MSA: Lafayette, LA
Best places ranking: #2 among midsize metro areas
Lafayette is the capital of French Louisiana and the heart of Cajun country. French Acadians -- Cajuns -- exiled from Nova Scotia settled here in the late 1700s.
From crawfish boils to jambalaya cook-offs, this small town turned restaurant-heavy urban center always makes time to celebrate, enjoy family and eat. In recent years, Hurricane Katrina evacuees have expanded the local population -- and that population has grown steadily wealthier. Lafayette's average per-capita income rose more than 40% over the course of this decade.
Since the 1940s, the area has been dominated by the oil and gas industry, but the population boom has led to more demand in service industries, diversifying the area’s economy and creating something new in town: traffic.
Compared to other Southern metro areas, the cost of labor is cheap in Lafayette. The city is served by a regional airport, and Louisiana’s second largest university, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, brings to town a student population of more than 17,000. -Sara Pepitone
Resources for getting started in Lafayette, LA
Local startup resources
Lafayette Business Statistics
"We launched Believe Entertainment in Lafayette to capitalize on its geographic positioning in the heart of Louisiana, its rich creative community and its technological savvy. " -Marcus Lyle Brown