Lafayette (lä´fēĕt´, lăf´ēĕt´). 1 City (1990 pop. 23,501), Contra Costa co., NW Calif., a residential suburb in the San Francisco–Oakland area; settled 1848, inc. 1968. The city is a horse raising and agricultural trading center, especially for walnuts; there is also light manufacturing.
2 City (1990 pop. 43,764), seat of Tippecanoe co., W central Ind., on the Wabash River; inc. 1853. A manufacturing city in a grain, livestock, and dairy area, it has food processing and automobile assembly plants. Other products include building materials; electrical, transportation, and heating equipment; metal, paper, and rubber products; wire; chemicals; animal feeds; and pharmaceuticals. The nearby site of the battle of Tippecanoe (Nov., 1811) is a state memorial. Of interest is the rebuilt blockhouse of Fort Ouiatenon (1717).
3 City (1990 pop. 94,440), seat of Lafayette parish, S central La., on the Vermilion River (which is linked to the Intracoastal Waterway); settled 1770s by exiled Acadians, inc. 1836. Known as the hub of Cajun Country (see Acadia), it is a commercial, shipping, and medical center for an area producing sugarcane, rice, cotton, dairy cattle, livestock, and petroleum. Manufactures include apparel, jewelry, and building materials. The area's oil and natural gas boom contributed to a large population increase and an influx of new businesses to the city in the 1980s and 90s. The Heymann Oil Center is headquarters for several oil companies. Of interest are St. John's Cathedral (1916), a Carmelite monastery, a planetarium, natural history and children's museums, and the Cajun Dome stadium. The Univ. of Louisiana at Lafayette is there, and the city is the scene of an annual Mardi Gras and the Festival Acadiens. Evangeline Downs racetrack and casino and the Cypress Island Preserve are nearby.