For a century, Louisiana has played a major role in the country’s oil and gas development, and Lafayette has served as a major spoke in the industry’s wheel. That’s why, in 1952, Lafayette businessman and philanthropist Maurice Heymann envisioned a section of town to house businesses associated with the then-burgeoning petroleum industry.

Today, the Oil Center is a hub of many businesses, from trendy restaurants and cafes to some of the city’s finest shopping venues. Of course, it’s still home to many oil-related businesses. Because of that history, the National Park Service, which manages historical sites, designated Lafayette’s Oil Center as a National Register Historic District.

It’s easy to spend a day in Lafayette’s Oil Center and nearby attractions within a short walk. We’ve compiled an itinerary to get you started.


Parish Biscuit Co

Start the day at Parish Biscuit Co. at 1120 Coolidge St. There’s more to the menu than biscuits, but you should not miss sampling those Southern breakfast favorites. Naturally, because this is Lafayette, one of the culinary epicenters of the world, those biscuits come topped with a variety of delectable ingredients. You can smother them in gravy, stuff them with bacon and eggs, or dribble them with crawfish étouffée. Parish Biscuit is open for lunch as well.



There are so many boutiques to choose from, so plan to spend the morning perusing the shops. Many specialize in home décor, women’s clothing, and specialty gifts, such as:

For that special occasion or casual wear, try Ballin’s at 321 Heymann, part of a chain throughout South Louisiana.

The Kitchenary at 456 Heymann Blvd. sells everything for the kitchen but also offers a variety of cooking classes and serves up gourmet lunch items weekdays in its café.


Five Mile Eatery

Local farm produce and fresh seasonal ingredients are what co-founders Chef Kelsey Leger and Sarah Trotter serve for breakfast and lunch Mondays through Saturdays at the new Five Mile Eatery, Market & Co-op at 317 Heymann Blvd. Best of all, they take their sustainability mission seriously, using certified compostable and/or biodegradable boxes and utensils. And there’s something for vegans and vegetarians, too.

You’ll likely be sitting next to locals at Cafe Lola at 1155 Coolidge, a weekday lunch spot popular with those who work in the Oil Center. Choose from various unique sandwiches, salads, hamburgers, and soups.

Walk About

A. Hays Town University Art Museum

With all that great food to be had in the Oil Center, a nice walk might be in order. Girard Park and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette are an easy stroll from most Oil Center restaurants and businesses.

The expansive Girard Park between the Oil Center and UL Lafayette offers various recreational spaces, a duck pond with a gazebo, and a 1.25-mile jogging/hiking trail. It is also the site of Festivals Acadiens et Créoles, held the second full weekend in October.

The park includes a 9-hole disc golf course, Parc Independence playground for those with disabilities, and historical or commemorative markers since the area was once a site of Civil War activity and the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The Hillard Art Museum on the park’s perimeter consists of two buildings: the original Greek Revival building by noted Louisiana architect A. Hays Town and the modern art gallery constructed of sea-green glass that reflects its neighbor and glows at night. After viewing revolving and permanent exhibits, check out the gift shop that sells unique items, some of which are locally made.

Dinner and Theatre

Acadiana Symphony Orchestra

After a day of exploring, relax with a traditional Italian dinner at Antoni’s Italian Café at 1118-A Coolidge St. The folks at Antoni’s have been an Oil Center staple since 1996, and diners will appreciate their expertise in serving up everything from pizza and calzones to grilled veal scaloppini.

If your taste buds demand Cajun and Creole dishes, such as fried catfish or crawfish pie, and maybe a craft cocktail or two, try Bon Temps Grill at 1211 Pinhook Road.

Finish the evening with a performance at the Heymann Performing Arts Center, which brings in traveling Broadway shows, concerts, special events, and local performing troupes such as the Lafayette Ballet and the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra.