kids encyclopedia robot

Lafayette, Louisiana facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Lafayette, Louisiana

Ville de Lafayette, Louisiane
City of Lafayette
Hub City
From upper left: Statue in front of downtown fire station, oak-lined street in the university district, Downtown Lafayette, Cajundome, and University of Louisiana at Lafayette quad.
The Hub City
The Heart of Cajun Country
Country  United States
State  Louisiana
Parish Lafayette
Founded 1821 as Vermilionville
Renamed 1884 as Lafayette
Founded by Jean Mouton
Named for General Gilbert du Motier, Marquis De Lafayette
 • Type Consolidated City-Parish
 • City Total 49.2 sq mi (127 km2)
 • Land 49.1 sq mi (127 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)  auto%
 • Metro
5,252 sq mi (13,600 km2)
36 ft (11 m)
 • City Total 120,623
 • Estimate 
 • Rank US: 214th
 • Density 2,482.3/sq mi (958.4/km2)
 • Urban
252,720 (US: 148th)
 • Metro
490,488 (US: 108th)
 • CSA
627,146 (US: 77th)
Demonym(s) Lafayettiens
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
70501–9, 70593, 70596, 70598
Area code(s) 337

Lafayette is a city located along the Vermilion River in southwestern Louisiana. The city of Lafayette is the fourth-largest in the state, with a population of 120,623 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Lafayette, Louisiana Metropolitan Statistical Area, and also the larger, Combined Statistical Area of Lafayette-Opelousas-Morgan City CSA with a population of 611,774 according to 2012 estimates. Lafayette is the parish seat of Lafayette Parish, Louisiana. Its nickname is The Hub City.

The American city was founded as Vermilionville in 1821 by Jean Mouton, a French-speaking man of Acadian descent. In 1884, it was renamed for General Lafayette, who fought with and significantly aided the American Army during the American Revolutionary War. The city's economy was primarily based on agriculture until the 1940s, when the petroleum and natural gas industries became dominant.

Lafayette is considered the center of Acadiana, the area of Cajun and Creole culture in Louisiana and the United States. It developed following the relocation of Acadians after their expulsion by the British from eastern Canada in the late 18th century following France's defeat in the Seven Years' War. There is also a strong Louisiana Creole influence in the area.



Lafayette is located at 30°13′N 92°2′W / 30.217°N 92.033°W / 30.217; -92.033 (30.2139, -92.0294) and has an elevation of 36 feet (11.0 m). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 49.2 square miles (127 km2), of which 49.1 square miles (127 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.19%) is water.

Lafayette is located on the West Gulf Coastal Plain. What is now Lafayette was part of the seabed during the earlier Quaternary Period. During this time, the Mississippi River cut a 325-foot-deep (99 m) valley between what is now Lafayette and Baton Rouge. This valley was filled and is now the Atchafalaya Basin. Lafayette is located on the western rim of this valley.

This land, called the southwestern Louisiana Prairie Terrace, is higher up and not made of wetland like much of the surrounding areas to the south and west of Lafayette. Because of this, Lafayette does not suffer significant flooding problems, outside of local flash flooding, or other high water levels which prevent the Vermilion River or other waterways from their usual southward flow. The Vermilion River runs through the center of Lafayette. Other significant waterways in the city are Isaac Verot Coulee, Coulee Mine, Coulee des Poches and Coulee Ile des Cannes, which are natural drainage canals that lead to the Vermilion River.

Image gallery


Lafayette's climate is described as humid subtropical using Köppen climate classification. Lafayette is typical of areas along the Gulf of Mexico in that it has hot, humid summers and mild winters. (See table below for average temperatures for Lafayette.)

Climate data for Lafayette, Louisiana
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 89
Average high °F (°C) 64
Average low °F (°C) 43
Record low °F (°C) 10
Precipitation inches (mm) 5.0
Source: Weatherbase


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 498
1870 777 56.0%
1880 815 4.9%
1890 2,106 158.4%
1900 3,314 57.4%
1910 6,392 92.9%
1920 7,855 22.9%
1930 14,635 86.3%
1940 19,210 31.3%
1950 33,541 74.6%
1960 40,400 20.4%
1970 68,908 70.6%
1980 80,584 16.9%
1990 94,440 17.2%
2000 110,257 16.7%
2010 120,623 9.4%
2015 (est.) 127,657 5.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
Lafayette Louisiana Stjohnchurch
St John's Cathedral of Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette in Louisiana

As of the census of 2010, there were 120,623 people, 43,506 households, and 27,104 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,316.7 people per square mile (894.5/km²). There were 46,865 housing units at an average density of 984.7 per square mile (380.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 68.23% White, 28.51% African American, 0.25% Native American, 1.44% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.58% from other races, and 0.97% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.88% of the population. In 2010, 84.2% of the population over the age of five spoke English at home, and 11.5% of the population spoke French or Cajun French, a dialect that developed in Louisiana.

There were 43,506 households out of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.9% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.7% were non-families. Nearly 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the city, the population was spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 13.3% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,996, and the median income for a family was $47,783. Males had a median income of $37,729 versus $23,606 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,031. About 11.6% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.3% of those under age 18 and 14.5% of those age 65 or over.

Culture and contemporary life

Cultural Organizations and Institutions

Cultural organizations include the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra and Conservatory of Music, Chorale Acadienne, Lafayette Ballet Theatre and Dance Conservatory, The Lafayette Concert Band, and Performing Arts Society of Acadiana.


Another view of the Cajundome in Lafayette, LA IMG 5005
The Cajundome

Lafayette is home to the Louisiana–Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns, the athletic teams of The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. It is home to the Louisiana Hurricanes, a semi-pro football team that plays at STM Stadium. Between the years of 1995 and 2005, Lafayette was home to the Louisiana IceGators ECHL hockey team. In 2009, the IceGators returned as a member of the Southern Professional Hockey League until 2016. Also from 2009 to 2012, Lafayette was home to the Lafayette Wildcatters of the Southern Indoor Football League. It is also home to the Lafayette Bayou Bulls, a semi-pro football program that started in 2003. Lafayette is home to three sports venues: the Cajundome, Cajun Field and Blackham Coliseum.

Blue Moon Lost Bayou Ramblers HRoe 2008
The Lost Bayou Ramblers playing at the Blue Moon Saloon




Lafayette is served by Cox Communications, and by Lafayette Utilities System's LUSFiber.

Lafayette is home to:

  • KATC: 3.1, Cable 5 - (ABC); 3.2, Cable 10 (The CW, 3.3 Grit)
  • KLFY-TV 10.1, Cable 11 - (CBS); 10.2, Cable 131 (GetTV); 10.3 Cable 70 (Ion Television)
  • KADN-TV 15.1, Cable 6 - (Fox); 15.3, Cable 13 (MyNetworkTV)
  • KDCG-CD 22.1, Cable 9 - (H&I)
  • KLAF-LD 46 / 15.2, Cable 3 - (NBC)
  • KLWB, 50.1, Cable 23 - (MeTV)
  • KLPB-TV, 24.1, Cable 12/122/123 - (PBS) Louisiana Public Broadcasting
  • KXKW-LD 32.1 (This), 32.2 - (AntTV)
  • KAJN-CD 40.1, Cable 97 - Family Vision

Lafayette is also served by:


See List of Lafayette radio stations for full list. Popular radio stations in Lafayette:

  • KYBG (FM), 102.1 - BIG102.1 Classic Hits (102.1)
  • KFTE (FM), Planet Radio 105.1 - Alternative and Modern Rock (105.1)
  • KMDL(FM), 97.3 The Dawg - Country Music, New Orleans Saints radio network affiliate (97.3)
  • KPEL (AM), ESPN 1420 - Sports Radio (1420)
  • KPEL-FM (FM), NewsRadio 96.5 - News radio (96.5)
  • KHXT (FM), Hot 107.9 - Rhythmic Contemporary (107.9)
  • KZJM (LPFM), The People Station - Urban Contemporary (92.7) - Air Date:2005
  • KROF (AM), 960 The Gator, Cajun Variety (960)
  • KTDY (FM), 99.9 KTDY, Adult Contemporary (99.9)
  • KSMB (FM), 94.5 KSMB, Top 40 (CHR) (94.5)
  • KNEK-FM (FM), Magic 104.7, Urban AC (104.7)
  • KRRQ (FM), Q 95.5, Urban Contemporary (95.5)
  • KXKC (FM), 99.1 KXKC, Country Music (99.1)
  • KYFJ (FM), Rock 93.7, Active Rock (93.7)
  • KRVS (FM), Public Radio for Acadiana, World Ethnic (88.7)
  • KAJN-FM (FM), Agape Radio, Contemporary Christian (102.9)
  • KIKL (FM), Positive and Encouraging K-Love, Contemporary Christian (90.9)
  • KLWB-FM (FM),103.7 The Game, NBC Sports Radio
  • KCKR-FM (FM), Sonlife Radio, Christian Talk & Gospel Music (91.9)

Places of interest

  • Acadiana Center for the Arts
  • Acadian Village is a reconstructed Cajun bayou community (of moved and reassembled authentic buildings) and has a representative collection of Cajun furnishings
  • Alexandre Mouton House Museum - a historic house museum, this was the home to Louisiana's first Democratic governor, Alexandre Mouton; contains a collection of antiques, historical documents, and old Mardi Gras costumes
  • Borden's Ice Cream – the last Borden's Ice Cream location in the United States
  • Cité des Arts
  • Downtown Lafayette
  • Girard Park
  • Heymann Center – performing arts center
  • Acadian Cultural Center of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
  • Lafayette Natural History Museum & Planetarium
  • Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (LITE) - a 70,000-square-foot facility at the Research Park; owns the world's first six-sided, digital virtual reality cube as well as the world's largest digital 3-D auditorium
  • Katog Choling Tibetan Cultural Center
  • Zoo of Acadiana – located nearby in Broussard


  • Festivals Acadiens et Creoles - An annual collection of festivals celebrating Cajun and Creole cultures.
  • Festival International de Louisiane - An annual international festival of arts and music, celebrating Lafayette and the surrounding area's French heritage.
  • Le Festival de Mardi Gras à Lafayette - The second largest Mardi Gras celebration in Louisiana.
  • Hopefest - A charity festival put on by high school students in the area


  • Air: Lafayette Regional Airport (LFT) is located on US Highway 90, on the southeast side of the city with daily scheduled passenger airline services to Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, and Atlanta. Charter services depart Lafayette Regional as well as helicopter services and cargo jets.
  • Interstate Highway: I-10 and I-49 (Lafayette serves as I-49's southern terminus, at its intersection with I-10)
  • Passenger rail: The Amtrak Sunset Limited offers service three days a week from New Orleans, Louisiana and Los Angeles, California with selected stops in Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Connections are available in New Orleans to Chicago and to the East Coast via Atlanta. Service eastward to Orlando, Florida remains suspended in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
  • Intercity passenger bus: Greyhound operates a station downtown on Lee Avenue with destinations east and west on I-10, north on I-49 and southeast on US Hwy 90
  • Public transit: Lafayette Transit System (formerly City of Lafayette Transit (COLT)) provides bus service. Public transportation is provided only within Lafayette City Limits.
  • Bicycle facilities: Lafayette is dedicated to growing into a bicycle-friendly community, with a strong push from both the community and government. The Lafayette MPO Bicycle Subcommittee meet once a month and has developed long-term goals for bicycling in the area. BikeLafayette is the areas's bicycle advocacy organization that is very active in promoting bicycle awareness, safety, and education in Acadiana. TRAIL is an organization that promotes bicycling, canoeing, and pedestrian activities. Right now Lafayette has a growing number of dedicated commuter and recreational bicycling facilities, including a bicycle lane on each side of Johnston Street from UL-Lafayette area at Lewis Street to near Ambassador Caffery, ending at Ridge Road. Henderson Levee has opened a 55-mile trail, and there is a mountain bike park in Acadiana Park. UL-Lafayette has installed an off-road paved bicycle path beginning at its Horticultural Center on Johnston Street extending up Cajundome Boulevard to Eraste Landry Road. A number of out of use bicycle/pedestrian sidewalk paths remain from the 1970s and 1980s but are unsigned. A recreational trail extending from Downtown Lafayette into the Cypress Island region of Saint Martin Parish is under development. This path will connect neighboring Breaux Bridge and Saint Martinville with Lafayette.
  • Main road arteries: U.S. Routes 90 (co-signed with Evangeline Thruway, Mudd Avenue and Cameron Street within the city limits) and U.S. Route 167 (co-signed with I-49, Evangeline Thruway and Johnston Street). Ambassador Caffery Parkway, named for Jefferson Caffery, serves as a partial loop connecting I-10 at Exit 100 on the west and US 90 on the south. Other arterial roads include Verot School Road (LA 339), West Congress Street, Kaliste Saloom Road (LA 3095), Ridge Road, Carmel Drive/Breaux Bridge Highway (LA 94), University Avenue (LA 182), Pinhook Road (LA 182), Camellia Boulevard, Guilbeau Road, Moss Street, Willow Street, Louisiana Avenue, Pont Des Mouton Road, Eraste Landry Road, and South College Road.

Sister cities

Lafayette has six sister cities:

Six intersections in the downtown area are each named after one of its sister cities.

Images for kids

kids search engine
Lafayette, Louisiana Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.