Lafayette is located in Lafayette Parish (it is the parish seat) within the Cajun Country Region. It lies west of Baton Rouge along Interstate 10, on the banks of the Vermilion River. The city is situated among forests and prairies as well as bayous, swamps and marshes.
Lafayette's first settlers were exiled French Acadians from Nova Scotia who appeared in the late 1700s. In 1821, Acadian Jean Mouton donated land for a Catholic church. A settlement blossomed around the church and in 1823, the State Legislature created Lafayette Parish. The town of Vermilionville became the new parish seat and was renamed Lafayette in 1844 after the Marquis de Lafayette.
Lafayette is known for its Cajun and Creole cuisine, Cajun and Zydeco music, and beautiful gardens. The University of Louisiana has a campus in Lafayette. January low temperatures are in the 30s and 40s. The Gulf of Mexico generates hot, humid weather in the summer. Rainfall is 61 inches annually.
Lafayette is part of the Lafayette, Louisiana metro area.