Posted: Nov 23, 2009 7:03 AM by sleonard
Updated: Nov 23, 2009 7:03 AM
Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel recently wrapped a series of listening tours.
Hhe wanted to know what vision Lafayette residents had for the hub city in 10... 20... or 30 years.
But as one wise man said, in order to figure out where we're going, we must remember where we've been.
The year is 1955 and this is Lafayette's brand new Oil Center. It was built on land owned by Maurice Heymann and was an idea dreamt up by comrades over a friendly card game.
It turned out to be a gamble with a huge payoff.
The Oil Center quickly became the heart of Lafayette, the foundation of what Lafayette was built on and that's where Lafayette saw the birth of many of the oilfield service companies it has today. The medical industry existed although on a much smaller scale. Lourdes Hospital was growing and Lafayette General Hospital opened in 1965 in the Oil Center on land donated by Maurice Heymann.
In the early 1960s downtown Lafayette was booming. Retail stores like Heymann's and Abdalla's downtown was a shopping mecca.
Geographically, Lafayette proper was not that big just over 40 years ago.
By the way, Channel 3 is located on Eraste Landry Road just off Bertrand Drive. Heading south, Judice Inn was one of the last businesses you saw before you were in the country.
By 1968, Lafayette began to grow with the construction of the Northgate Mall off Evangeline Thruway. The oilfield was flourishing and residents were taking life one day at a time.