Lafayette preservation group plans downtown ‘history walk’

The Preservation Alliance of Lafayette, a group that works to preserve and showcase historic properties in the community, is planning a fundraiser that will include a downtown Lafayette “history walk” .

The Vintage Picnic in the Parc and History Walk on March 23 will combine a dining event in San Souci with a historic tour of downtown Lafayette buildings.

Guides will be stationed at some highlighted buildings to expound on the property’s history.

One of the buildings open during the tour is the Bishop’s House, located next to the Cathedral of St. John, a building not ordinarily open to the public.

Other buildings include Lafayette Hardware (circa 1890), Old City Hall (1898), the Poché Building (1920) and the Evangeline Hotel (1928), the latter a new property added to the Lafayette Historic Register in 2013.

The Alexandre Mouton House, built in 1810 as a Sunday home for the Mouton family traveling to church from their home in Carencro, will also be open for the tour.

When patriarch Jean Mouton donated land for a church, it began the establishment of Vermilionville, which later became the town of Lafayette.

This year’s Alliance fundraiser has a downtown focus because that’s where Lafayette’s history began, said Roxana Usner, director of the Preservation Alliance.

“We’re going to tell the early history of Lafayette because that’s where it all started,” Usner said.

Participants are encouraged to wear costumes. Awards will be given for best costume, best vintage bike and the best favorite historical character.

The event begins with two dining options, both beginning at noon in Parc San Souci in downtown Lafayette.

A four-course French Impression Dinner with Chef Brigitte Anderson will be served beneath a tent with wine pairings for $125 a ticket.

The Vintage Picnic will be a catered lunch with poboys by Olde Tyme Grocery and salads and sandwiches from Pamplona’s for $25 a ticket.

The price for the meals includes tickets to the history walk that follows at 2 p.m.

For those just wanting to enjoy the history walk, tickets are $5 and include a booklet that guides participants through downtown historic properties.

Participants may walk, drive or bike through downtown to follow the tour.

“It’s like ArtWalk,” Usner said, referring to the popular Saturday evening art gallery stroll. “You can start at your favorite building and go off on your own pace.”

Refreshments and special events will be offered at several properties, Usner added, including music, old fashioned tintype photo portraits and vintage games.

“It’ll be little nodes of fun along the walk,” she said.

This is the second year the Alliance had hosted the event, but this year they hope to reach more people and educate Lafayette residents about the need for historic preservation throughout the community.

“Today it’s such a green thing to do, especially with the younger set,” Usner said, adding that rehabilitating old properties is generally cheaper than new construction and promotes local history and culture.

“The more we reach out, the more people are interested,” she said. “Now more than ever people are interested.”

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Alliance and the Alexandre Mouton House/Lafayette Museum.

For tickets to the Vintage Picnic in the Parc and History Walk, or to join the Preservation of Alliance of Lafayette, visit the Alliance web site at www.Preservinglafayette.org or call (337) 291-8431.