One of the busiest roadways in Acadiana is Ambassador Caffery Parkway. This road was once known as New Flanders Road. Some of you who've been here long enough remember it as a gravel road. At one time, the bridge over the Vermilion River was jokingly called the "Bridge to Nowhere". I remember when Ambassador came to a three way stop in the woods at Verot School Road!
And of course Ambassador Caffery Parkway is just one of those roads that Acadiana loves to hate! The recent extension to the Zoo nearly doubled the length of the roadway. Oh how the times have changed.
What about the name? Ambassador Caffery. Well you need to go back a few years. Actually a lot of years. Jefferson Caffery was born in 1886 and raised here in Lafayette. He was a member of the first graduating class of Southwestern Louisiana Institute. You now know this as UL-Lafayette.
Prior to World War I, he was in the Foreign Service serving in Venezuela under President Taft. After the Great War he was part of the Peacemakers with Woodrow Wilson. In the 1920s, he served as the US Ambassador to Colombia. In the early 1930s he was briefly the Assistant Secretary of State under FDR, and later the Ambassador to Cuba. Even surviving an assassination attempt.
During the World War II years, he was the Ambassador to Brazil. It was there he was part of Brazil's support in the war, leading to the creation of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force. After the war he was the Ambassador to France under Roosevelt, and the the Ambassador to Egypt during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. A total of 43 years serving under eight U.S. Presidents.
He and his wife had no children. After his service, he retired in Rome, then returning to Lafayette prior to his death in 1974. He rests in St. John's Cemetery behind the Cathedral here in Lafayette.