Discover Lafayette’s Past – 1927 Flood Turns Town into Major Refugee Center

The Great flood of the Atchafalaya and Mississippi Rivers in 1927 was the first major flood experienced by the City of Lafayette. Heavy rains with snow melting resulted in an overflow into the already full Mississippi River and its tributaries. In May 1927, the levee at Bayou Des Glaise broke, followed by the levees in Henderson and then Melville.

Lafayette became a major refugee center for several weeks with much of the city covered with surplus tents from WWI to house people in need of shelter. The largest tent city was set up on the Lafayette Fairgrounds which is now the Municipal Golf Course. Others were also set up at the Holy Rosary Institute and Il Copal, the former home of Gov. Alexandre Mouton. Lafayette was very fortunate as only a few acres near Lake Martin were overtaken by water and the city was spared damage.

Photos obtained from Images de Lafayette, A Pictorial History, from the historic photo collection of the late O. C. “Dan” Guilliot, Clerk of Court of Lafayette Parish, Louisiana.