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A look at the significance of celebrating Lafayette Parish's 200th anniversary

Lafayette Parish Bicentennial
Posted at 12:16 PM, Apr 28, 2023

LAFAYETTE, La. — In 1823, the Louisiana Legislature chartered Lafayette and two hundred years later, it is celebrating its Bicentennial at the 37th Festival International de Louisiane.

A special evening with Lafayette's own Lauren Daigle was part of the opening celebrations on Thursday night.

KATC spoke with Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission and the Bicentennial event coordinator about the 200th year festivities.

Sami Parbhoo, Bicentennial Coordinator, explains why Festival International is so influential in representing Lafayette's culture and music.

"I think it is such an important part of what makes Lafayette special. I feel for a city the size of Lafayette to have this much international culture coming through, it's so violate. It opens up people's minds we know more and kids at a young age can see different cultures and different styles of music," Parbhoo said.

Festival international has substantial economic impact on Lafayette's growth according to Ben Berthalot, President and CEO of Lafayette Travel.

"Number 1, around 48% of total sales of the festival came outside of Lafayette Parish, so that's very important for what we do in the visitor economy to have that new money coming into our community," said Berthalot.

"So it's not just our locals who are enjoying but people from all around the world and secondly, an overall economy impact of $51 million dollars to our community, so that's pretty impressive."

Lafayette Parish has a long and diverse history of welcoming and integrating different cultures and communities. This began with the earliest inhabitants of the area, the Atakapa-Ishak, Choctaw, Chitimacha, and Opelousas people.

"We have such a diverse and multifaceted culture that all comes together to make what we call this community so special," said Parbhoo. "I'm so proud we are celebrating it. It's worthy of celebrating and over the two hundred years look where we are now, it's great."

For a full list of Bicentennial events going on this year, click here.