Highway Ford in Deridder, Louisiana is proud to serve Lafayette, Louisiana and the surrounding areas. Lafayette has many nicknames; the “Heartbeat of Acadiana,” the “Capital of Cajun Country,” or the “Hub City.” All of these nicknames refer to Lafayette being the center (or hub) of Acadiana. The “center” refers to the cultural and historical significance Lafayette has for the development and celebration of the Acadian traditions.
Lafayette was founded as Vermilionville in 1821. However, it was renamed Lafayette in 1884 for General Lafayette who fought during the American Revolutionary War. Although the city is no longer called Vermilionville, this name still has meaning to the people who live in here. The Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folk life Park has been named to represent life in the city when it was known as such.
The Vermilionville Museum has many different features that exhibit Acadian life as it was in the 1800’s. One of the most authentic aspects of the museum is the Acadian Village which is the collection of restored Acadian original homes reminiscent of the past. In addition to these homes, there is also a Chapel and a Schoolhouse to see. In these remodeled houses, there are modern artists’ performing crafts of the Acadian people in authentic costumes to create a more genuine feel to the environment. When visitors interact with these people, they are surprised to hear them speaking with French accents as well!
Vermilionville has a museum that exhibits different displays of Acadian lifestyles and history as well as other historical displays of “Cajun Country.” These displays highlight the history of Acadians by showing the mixture of French, Spanish, African American, and Native American heritages that merged to form the culture of the Acadians. To make a visit complete to Vermilionville, there is also a restaurant, “La Cuisine de Maman,” and a gift shop!
In Louisiana, Mardi Gras is not just a Holiday; it is a celebration and an essential part of the culture of this area. In Lafayette, Le Festival de Mardi Gras á Lafayette is the second largest Mardi Gras celebration in the state of Louisiana, next to New Orleans. Organized by the Greater Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras Association, the festival runs for 5 days and includes everything from music, food, parades and more.
Aside from this festival, Lafayette also hosts other festivals and has other attractions to visit while in the city. One notable festival is the Festival Acadians et Creoles. Celebrating the rich history of the people of Lafayette, this Festival provides music, food, and plenty of entertainment. Much like Mardi Gras, this festival provides fun and entertainment that illustrates the importance of the culture and traditions of the Creoles.
If you do not want to wait for a festival or fair to learn and understand the history of Acadians, you can visit the Acadian Culture Center located within the National Park Service in Lafayette. This Museum illustrates the origins of the Acadians’, from the settlement into the area to their everyday lifestyle. It also highlights how contemporary Acadian’s have integrated modern society with their Acadian traditions through displays and exhibits.
Lafayette is full of exciting history and culture that makes it an interesting and fun place to visit. The “Cajun Culture” is unique and defines the people of the area. Lafayette, being the “Heartbeat of Acadiana,” exemplifies the culture and tradition of the Creoles and furthermore commemorates this like only those who were born in the hub of “Cajun Country.” Highway Ford is proud to service the area of Lafayette and surrounding areas, and is excited to see what comes next in the city that is at the heart of it all!
Photo Taken by Richard Byrd
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18982 Johnny B. Hall Memorial Hwy. Deridder, LA 70634