Lafayette Parish stands at the epicenter of Louisiana’s Cajun & Creole Country. Our region’s history dates back to the 18th century, when Canada’s Acadians were expelled in the late 1700s and settled in Louisiana. More than two centuries later tourists come to Lafayette to get a rare taste of the genuine Cajun experience, from traditional food fixings and music to the warm southern hospitality that greets you at every turn.
The Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette tells stories of the origins, migration, settlement, and contemporary culture of the Acadians (Cajuns) and other area groups. Ranger programs, films, exhibits, and events share a variety of local traditions including music, story-telling, dance, and food, and explore the mysteries of the Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana’s wildest place.
Vermilionville is a 23-acre historic and folklife park along the banks of the Bayou Vermilion that depicts the Acadian, Creole and Native American cultures from the time period 1765 – 1890. This historic village features guided tours, costumed artisans, live music, cooking school, dance lessons, boat tours, and a gift shop that will leave you overjoyed with history and culture.
The Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in Downtown Lafayette stands as a sentinel to the faith of generations of followers. It is the third church built on the site donated by Jean Mouton in 1821, when Lafayette was the town of Vermilionville. The present Dutch Romanesque landmark, completed in 1916, is on the National Registry of Historic Properties.
The Alexandre Mouton House is a lovely house museum located in the heart of Downtown Lafayette. Original structure built in early 1800s by the found of Vermilionville, Jean Mouton. Later became home to Louisiana'’s 12th governor, Alexandre Mouton. It is now restored to its 1850s grandeur and serves as a repository of the history and culture of Acadiana.
Acadian Village is a folklife museum that offers an authentic vision of Acadian society in South Louisiana during the 19th century. Period homes of Acadian architecture have been restored to their original appearance and furnished with antiques native to the area. The Village offers year round guided tours, educational programs and artisan demonstrations.
Lafayette is known by many names-Cajun & Creole Country, Happiest City in America-but one most visitors don’t know is the Hub City. That’s in large part because Lafayette is within quick driving distances to some of the best small towns in all directions. Below is a list of places to get the Cajun Experience and experience small town culture.
St. Martinville Cultural Heritage Center
St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site
Swamp Tour at Lake Martin or the Atchafalaya Basin