COPYRIGHT 2020 © PRESERVATION ALLIANCE OF LAFAYETTE
In 1939, the construction of a second city hall building for Lafayette was made possible with funding from the Federal Public Works Administration, one of President Roosevelt’s New Deal Agencies. The property was acquired from the Lafayette School Board. It was the site of Lafayette’s first public high school building, which had recently been replaced due to foundation failure. The building site location signifies Lafayette central business district’s expansion southwardly toward the college and the suburban growth occurring further south along Johnston Street. During the previous century, Lafayette’s central business district had shifted northwardly from the Parish Courthouse and St. John Cathedral toward the railroad depot. At the time this building was built, Louisiana had just built its new Art Deco Capitol building and Lafayette followed suit, selecting the progressive, Art Deco style for their city hall building. From the early 1800’s Lafayette had solidified its role as the central hub throughout the Acadiana region for distribution of goods and services by building roads to the edge of the parish borders. By 1940, Lafayette wished to be considered by oil and gas companies as a desirable location for South Louisiana’s expanding fossil fuel business. The Art Deco style of Lafayette’s city hall building was designed to project that progressive business image.