City of Lafayette – 124,276
Lafayette Parish – 235,851
Latitude 30.2426773, Longitude -92.0127866
(DMS Lat, Long = 30° 14' 33.6383'' N, 92° 0' 46.0318'' W)
The city of Lafayette is located at the intersection of I-10 and I-49 between New Orleans and Houston—only 35 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. Lafayette is located in the center of Lafayette Parish, which is in the heart of Acadiana.
Acadiana is made up of 22 South Louisiana parishes unique primarily because of the strong French Acadian culture, language and traditions. Lafayette is the hub of the eight-parish heart of Acadiana. It includes the parishes of Acadia, Iberia, Evangeline, Lafayette, Vermilion, St. Mary, St. Martin, and St. Landry. Lafayette is the focal point of this eight-parish metro-retail area of more than 600,000 people. It is the financial, service, medical, educational, cultural, energy, and entertainment and consumer capital of Acadiana.
Many of the residents of Lafayette parish are called Acadians or “Cajuns.” The name comes from the Acadian settlers who, in 1755, were forced to leave their native Canada and find a home elsewhere. Their French-Canadian customs, language and Catholic religion came with them as did their love for merriment, strong work ethic, and ability to live off the land. About 45 percent of the people in Acadiana still speak French as a second language.
The Lafayette area was first settled in 1763 when exiled Acadians from Nova Scotia reached Louisiana. Many were assigned lands in and near Lafayette on the Vermilion River. Little had been done to settle the Teche region because of the fierceness of the Attakapas Indians, the earliest inhabitants of this region, who were feared by other Indians because they were cannibals.
In 1821 early settler Jean Mouton, a successful cotton planter, donated over five arpents of land to trustees of the Catholic congregation. The church was blessed in 1821 in the name of St. John. Mouton conceived the idea of laying out a town called Vermilionville named for the river on which it was situated. Vermilionville quickly became the center of religious and social activities.
Vermilionville was originally incorporated in 1836 and reincorporated in 1869. In 1884 the act of incorporation was amended to change the name to Lafayette.
Lafayette Parish has been as we know it today since 1823, one of the smallest parishes in the state with an area of 178,560 acres or 279 square miles. Lafayette Parish was named for the Marquis de Lafayette who fought in the American Revolution.
Lafayette Parish is bounded on the north by St. Landry Parish, on the east by St. Martin and St. Mary Parishes, on the south by Vermilion Parish, and on the west by Acadia Parish.
Lafayette’s geography provides a wide range of weather. Click here for more details and up to date weather info.