For information on genealogical research, as well as archive forms and policies, please visit the page for the Office of Archives/Research and Information.
The Diocese of Lafayette was established in Louisiana in 1918 when several civil parishes (counties) of southwest Louisiana, between the Atchafalaya and Sabine Rivers, were carved from the Archdiocese of New Orleans to form a new diocese. At the time of its erection, statistics indicate that there were 48 church parishes in the area, with an overall Catholic populations of 152,000.
The history of the Catholic Church in southwest Louisiana began in the mid-1750s when settlers came from Spain, France, and Germany. Many were accompanied by priests to bring the sacraments and preach the word of God in the new land.
When England expelled the French colonists from eastern Canada, also in the middle of the 18th century, many of these came to south Louisiana where previous settlers had the same Frenc
guage and Catholic faith of the exiles.
The first church parishes in what is now the Diocese of Lafayette were St. Martinville, established 1756; St. Landry, 1776, and later Grand Coteau, 1819, and Vermilionville (now Laf
ayette) 1821. Until 1918, all
of southwest Louisiana then belonged to the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The Diocese of Northern Louisiana, first known as the Diocese of Natchitoches, was erected in 1853. It became the Alexandria diocese in 1910.
Current Statistics (10-1-11)
Church Parishes: 121
Catholic Population: 291,991
Catholic Families: 103,444