The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is located in Lafayette, a city of 125,000 situated in an area of south Louisiana known as Acadiana. Many of the inhabitants of Acadiana–the numerous parishes (or counties) that encompass Lafayette–are descendants of African, French and Spanish settlers.
Culturally, the region is characterized by a joie de vivre, or joy of life. Acadiana residents are known for working hard and playing hard. Fairs and festivals throughout the year celebrate everything from A to Z–alligators to zydeco music. Lafayette’s annual Festival International de Louisiane has showcased musicians from French-speaking countries from around the world.
Lafayette offers many recreational and cultural opportunities to UL Lafayette students. Girard Park, adjacent to campus, has tennis and basketball courts and a jogging path. The University’s recreational complex at Bourgeois Hall provides access to an indoor track, raquetball courts, a weight and fitness room, tennis courts, and a new outdoor Student Aquatic Center. The University Art Museum brings some of the finest art in the world to campus, such as the sculpture of Rodin, the paintings of Andrew Wyeth, and the photography of Ansel Adams.
The Natural History Museum and Planetarium is within easy reach of the University, as is the Heymann Performing Arts Center, which offers a variety of concerts and plays. The Cajundome on the South Campus hosts top entertainers and sporting events.
The Campus and University Facilities
The campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, which includes demonstration farms, recreational areas, the New Iberia Research Center, and the University Research Park, is in fact an “in-use arboretum” and reflects the beauty and culture of Acadiana. The campus today consists of 274 buildings with over 4 million square feet of building area and more than 1,300 acres of grounds. The main campus occupies 145 acres in Lafayette. The immediate environs of the University are attractive residential areas, shopping venues, and a public park.
Cypress Lake, filled with both cypress trees and alligators, lies in the very heart of campus, surrounded by the Student Union and several other buildings offering academic and support services. The oldest section of the campus consists of eight buildings arrayed around a quadrangle behind Martin Hall, the University’s main administration building. Buildings that comprise this core area of the main campus are built in the Georgian architectural style, while newer campus facilities reveal influences of Art Deco and Post Modern architecture. Bourgeois Hall, the site of recreational facilities, the Cajundome and the rest of the Ragin’ Cajun athletic complex are situated on the South Campus, a short distance from the main campus.