) is a city located along the Vermilion River in southwestern Louisiana.
The city of Lafayette is the fourth-largest in the state, with a population of 120,623 at the 2010 census.
It is the principal city of the Lafayette, Louisiana Metropolitan Statistical Area, and also the larger, Combined Statistical Area of Lafayette-Opelousas-Morgan City CSA with a population of 611,774 according to 2012 estimates. The American city was founded as Vermilionville in 1821 by Jean Mouton, a French-speaking man of Acadian descent.
The city's economy was primarily based on agriculture until the 1940s, when the petroleum and natural gas industries became dominant.Lafayette is considered the center of Acadiana, the area of Cajun and Creole culture in Louisiana and the United States.It developed following the relocation of Acadians after their expulsion by the British from eastern Canada in the late 18th century following France's defeat in the Seven Years' War.There is also a strong Louisiana Creole influence in the area.) (0.19%) is water.Lafayette is located on the West Gulf Coastal Plain.
What is now Lafayette was part of the seabed during the earlier Quaternary Period.
During this time, the Mississippi River cut a 325-foot-deep (99 m) valley between what is now Lafayette and Baton Rouge.
This valley was filled and is now the Atchafalaya Basin.
Lafayette is located on the western rim of this valley.
This land, called the southwestern Louisiana Prairie Terrace, is higher up and not made of wetland like much of the surrounding areas to the south and west of Lafayette.
Because of this, Lafayette does not suffer significant flooding problems.