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Community Agenda 2019

When consolidation creates a suburb without a city

How does Lafayette’s experiment with consolidation stack up with the successes and failures of other consolidated governments across the country?

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Population growth has slowed around Acadiana for the first time in years

The gist: Annual estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show across-the-board declines in growth speed, and shrinking populations, in and around Lafayette from 2016-2017.

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Lafayette is the biggest loser. The city lost 581 residents in the estimate. That’s not a horrendous bleed, but against the backdrop of rapid growth since 2010, the contraction is concerning. Lafayette’s population estimate is 126,848. It’s worth noting that these numbers aren’t confirmed and won’t be until the 2020 census is released. The numbers could be wrong in either direction.

Broussard, Youngsville and Carencro continued to add residents but at a slower pace. Youngsville’s overall growth since the 2010 census is an astronomical 65 percent. Broussard added 502 residents. Carencro added 192. Here is how the changes shake down:

Area Population (Est.) Change
Broussard 12,042 +502
Carencro 8,973 +192
Duson 1,780 -2
Lafayette 126,848 -581
Scott 8,768 -47
Youngsville 13,424 +479
Unincorporated Lafayette 70,650 +196
Lafayette Parish 242,485 -739
Lafayette MSA 491,558 -88

What it all means: Leafing through the figures, the inflection year appears to be 2015, just after the price of oil collapsed. Lafayette’s Metropolitan Statistical Area grew rapidly over the first half of this decade — in 2013 Acadia, Iberia and Vermilion parishes joined the existing Lafayette/St. Martin MSA — while many other MSAs across the country suffered in the wake of the mortgage crisis of 2008. The region’s economy was buoyed by a strong oil market.

However, as the most recent figures show, Lafayette’s MSA posted a small decline to 491,558. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a rounding error. But the overall trend remains troubling.

As noted in The Advertiser, this certainly fuels concern that the citizens of Lafayette could lose control over their self-determination. As more people move into other municipalities or unincorporated portions of the parish, Lafayette’s power on the City-Parish Council will diminish. This is information that will arm the #Lafayexit battle cry.

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How did Lafayette’s economy lose $10B of GDP?

Much of our GDP has been lost to an industry that seems unlikely to ever fully recover. And none of our industries are on pace to have the kind of billion-dollar growth our economy needs to get back on track.

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Closing UHC will open up a world of hurt on Lafayette’s economy It should be a non-starter. Not a bargaining chip.

If Lafayette loses UHC, our community will be sicker, poorer, weaker, and less able to dig our way out of the $10 billion economic hole we find ourselves in now.

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In defense of well-funded libraries An All-American call to arms

Critics have taken aim at the library’s reserves. But, as local governments look to stabilize budgets in times of economic flux, fund balances are key to long-term planning.

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Lafayette’s $10 billion economic problem

Lafayette needs to replace $10 billion in local GDP in the next five years or risk losing an entire generation of thinkers and doers.

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Marshal Pope’s defense strategy in jeopardy A U.S. district court ruling could ultimately hamper a key legal maneuver in the Lafayette city marshal's pending criminal trial.

A U.S. district court ruling could ultimately hamper a key legal strategy in Marshal Brian Pope’s pending criminal trial.

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Shelter from the storm Councilwoman Liz Hebert launches a program to cover Lafayette's bus stops.

Councilwoman Liz Webb Hebert is launching a public-private partnership, called “Adopt A Stop” to speed the process of covering the city’s bus stops.

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Will this Downtown venue fill the rock and roll gap? A new club takes a stab at restoring Lafayette's lost tour stop glory.

The Pearl, a planned venue affiliated with New Orleans music house One Eyed Jacks, will open Downtown this spring, the third stage announced or opened in the district in the last year.

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