Seniors Descend Into Cajun Country

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Lafayette is a city located along the Vermilion River in southwestern Louisiana. The city of Lafayette, right in the center of Louisiana’s “Cajun Country”, is the fourth-largest in the state, with a population just over 120,000. Lafayette is good food, good Zydeco music and good times for senior visitors.

It’s boudin for breakfast, shrimp poboys for lunch and seafood gumbo for dinner. It’s the “Tastiest Town of the South” and home of the best world music festival. I came across the Ragin Cajuns of the University of Louisiana, Lafayette softball team today playing in a national tournament.  They were ranked #6 in the country.  They play very well.

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Lafayette lies 15 miles west of the Atchafalaya Basin and 35 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico and exhibits the subtropical climate typical of south Louisiana. The city is situated in a geographical area of forests and prairies interlaced with bayous, swamps and marshes.

The first known inhabitants, the Attakapas Indians, were known to have populated the Lafayette area in the 1700s. Today senior visitors will discover a rich French heritage blended with Spanish, American, Indian and African influences. The city represents a colorful combination of lifestyles.

 Cajun and Creole Attract Senior Visitors

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Lafayette 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  became a center for the petroleum and natural gas industry. Lafayette has a strong tourism industry, attracted by the Cajun and Creole cultures of the surrounding region.

Lafayette calls itself the heart of Acadiana because the French Canadian Acadians settled in this area after escaping the oppression of the British in the early 1700’s. It’s also referred to as the unofficial capital of Cajun Country. One of the best things to do in Lafayette is to eat. The food is a mixture of spicy southern with French influence.

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 Heart of Acadiana

Wikipedia will tell you all about the city and its fascinating history. The quasi-Romanesque brick Cathedral of St. John is a major attraction in town. The Acadian Cultural Center is not to be missed telling stories of the origins, migration, settlement, and contemporary culture of the Acadians (Cajuns) and other area groups.

Then step back in time at Acadian Village, a small 19th-century Cajun bayou community, which includes genuine Cajun homes relocated and combined with recreated period buildings and a Native American museum. In downtown Lafayette the Festival International de Louisiane is the largest Francophone (French speaking) festival in the United States.

The motto of Lafayette is “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” Let the good times roll! jeb

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