PINHOOK STREET
337-289-9759
A Non-traditional School

N. P. MOSS ANNEX
801 MUDD AVENUE
337-262-0620
A Non-traditional School

Additional Details
Lafayette Careers
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