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 French language 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 Lafayette) 1821.
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.
In 1918, the civil parishes (counties) of southwest Louisiana carved from the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the new Diocese of Lafayette was formed. At the time of its erection, statistics indicated 48 church parishes with a Catholic population of 152,000.
Current Statistics (10-1-11)
- Church Parishes: 121
- Catholic Population: 304,921
- Catholic Families: 103,293