Sep 7, 2012 10:35 PM by Maddie Garrett
Downtown Alive! kicked off it's 30th year of free music Friday night and the downtown area was the place to be. But it wasn't always that way, and it's the free concert series that helped bring the heart of Lafayette to life.
30 years ago, downtown Lafayette wasn't the bustling hub of music, business and food it is today.
"When I got here 12 years ago it was not like this. It's just phenomenal where we've been and look at all these new businesses coming in, it's incredible," said Pat Dupuis, owner of Pat's Downtown.
Pat has watched the area flourish over the years, and says DTA takes part of the credit.
"It's really good for us, it brings a lot of people downtown, family, friends," he said.
It's hard to believe such a popular concert series got it's humble start at the small Parc de Lafayette, tucked away in downtown. From there, the concerts moved into the streets and even parking garages. Pat remembers when they used to play right in front of his restaurant.
"And it was right across the street right here. We miss that but the parks are nice too," said Pat.
Parc International and Sans Souci have been home to DTA since 2003, attracting talented artists like Kermit Ruffins year after year.
"Musicians tell us all the time they love to play here because of the space, and the crowd and the fun," said Downtown Lafayette Board President Jackie Russo.
Music lover Mark Wiltz has been coming to DTA for 20 years. He said he'll keep coming back for as long as the music plays on.
"Until the end, 'till they don't have no more and they put me out," said smiling.