Monday, December 7, 2009 kinda town!

Happy Monday!! I am doing this post for my friend Marguerite!! She is always doing such interesting posts about her historic and beautiful town and has challenged us to do the same. Lafayette is not my hometown...but we have been here for almost 10 years and I had all three of our children here, so it does hold a special place in my heart. Marguerite, I am sorry to "Cut & Paste" photos and info...but it has been rainy yucky here and I don't like to leave my house anyway!! :D So here goes...
The above photo is from the Oil Center, which is a shopping area and full of local business. They had their Lighting Ceremony this weekend, which I wanted to go to, but it was cancelled because of bad weather Friday night, and I woke up with a sinus FACEache Saturday and just couldn't THINK...let alone leave my house!! Lafayette has TONS of shopping....if you see something you want, you better get it because it won't be there when you go back for it!! Chelle, I am not including pictures of our TWO Targets...sorry!! :D There are ALOT of RICH ppl here, because of the Oil and Gas Industry...which is why there is so many shopping centers and restaurants for such a smallish city! Wish I was independently wealthy...but I am happy as we are, so moving on....
Lafayette Louisiana was originally founded as Vermilionville in 1821 by a French-speaking Acadian named Jean Mouton. It was renamed in 1884 after the Marquis de Lafayette for his assistance to the U.S. during the Revolutionary War. The economy of Lafayette Louisiana depended upon agriculture up to the 1940s. After that time, Lafayette LA became a center for the petroleum and natural gas industry.

They have two historic villages like this. The other is Acadian Village, which is supposed to have a beautiful Christmas display...maybe we will try to go to that? Vermillionville, which is the above picture, has a nice Fall Festival of games, music, face painting and walking through the village "trick or treating" and learning about the first settlers!

The historical event of the 18th century which had the greatest cultural impact on Lafayette was the migration of the Acadians from French Canada. Approximately 18,000 French-speaking Catholic inhabitants settled Acadie (now Nova Scotia) in 1605 and lived there under French rule until 1713 when the region went into English hands.
Faced with the refusal of the Acadians to pledge allegiance to the British crown and Anglican Church, English Governor Charles Lawrence took action. Acting on his own and not under orders from the crown as he professed, he gave the orders that led to the expulsion of the Acadians in 1755, also known as "Le Grand Derangement."
Families were separated and as the Acadians went to sea under dreadful conditions, more than half lost their lives. The exiles ended up in many locations and in 1784, the King of Spain consented to allow them to settle in South Louisiana.

The majority of Lafayette is Catholic, which we are not. This church also has an active private school, which are in ABUNDANCE in Lafayette, as well as public schools. Lafayette also offers a French Immersion program, where you can send your children to a certain school (one for each level, ie. primary, secondary...high school) where they will learn their entire education in French!
And of course we have our own University. UL Lafayette, home of the Rajun Cajuns!
Cypress Lake was originally a grove of trees, this area was flooded during World War I as a water reserve to quench possible fires from air attacks. Today it is a beautiful lake unique to our campus. The lake contains alligators, bullfrogs, turtles, and an abundance of fish and cypress trees. UL Lafayette is the only university in the United States with a swamp on its campus.

Yep, you read that right...the UL campus has its own SWAMP folks!! Lots of that around here!!
This is the bridge I have to drive across EVERYTIME we go to my folks. It is 18 miles long...over water!!

The winding, mist-laden waters of the Atchafalaya Basin, teeming with its own aquaculture system, have shaped the peoples of this area as well as provided a background for much of the folklore of the area. The basin is the largest river swamp in the country and the ebb and flow of the tidal marshes was adapted into a way of life that included abundant seafood, artistry, music and most of all, a natural barrier to the outside world that allowed a language and culture to flourish in its natural surroundings.
This is located in the Downtown area, which is where the Children's Museum, Museum of History and the Planetarium, as well as tons of shopping, art galleries, restaurants, and bars.
Cajun music is the product of creolization, like most other features of Louisiana French culture. The Cajun sounds are a blend of German, Spanish, Scottish, Irish, Anglo-American, Afro-Caribbean and American Indian influences with a base of western French and French Acadian folk tradition. They are most noted for their up-beat tempos, cheerful lyrics and peculiar dance rhythms.
That is Parc International, which is where there are outdoor concerts as well as Music Festivals like Festival International and Festival Acadians. This is also where we take the kids to see "Movies in the Parc".
So as you can see...Lafayette is full of history and has TONS of kid-friendly things to do, which includes an AWESOME family-oriented Mardi Gras, which I have posted about before and will probably again. I am just now starting to take advantage of all it has to offer. So maybe as time goes on, I will post more about this town where we live! Here are some parting shots of my kids FAVORITE thing in the Downtown area!!
We can't seem to go ANYWHERE near this without going IN!! Doesn't matter time of year....or time of day!!
And here is MY favorite part of Lafayette

HOME SWEET HOME!!! This was taken last year when it snowed and stuck for a day...unlike this past weekend where it "flurried" and then started raining!! Oh well, I do live in South Louisiana..I can only expect so much!! :D Until later...


Beatrix from Kindershop said...

What a pretty town! And so much history.
I cannot believe that it flurried down in Louisiana BEFORE we up here in Michigan saw the first snowflake of the year.
Just about an hour ago some of the white stuff started coming down. And seriously, this is the first we have seen since, uhm ... April/May, or so...

Capital Mom said...

Great post! I have only been to Louisiana once and we were in and around New Orleans, but I loved it. We were there for Christmas day. It snowed and people on the streets were so excited. I was irritated. I get enough snow here, thanks. I was trying to avoid it. :-)

Chelle said...

Lafayette is absolutely breathtaking!! I really want to go there for a weekend...I need to talk to the husband for sure.

And that bridge--I know that bridge all too well! Two summers ago on one of the trips home from Houston we were stuck in traffic on that bridge!! We were all out of our cars and talking with the other drivers...kind of weird, but kind of fun :)

Great post--and I really want to visit there instead of just driving through.

Amy said...

My kids are going to be sooo jealous of the alligators! I have to show them that picture.

Rafael's Mum said...

What a fantastic post Lauranie! and THANK YOU so much for taking the trouble to do it!

It is lovely to see where you live and you have given us a good idea of the surroundings and various points as well as history!

I have added your extra points to the jar. Have you seen the other tours of Whangamata New Zealand and Edinburgh Scotland?

I am so happy with all the tours.. it's great!

I am now going to update my post with the link to your tour!!

Thanks again!!!

Catherine said...

A great tour of your town Lauranie! It is so full of history and interesting things to do and see. Not too sure about those alligators though! My favourite photo is the fountain that your kids like to play in especially the night shot. Thanks for sharing and taking the time to explain its history. Do your kids speak french? Just wondering....

Whimsical Creations said...

What a beautiful town!! I have never been to Louisiana. Lafayette sounds like a fantastic place to visit.

Kimara@weefolkart said...

I looks lovely... except for that whole swamp/alligator thing! Thanks for sharin' :)