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Saturday, 25 June 2011 00:13

Lafayette, the Cajun Capital of South Louisiana, welcomes visitors with open arms and promise of “passin’ a good time”! It is the fourth largest city in Louisiana with a population of over 250,000; boasting

a clean, safe, and hospitable environment for residents and visitors alike.

There is much to see and do; and with Interstates 10 and 49 passing through the city, getting there by automobile is no problem. The city is 2 hours from New Orleans, 3 1/2 hours from Houston, an hour from Baton Rouge, and 1 1/2 hours from Alexandria, Louisiana. Most all major attractions in Cajun Country are within 90 minutes or less.

The first settlers of the area were the Acadians who initially settled along Bayou Tech during their great immigration period 1765-1785. Eventually these people moved into the present-day Lafayette area after conflicts with European Creoles. The Spanish now ruled Louisiana as a result of the Treaty of Fountainbleau in 1762.

Following the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, Louisiana became a possession of the United States and in 1821, a weathy Acadian land-owner by the name of Mouton dontated land for the construction of a Catholic church. And two years later, the Louisiana Legislature created Lafayette Parish. The city of Vermilionville became the new parish seat with the establishment of a courhouse and in 1884 the city was renamed Lafayette in honor of the French Marquis de Lafayette.

In the 1920’s its university known as Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute became the educational center of Cajun Country. The economy shifted from agriculture to natural gas and petroleum during the 1940’s; triggering a booming and prosperous business climate. The university is now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL) and has a total enrollment of over 17,000 students.

Be sure to visit Vermillionville and the Acadian Village, reconstructed Acadian settlements with guided tours. You’ll enjoy a view and narration of how life was in 19th Century Acadiana.

Accommodations are numerous and evenings at Blue Dog Cafe’, Charley G’s, Don’s Seafood and Steakhouse, Prejean’s, Randol’s, and Cafe’ Vermillionville are poplar choices with extensive Cajun menus. Lunchtime diners should seek out places like T’Coons, La Cuisine de Maman, and Creole Lunch House. Lafayette also is known for some of the state’s finest bakeries including Poupart’s, Prejean’s Southside Bakery, and Hub City Diner.

Just as so many areas throughout Cajun Country, Lafayette hosts its share of festivals and events. Presently the Delcambre (Del’com) Shrimp Festival, August 13 through 17 where music, pageants, carnival rides, blessing of the fleet and a fais-do-do await you. Unfortunately most readers will not have had enough time to attend.

This weekend also features the Le Cajun French Music Festival and Awards Show with ceremonies honoring the best in Cajun music. There is also a 2-day dance festival. This all takes place at the Blackham Coliseum in Lafayette.

Upcoming festivals include the Gueydan Duck Festival (August 21-24). Besides the regular events this event includes a duck calling contest and skeet shooting. On August 30 in Plaisance, LA you’ll enjoy the 26th Annual Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Festival. There are smoke-free dances at La Musique de la Ville on August 28 and if you hurry you can attend the last weekend of the thoroughbred horse racing season at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas. The season will return on May 1, 2009.

For more information on the Cajun Capital of Louisiana (Lafayette) visit on line at; or better yet visit in person!


Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 July 2011 16:29