In 2023 Lafayette Parish will celebrate its bicentennial with a series of events throughout the year that honor the history of the parish and look to what the future holds.
Lafayette Parish has a long and profound history of various cultures, starting with the indigenous Atakapa-Ishak, Choctaw, Chitimacha, and Opelousa. They were some of the first to inhabit the area. About 18,000 Acadian refugees settled in the area after being expelled from Canada in 1755 when Great Britain captured the land from France. The Acadians married other native, French, Spanish, and African settlers, forming the many cultures that make up Lafayette Parish.
It has been nearly two-hundred years since we were chartered by the Louisiana Legislature in 1823. Two years earlier, in 1821, Jean Mouton, a wealthy planter donated a parcel of land to the community known as Vermilionville, for a Courthouse, and a Cathedral. Jean Mouton became known as the founder of Vermilionville, that became the city of Lafayette in 1884.
17 – Bicentennial Anniversary Declaration (Lafayette City Hall): 9:00a. Lafayette City-Parish Hall, 705 W University Ave., Lafayette, LA. Please join the governmental, cultural, and economic leaders of Lafayette Parish in a flag-raising ceremony to inaugurate the Lafayette Parish Bicentennial Year
26-29 - DC Mardi Gras: Bicentennial will be presenting and hosting the Lafayette Suite
25-31 – Cinema on the Bayou Screening Lafayette-related films on opening (The Ragin' 13) and closing (Roots of Fire) nights, the emphasis on these Lafayette films is in honor of the bicentennial. Bicentennial will also be presenting the Louisiana Night at the film Festival on Tuesday, January 31st starting at 5pm to celebrate our filmmaking culture.
1 – Cinema on the Bayou Bicentennial presents Closing Night showing of “Roots of Fire” about the local music scene and the roots of the music in the area
12 - Courir De Mardi Gras: Vermilionville, 300 Fisher Rd., Lafayette, LA 70508. Experience a traditional Mardi Gras run for the whole family with the Basile Mardi Gras Association. The event includes a film screening, live music, dancing, and more.
13 - Black History Month Celebration: Blue Monday Gospel, Blues and BBQ at Jefferson St. Pub, 500 Jefferson St., Lafayette, LA 70501. Since 2017 Love of People has hosted a monthly jam session that features their Blue Monday Allstar House Band and special guest musicians and vocalists. Anyone who mentions “Lafayette1823.org” gets ½ off the $20 ticket at the door. Doors open at 5pm and Live Music begins at 6pm
17 – Lafayette Bicentennial Friday Night Parade (Downtown Lafayette to Cajun Field): Parade starting at 6:30p with floats representing the 5 cities of Lafayette Parish
3 - Downtown Alive! Bicentennial Celebration (Downtown Lafayette) with Wayne Toups + Joe Hall & The Cane Cutters at Parc International
4, 11 & 25 – Azalea Trail - Trolley Tour of Lafayette Parish’s Historic Garden Districts (Various Locations): Take a trolley tour of Lafayette's Historic Azalea Trail thru garden districts during the Spring Bloom season. The Trolley Stop is at the Hilliard Art Museum Gift Shop in The Oil Center / University District. The historic A. Hays Town Building is the perfect setting for photo opportunities. Cost: $10 per person, cash only.
14 & 18 - SXSW - South By Southwest (Austin, TX): Bicentennial will be presenting on the 14th “Lafayette Live” showcase and on the 18th "The Official Lafayette SXSW Showcase" to promote and celebrate our music and culture with the thousands that come from all over the world for this event.
17-18 – Celtic Bayou Festival Bicentennial Celebration of Irish Culture (Hideaway on Lee): The Parish Bicentennial will present Irish musicians playing a set of Cajun and Creole traditional music, and local musicians will play Irish traditional music at this Festival that celebrates the Celtic roots in Louisiana
18 - Family Francophone Day at Vermilionville
18 - Spring RAMBLE Event - RAMBLE along Lafayette's Historic Azalea Trail and enjoy several historic treasures! We will be celebrating the Lafayette Parish Bicentennial and visiting The Historic Roy House, Menachim Aveilim Cemetery, Lafayette's Azalea Trail, The A. Hays Town Building at the Hilliard Art Museum, The Historic Map Company, Temple Shalom & an Organ Concert in the Historic First United Methodist Church. Event begins at 9 AM at The Roy House. Bring your lawn chair and a brown bag lunch for a picnic on Grand Mall in Les Jardins de Mouton! More information to follow soon.
25 - Holi Festival - Girard Park, Lafayette. Lafayette Holi Festival, started in 2011, brings Holi to Acadiana, the heart of the Cajun country. Holi is a colorful Indian festival that celebrates the coming of Spring (Girard Park, Lafayette).
1- Student Arts Expo - Acadiana Center of the Arts, 101 W. Vermilion St., Lafayette, LA 70501. Reception with area Mayors from Lafayette parish and members of the Lafayette school board celebrating the 2,000 students participating in the Student Arts Expo. The Expo runs from 10am to 5pm, beginning with a kickoff parade led by student musicians and dancers.
6 - Rhythms on the River. Town Square at River Ranch. Gregg Martinez & The Delta Kings plus Special Guests
14-16 – Scott Boudin Festival
26-30 – Festival International de Louisiane Bicentennial Celebration (Downtown Lafayette): Lauren Daigle Thursday April 27th. A talk about the ‘The Roots of Zydeco’ hosted by Herman Fuselier and on accordion Jeffery Broussard. At the Acadiana Center for the Arts on Saturday, April 29, A Celebration of Zydeco with Rockin’ Dopsie and Special Guests, MC’ed by Herman Fuselier.
29 – Ride for Rox. Annual bike ride in celebration of the life of Roxanne Richard put on by LaTrail.org
9 - Ensemble On est Lafayette: Stories of the Communities of Lafayette Parish. A talk with elders from 8 different communities that have influenced our culture and history. Personal stories, Community stories, and the interconnections that make this area so special. (Acadiana Center for the Arts)
11 - Rhythms on the River. Town Square at River Ranch. Chris Ardoin & NuStep Zydeco.
17- The Mercredi Show (Carencro) - Join us as the Bicentennial presents High Performance Band at this free, outdoor concert series at Pelican Park in Carencro. 6pm-8:30pm
9 - Special Exhibition Opening Night (Acadiana Center for the Arts) New exhibition of artists from the parish creating art based on the Marquis de Lafayette that will be curated by a guest French artist.
11 – Creole Culture Day Bicentennial Celebration of Creole Culture (Vermilionville)
Musical History of Lafayette Parish and Beyond Hosted by Herman Fuselier (Acadiana Center for the Arts)
24 - Pride Acadiana. Downtown Lafayette.
3 - Sugar Mill Pond Independence Celebration. Celebrate Independence Day with us on Saturday, July 3rd in Sugar Mill Pond. The free and family friendly event begins at 5pm and ends at 9pm. (Youngsville). There will be live music by DG & the Freetown Sound and tunes by DJ RV, kids activities, pop up vendors, food and beverages for sale and the night will conclude with a massive fireworks display!
13 – Acadian Culture Day Bicentennial Celebration of Acadian Culture (Vermilionville)
28 - CajunMan Triathlon and Duathlon - This race is a tradition, a right of passage, for all endurance fiends! 1/2 mile of swimming in Airport Lake, 20 miles of pedaling on the roads of Lafayette Parish, and finishing with a 5K running through the grounds of the Lafayette Regional Airport. Whether a beginner doing their first open water triathlon or an experienced triathlete looking for one of the best races on the Gulf Coast, this is it!!
Downtown Alive! Bicentennial Celebration featuring the premiere of Roots of Fire Documentary (Downtown Lafayette)
9 - Responder’s Race (Broussard) Full Battle Rattle Competition, 5k, 10k, and Fun Run put on by LaTrail.org. Fundraiser for First Responders of Louisiana & T.R.A.I.L.
30 - Bayou Vermilionve Festival and Boat Parade: Vermilionville, 300 Fisher Rd., Lafayette, LA 70508.
1 - SugarMan Triathlon and Duathlon (Youngsville) USAT Certified event. This is an outstanding race for spectators, with a centralized transition area offering a great view of the final 1/2-mile of the run around the lake to the dockside finish. Bring your friends and family and have them cheer you through the final stretch
13-15 – Festivals Acadiens et Creoles Bicentennial Celebration (Girard Park)
11 – Native American Day Bicentennial Celebration Lafayette Parish’s Native American Culture (Vermilionville)
27-28 – Localpalooza Bicentennial Celebration (Downtown Lafayette)
2-23 – Christmas Through the Centuries (Acadian Village)
Christmas Tree Bicentennial Decoration Competition (Downtown Lafayette)
12-13 - Old Time Winter Traditions at Vermilionville
16 - Old Time Winter Family Day at Vermilionville
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The city of Lafayette, LA is located in the center of Lafayette Parish at the intersection of I-10 and I-49 between New Orleans and Houston and only 35 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. The eight parishes that comprise the area are Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, and Vermilion. Acadiana is made up of 22 South Louisiana parishes that extend from south of Alexandria in the center of the state, to Lake Charles on the west, south of New Orleans on the east, and to the Gulf of Mexico in the south.
Lafayette, LA is at the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun & Creole Country, an area known as the ‘Happiest City in America’ and it’s no mystery. Whether your passion is for our rich cultural history, the bustling culinary scene or distinctive blend of Cajun and Zydeco music, you can be sure you will leave beaming from ear to ear. Plan your escape to the Happiest City in America.