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Are you familiar with the story of the Marquis de Lafayette, the man Lafayette, Louisiana is named after?
The Marquis de Lafayette was a hero of the American Revolutionary War, having served under General George Washington in several crucial battles. He was only 19 years old when he came to the states and he had no previous combat experience.
After the war, he returned to France and entered the political realm championing the ideals of liberty that America embodied. President James Monroe invited Lafayette to tour the United States, to instill the “spirit of 1776” in the next generation of Americans and to celebrate the nation’s 50th anniversary.
Lafayette visited all of the American states and was received with a hero’s welcome, traveling more than 6,000 miles, and accompanied by his son Georges Washington de La Fayette, named after George Washington.
When the Louisiana legislature divided St. Martin parish in 1824, it created Lafayette Parish. The parish name Lafayette was chosen due to the enthusiasm of the Marquis de Lafayette’s visit to the United States.
However, the city’s name remained Vermilionville due to the fact that the name “Lafayette” had been already given to a suburb of New Orleans. Eventually, in 1884, Vermilionville became Lafayette, and joined dozens of other cities, counties, schools, and public squares named in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette.
Thanks to our Premier sponsor, Rally Marketing, for supporting our efforts to share Lafayette’s past so as to inspire pride in our community and knowledge of those who came before us!