A time line of the landmarks and critical events in the development of Lafayette, UL, and Acadiana.

Follows is a list of some seminal events in the history of our region and our culture. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but a time line to understand the development of this community, and how we came to where we are.

If you have any suggestions of dates that should be added, log in and make comments below.

1604 First Ancestors of the Acadians arrive in Port-Royal, now Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
1607 Jamestown founded
1620 Mayflower sails
1682 LaSalle claims Louisiana
1699 Iberville founds the Colony of Louisiana


1714 Natchitoches founded (oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase)
1718 New Orleans founded
1755 Le Grand Dérangement begins in Grand Pré, Acadians stripped of all lands and possessions, and expelled from Acadie (now Nova Scotia)
1762 France cedes Louisiana to Spain
1764 Poste des Opelousas founded
1765 Poste des Attakapas (St. Martinville) founded
1765 First Acadians arrive in Louisiana; Dauterive Compact signed
1770 (circa) First European setters in Lafayette Parish: Andrew Martin (Acadian exile), Jean & Marin Mouton settle on Bayou Carencro
1776 Declaration of Independence signed
1779 Acadian militia support American Revolution by participating in Galvez' siege of Baton Rouge in British West Florida
1779 New Iberia founded by Spanish
1785 Thibodaux region settled
1791 Haitian Slave Revolt; 10,000 Creoles flee, many eventually arrive in Louisiana
1793 Diocese of Louisiana created from Diocese of Havana


1803 Louisiana Purchase; Lafayette region becomes part of the United States (Cajuns & New Orleans Creoles comprise first large Latin communities in the US?) Purchase generates part or all of 15 eventual states: Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma and New Mexico
1804 Louisiana organized as territory
1807 St. Martin Parish formed
1812 Louisiana becomes 18th State
1819 Baton Rouge and Florida Parishes ceded by Spain, join the United States
1821 Church Parish of Lafayette founded
1823 Lafayette Parish separated from St. Martin Parish
1824 Lafayette first incorporated as Vermilionville
1830 Parish Pop. 5,653
1836 Police Jury initiates 5 roads from Vermilionville (Lafayette), making it "The Hub City"
1840 Parish Pop. 7,841 (38% growth)
1843 Abbeville founded
1844 Vermilion Parish separates from Lafayette Parish
1850 Parish Pop. 6,720 (14% decline; the only decline in Lafayette's history)
1850 Diocese of New Orleans created
1850 Railroad reaches Morgan City
1859 Ville Platte incorporated
1856 Hurricane kills 200
1860 Parish Pop. 9,003 (34% growth)
1861 Louisiana secedes, Civil War begins
1865 Civil War ends
1869 Vermilionville re-incorporated
1870 Parish Pop. 10,888, (21% growth) City 777
1878 Railroad reaches Vermilionville (Lafayette)
1880 Parish Pop. 13,285 (22% growth) City 815 (5% growth)
1883 1st train through Vermilionville (Lafayette)
1884 Vermilionville becomes Lafayette
1890 Parish Pop. 15,966 (20% growth) City 2,106 (158% growth)
1893 Hurricane kills 2,500
1893 First public demonstration of electricity at Chicago World's Fair
1897 Bond election for water & electricty creates Lafayette Utility System
1898 UL founded as SLII (Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute)


1900 Parish Pop. 22,825 (43% growth) City 3,314 (57% growth) Opelousas: 2,951; Crowley, 4,214; New Iberia, 6,815; Breaux Bridge, 654; St. Martinville, 1,926; Abbeville, 1,536
1900 Edwin Stephens selected as first UL president
1901 UL opens, Old Martin Hall opens
1901 UL plays first football game against Opelousas High
1902 UL Foster Hall opens
1902 UL plays first collegiate football game against LSU
1902 First high school opens in Lafayette
1902 Lafayette is first in state with parish-wide tax for public education; also first to establish consolidated schools and to transport pupils at public expense
1904 UL introduces telecommunications (telegraphy)
1904 Oldest surviving issue of UL's The Vermilion is published, with the motto from Victor Hugo, "Ceux Qui Vivent Ce Sont Ceux Qui Luttent" (Those who live are those who struggle)
1905 UL Declouet Hall opens
1905 Carencro incorporated
1910 Parish Pop. 28,733 (26% growth) City 6,392 (92% growth)
1915 1st gravel road in Lafayette
1915 St. John Cathedral opens
1917 US enters World War I
1918 Germany surrenders, World War I ends
1918 Diocese of Lafayette created (third Louisiana Diocese after New Orleans & Natchitoches)
1920 Parish Pop. 29,858 (4% growth) City 7,855 (23% growth)
1921 SLII elevated to college, becomes Southwestern Louisiana Institute
1923 UL Girard Hall opens
1925 UL Lee Hall opens
1927 UL Buchanon Hall, Judice Hall open
1927 Scott gets electricity
1927 Flood of '27, 200,000 homeless, Lafayette is high ground, used as staging area, brings in outsiders
1928 First Cajun music recording published, "Allons à Lafayette" by Joseph and Cléoma Falcon
1928 First paved road in Lafayette
1930 Parish Pop. 38,827 (30% growth) City, 14,635 (86% growth)
1932 Long finishes new state capital after 16 months of construction for a cost of $5M
1934 Don's Beer Parlor founded; becomes Don's Seafood & Steakhouse, first Cajun "fine dining" restaurant
1935 UL OK Allen Hall opens
1938 Lethar Frazar becomes second UL president, in three years triples campus buildings to 22
1940 Parish Pop. 43,941 (13% growth) City 19,210 (31% growth)
1941 Joel Fletcher becomes third UL president
1941 Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, US enters World War II
1944 With Alvin Dark as Quarterback, UL beats Arkansas A&M (Arkansas-Monticello) in the Houston Oil Bowl, 24-7
1945 Japan surrenders, World War II ends
1947 After decline of local music from the strong Americanizing influence before and through WWII, Iry Lejeune leads Cajun music revival with recording of "Love Bridge Waltz"
1950 Parish Pop. 57,743 (31% growth) City 33,541 (75% growth) Opelousas 11,659; Crowley, 12,784 New Iberia, 16,467; Breaux Bridge 2,492; St. Martinville 4,614; Abbeville 9,338
1952 Oil Center founded by Maurice Heymann
1954 Brown v Board of Education; 3 months after ruling, UL becomes 1st college in the country to comply, first historically white school in South to significantly & permanently desegregate
1957 The State Board of Education approves Master of Science degrees at UL in Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering, paving the way for elevation to university status; Computer Science program is one of the first in the nation
1957 Hurricane Audrey kills 419+
1958 UL Faculty Senate is created
1960 Parish Pop. 84,656 (47% growth) City (20% growth) 40,400
1960 UL elevated to University, becomes University of Southwestern Louisiana
1960 Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival begins
1961 UL acquires first digital computer
1963 "Ragin' Cajun Bulldogs" first used
1963 KATC receives bill erroneously addressed to "Acadiana Television Corp"; KATC begins promoting term "Acadiana"
1963 KRVS ("The Radio Voice of Southwestern") begins broadcasting
1964 The Balfa Brothers are a last minute substitution at the Newport Folk Life Festival, become an international sensation & introduce Cajun music to the world
1965 Acadiana flag designed by Thomas Arceneaux, largely based on UL official seal
1966 Clyde Rougeau becomes fourth UL president
1968 CODOFIL (The Council for the Development of French in Louisiana) founded by James Domengeaux
1969 Hurricane Camille kills 259+
1969 City opens The Lafayette Natural History Museum & Planetarium and the Center for Environmental Studies, today The Lafayette Science Museum
1969 UL establishes current PhD programs in Computer Science, Mathematics, Biology, English; also History, Microbiology and Statistics, but these three discontinued later
1970 Parish Pop. 111,745 (32% growth) City (70% growth) 68,908
1970 Football games begin at $4.5M Cajun Field
1970 UL loses Grantland Rice Bowl to Tennessee State, 26-25
1971-72 & 1972-73 UL basketball teams ranked in Top 10 in US
1971 Legislature officially defines Acadiana as 22 parishes in South Louisiana
1971 LEDA (Lafayette Economic Development Authority) founded
1972 UL graduates first PhD, in Computer Science to Dr. John C. Peck (now Professor Emeritus from Clemson)
1972 Louisiana Native Crafts Festival begins
1973 NCAA gives UL basketball program 'The Death Penalty' for 2 years
1973 Ray Authément becomes Acting President of UL (confirmed in 1974)
1973 UL's Press, The Center for Louisiana Studies established
1973 Atchafalaya Freeway opens
1974 "Ragin' Cajuns" becomes official UL sports nickname
1974 UL acquires Van de Graaf accelerator from NASA
1974 UL joins NCAA Division I for all sports
1974 Tribute to Cajun Music Festival begins
1975 Acadiana Arts Council founded
1974 UL's Center for Louisiana Studies is established
1975 UL Stephens Library converted to computer center
1976 Tribute to Cajun Music Festival and Native Crafts Festival merge, become forerunner of Festivals Acadiens
1978 Legislature funds $18M for Cajundome
1978 UL alumnus & Yankees pitcher Ron Guidry wins Cy Young Award
1979 Paul Prudhomme opens K-Paul's in the French Quarter
1979 Acadiana Mall opens
1980 Parish Pop. 150,017 (35% growth) City 81,961 (19% growth)
1980 UL College of General Studies established
1981 Alfred Lamson begins 5-year drive to raise $10 million for UL Foundation
1981 Novelist Ernest Gaines becomes Writer-In-Residence at UL
1981 UL creates first master's in Computer Engineering in southeast US
1982 UL, LSU & Tulane become charter members of NCAA Division 1A; in 1st 1A football game, UL upsets Rice of then-Southwest Conference, 21-14
1982 Queen Ida (Guillory) becomes first Creole musician to win Grammy in Folk Music category
1984 Clifton Chenier wins Grammy in Folk Music category
1984 End of Police Jury
1984 Oil Bust begins; UL President Authément urges faculty to find ways to support community*
1984 UL Center for Advanced Computer Studies (CACS) created
1984 *Acadiana Symphony founded
1984 USL becomes The University of Louisiana for three weeks
1984 UL acquires Gulf South Research Institute (now the NIRC), one of the largest primate centers in the world
1985 Cajundome opens
1986 UL adds PhD program in Computer Engineering
1987 *Festival International begins
1988 UL awards first doctorate degree in Computer Engineering
1989 UL Center for Advanced Computer Studies connects to the Internet
1989 Now-Congressman Dr. Charles Boustany performs open-heart surgery on President Authément
1990 Parish Pop. 164,762 (10% growth) City 94,440 (14% growth)
1990 UL English & Honors faculty Patricia and Milton Rickels named Louisiana "Humanists of the Year"
1990 *Enterprise Center of Louisiana created
1992 National Wetlands Research Center becomes first tenant in UL Research Park
1992 UL becomes first Louisiana university to reach SREB Doctoral II category
1993 Ernest Gaines named Louisiana "Humanist of the Year"
1993 Softball team makes first of five Women's College World Series appearances, finishes #3 nationally
1994 UL adds PhD program in Francophone Studies, first in western hemisphere
1995 Legislative Act 45 renames 'The Board of Trustees for State Colleges and Universities' to 'The University of Louisiana System,' paving the way for USL to become the University of Louisiana
1996 Lafayette Consolidated Government created from merger of city and parish governments
1996 UL receives $10M federal EETAP grant, largest research grant in University history
1996 UL named one of four NASA Regional Application Centers in US
1996 UL defeats No. 25 Texas A&M 29-22, first football win over ranked opponent
1997 UL establishes MEPoL, Louisiana's Manufacturing Extension Service
1997 UL enrollment surpasses 17,000 for first time in University history
1998 UL adds PhD program in Cognitive Sciences, only such program in South
1998 Michael Doucet and Beausoleil become first Cajun musicians to win Grammy
1999 USL becomes The University of Louisiana at Lafayette; Northeast Louisiana University becomes UL-Monroe
1999 UL implements selective admissions


2000 Parish Pop. 190,503 (16% growth; but see revision, 2007) City 110,257 (16% growth) Opelousas 18,151; Crowley 13,983; New Iberia 31,828; Breaux Bridge 6,515; St. Martinville 7,137; Abbeville 11,187
2000 UL Dowty Foundation Building opens
2000 UL baseball reaches College World Series, wins more games than any debut team in modern era, finishes #6 nationally
2000 South Louisiana Community College opens as a result of years of leadership by UL
2001 UL historian Glenn Conrad named Louisiana "Humanist of the Year"
2001 Al Qaeda destroys New York's Twin Towers, 9/11
2001 UL adds PhD program in Applied Language and Speech Sciences
2004 Kathleen Blanco becomes first Louisiana governor to have graduated from UL System
2004 Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum opens
2004 UL's CajunBot selected by DARPA as one of 15 vehicles to compete for $1M
2005 UL historian Carl Brasseaux named Louisiana "Humanist of the Year"
2005 Hurricanes Katrina & Rita hit Louisiana
2005 Moody Hall opens
2005 LUS Fiber to the Home (FTTH) bond issue passes
2005 Louisiana: Currents of Change, written and directed by UL's Charles Richard, wins duPont-Columbia Award
2006 UL adds EdD in Educational Leadership
2006 LITE supercomputing & visualization center opens
2007 US Census Bureau revises Parish population to 210,988 (28% growth)
2007 LUS FTTH defeats BellSouth in State Supreme Court
2007 Leon Moncla Indoor Practice Facility opens at UL Athletics Complex
2007 UL students launch satellite, first Louisiana university to do so
2008 UL external research funding tops $50M
2008 UL one of 20 teams worldwide selected for the US DOE Solar Decathlon; UL begins Beausoleil Solar Home
2008 UL architect Michael McClure and wife Ursula win Rome Prize
2008 UL Eminent Writer-In-Residence Rikki Ducornet wins Academy Award from the National Academy of Arts & Letters
2008 Dr. E. Joseph Savoie becomes UL's 6th president
2008 UL Professor Barry Jean Ancelet wins the Américo Paredes Prize awarded by the American Folklore Society
2008 UL names The Ray P. Authément College of Sciences
2009 LUS Fiber to the Home goes live, gives Lafayette the fastest community intranet in the world 
2009 UL folklorist Barry Jean Ancelet named Louisiana "Humanist of the Year"; Charles Richard wins "Humanities Documentary of the Year" and The Friends of the Humanities wins "Chair's Award for Institutional Support" (article)
2009 UL filmmaker Charles Richard wins Aurora Award for writing & co-producing LPB's documentary, Louisiana Story: The Reverse Angle 
2009 UL's Beausoleil Solar Home selected as one of 20 worldwide to compete in the US Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon; places first in marketability, and win's People's Choice Award