I guess you already know that I am from Lafayette, LA. From birth, I’ve been all over North Lafayette, and called it home. I was always proud to be a part of the community of the Northside of Lafayette and my heart bleeds for my old high school—Northside High. I try to do all of my business in this area too, to contribute to its growth and wealth. Growing up, my great grandmother and grandfather owned property in an area called Fightingville—the Broussard Neighborhood—West End Heights…I spent a lot of my childhood in this neighborhood and never knew its history. I took advantage of everything around me and now—a year after moving in my great-grandmother’s home in this neighborhood; I decided to capture its history and urban beauty.
Now. I’ve done historical preservation articles/documentaries/pictures of other neighborhoods in North Lafayette such as the Freetown/Port Rico area that was so rich with history for Pre and Post Emancipation Blacks in Lafayette.
But this area is so special. I love it so much and despite the drugs and prostitution in the area that a lot of folks seem to be so obsessed about. Because of this, I tend to focus on its history and the beautiful people of the area. Some of my neighbors have been around since the 50s and 60s…the older souls with stories about when the area was a different place…has given me an idea to create some type of article/documentary about the area to help us with preservation of its history, restoring the pride of the people in the neighborhood and getting some of the negative activities out or less focused on so we can focus on building up this area of Lafayette.
When I first moved into the area a year ago, my mother told me to watch out because I lived in Fightingville. LOL. I was a bit nervous at first, but when doing business around the neighborhood, I started dipping back into my child hood memories of all of the places that I frequented as a child such as St. Paul Church with my grandfather, St. Joseph’s Diner as a High School Student and the train tracks that run along the back of my home now that are some of the busiest tracks I’ve ever been around. As a child, I used to get so excited to drive over the hill the street made to separate the tracks form the homes around…the divider between N. St. Antoine and S. St. Antoine Street. Now I drive over these tracks and feel the same way as I did years ago.
Today, I googled: ‘Fightingville’ and found this website: http://townfolk.org/about-us.html ! Finally, a group of people interested in the same thing as I am. In the Where We Are section, they state: ‘We are just a stone’s throw from Downtown Lafayette, Louisiana, the heart of Cajun and Creole country. Our neighborhood is not only the oldest in Lafayette, one of its main thoroughfares, Cameron Street, is the old state highway, and was the main east/west route through south Louisiana before I-10 was built. This community includes areas historically known as West End Heights, Fightingville, Monroe and Promised Land, La Place des Creoles, Mills Addition and Hopkins Addition and has a rich history as part of the center of Lafayette.’
If that doesn’t make anyone excited about preserving this neighborhood, I don’t know what else will. Here is the beginning of my project. I walked around and captured some photos of some of the landmarks I remember the most in the area. I also just signed up at the townfolk.org website as a volunteer. As soon as I start doing more work, this project will grow.
Here are my favorite tracks that run along Morgan Street. It separates N. and S. St. Antoine Streets and is the marker for the beginning/end of the neighborhood.
St. Paul Catholic Church in between St. John and S. Washington St. and Simcoe St.
Food World…Simcoe and South Pierce St.
Old Boustany Building/St. Joseph’s Diner and the Bishop O’Donnell Building
St. Antoine Street Cemetary–South St. Antoine Street, Simcoe and Congress Street
If you are a resident of Lafayette or someone who has been in the area, share with me your most vivid memory of this area. Share with me photos that you’ve taken in the area. Tell me how you feel about the area as of now.
What I’m Listening To: