The UL District defines and supports UL, Lafayette and Acadiana.

There is a new part of Lafayette.

Over the past few years, there has been more and more discussion-- and occasionally, a bit of argument-- between the Lafayette Northside and Southside. Traditionally, the Lafayette Northside is a bit more blue collar, the Southside a bit more upper middle class. The Northside has a richer ethnic diversity with a very large African American influence, the Southside tends to be much "whiter," with a dash of professional internationals. There is a long list of other differences, perceived or real, between the Northside and the Southside. And certainly the anticipation of I-49 has some community leaders worried that the highway will only accentuate that division.

But that division leaves out something. More and more, the term "Southside" is understood to mean the area nearer the Acadiana Mall... leaving behind the older neighborhoods that were Lafayette's original Southside.

And more importantly, the area that is being left behind is now neither Southside, nor Northside. This "other" area is the one that comprises the University, the Downtown, the Oil Center, the Saints Streets, and the neighborhoods between UL and the railroad tracks (often called "Freetown", but actually a variety of historical neighborhoods & cultures, of which Freetown is one).

It is said, "If Lafayette is the Hub, UL is the Axle." The areas that surround UL on all sides contain Acadiana's leaders in medicine, law, education, business, government, culture, entertainment and the arts. At the same time, this area is extremely diverse, and tolerant.  It contains all classes, but largely ignores class distinctions; it is multiracial, but is generally disinterested in race; it is an area where personal value is defined by contribution and character, not income or even education. The UL District is cosmopolitan, eclectic, multi-cultural and international.

So along with UL, ultoday.com is going to call this third area of Lafayette The UL District. This is roughly the area defined by the railroad tracks, Pinhook, Bertrand/South College, and Congress Street, with nearby businesses, the UL Research Park, SLCC and the Lafayette Technical College added in.  Exactly what the UL District contains, how it works, and what it means, will be an ongoing discussion here, and is in fact, one of the reasons we are creating ultoday.com.

Anchoring the UL District, and the main stimulus for its diversity, is The University of Louisiana. UL is a rapidly emerging national university, which we will seek to publicize & promote. But it is imperative that we simultaneously examine and promote the UL District, because to really understand UL, and to really understand Lafayette, we need to look at the intellectual, cultural and economic watersheds that surround the University, and the powerful symbiosis that has grown between UL and its neighbors over the past century-plus years.

UL District image derived from Google Maps.