A couple of recently uncovered photographs from around 1980 has ignited a wave of nostalgia across Lafayette news feeds, providing a rare glimpse into the early days of what is now the bustling Ambassador Caffery Parkway. The image, unearthed in the Lafayette memories Facebook group by local resident George Parker, has sparked conversations and shared memories among the community.

The photographs reveal a starkly different landscape along New Flanders Road, the former name of Ambassador Caffery Parkway. Where today one would find lanes of traffic and urban development, the photos display a serene and almost unrecognizable two-lane road, bordered by an abundance of trees and greenery. It's a Lafayette that few today would recognize, with vast swathes of concrete now dominating the area.


A notable landmark under construction, the Petroleum Tower at 3639 Ambassador Caffery Parkway, can be seen on the left side of one of the photographs. On the right, the marquee of a cinema adjacent to the Acadiana Mall peeks through, though the specific movies being advertised remain a blur. These details, coupled with the knowledge that the Petroleum Tower was built in 1980 and the mall in the late 70s, help to pinpoint the era of the photograph.


Adding to the historical ambiance is the visible ice on the ground, indicating that the photo was captured during winter.

Antoinette Lalonde's contribution of a current Google Maps image confirmed the location from the same vantage point, further solidified by Harold Muller, who merged past and present images for a direct comparison.

Harold Miller, Antoinette Lalonde, Lafayette Memories via Google Maps
Harold Miller, Antoinette Lalonde, Lafayette Memories via Google Maps

The captured stretch of Ambassador Caffery Parkway, between Johnston Street and Kaliste Saloom, facing Kaliste Saloom, has sparked pleasant memories from local residents. Comments on the Facebook post range from personal stories of navigating the icy roads during a storm, to reminiscences of the area's transformation from a rural path to a commercial artery.


One local recalls the Acadiana Mall's completion in 1979 and the early memories of the area's development. Others share tales of hunting and dirt bike riding in the now-developed woods, while some remember the road as "The Road to Nowhere" due to its once desolate nature. These personal accounts are like threads to the fabric of Lafayette's history, capturing a community's evolution from rural roots to urban expansion.

The sharing of this photograph and the stories that followed not only offer a snapshot of Lafayette's past but also provide perspective on the city's rapid growth and development. As Lafayette continues to flourish with development like Dave & Buster's and TopGolf nearing the end of construction in the immediate area surrounding Costco, these memories serve as a poignant reminder of the city's journey from the tranquil beginnings of Ambassador Caffery Parkway to the vibrant hub it is today.

Now, just imagine the same photo comparison in the next 40 years.

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Gallery Credit: Sarah Jones

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