Just ask Geoff Daily.
“Growing up in Minnesota we had a great sense of community, but lacked culture,” says Daily, who directs the Lafayette General Health system’s philanthropic foundation. “Living in [Washington] D.C. for five years, we had plenty of culture, but not a lot of community. In Lafayette, we get both — a vibrant culture and an incredible community that has completely embraced us.”
In 2013, About.com readers embraced Lafayette’s annual Festival International de Louisiane, naming it the No. 1 world music festival. Said the site’s Megan Romer: “… Lafayette, Louisiana, holds this massive free celebration of international music and culture, with a francophone focus, and hundreds of thousands of their closest friends join them for the party.”
Acadiana’s world-renowned music scene spans large festivals, national touring acts, intimate clubs and lively Cajun dancehalls. The region’s outdoors pursuits — hunting, fishing, golf, birding and boating — are just as renowned along the Atchafalaya Basin waterway and the Gulf of Mexico coast.
Cajun people also prize education and work. High-performing public schools include a magnet-style approach of special-interest curricula, called Schools of Choice, and competitive private and parochial schools. The region’s quality of life attracts young professionals, who plug into the community through such organizations as “the705,” a civic group named for the first three digits of Lafayette ZIP codes.
Acadian life strikes a healthy balance between work and play, with residents who are passionate about a region that even motivates transplants to be vocal ambassadors.
Executive Director, Lafayette General Foundation
Originally from Minneapolis, Geoff Daily came to Lafayette via Washington, D.C., where he worked on broadband policy and assisted technology startups.
“Professionally, I was interested in improving health care through the use of fiber optics. In Lafayette, I saw a research university, strong leaders, a strong businesses community and people with the vision to do something big, combined with a real sense of partnership and care for each other to put issues aside and get it done. My goal is to transform our community into a living lab for healthcare innovation — a real-world test bed for the next generation of health care.”
Clinical Research Consultant, Vivo Research
Butch Roussel grew up in Hammond, about two hours east of Lafayette. After living in Washington, D.C., for two years and attending graduate school at Johns Hopkins University, he returned to Louisiana to pursue a research career in Acadiana.
“When I finished grad school, I wanted to move back to Louisiana, and it came down to New Orleans or Lafayette. Sure, I love the food, music, arts and festivals in Acadiana, but it’s the people here that make the region great. It’s a special place to them, and when they want to achieve something, the entire community bonds together to make sure that it happens. It’s because of this culture and mindset that we have such a great environment, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Intern Architect, Structure Design Group
A transfer led Liv Stevenson and her husband Chris to Lafayette from Denver. Liv works for an architectural firm and Chris has now been hired as a software developer in Lafayette for CGI Federal, one of the world’s leading providers of IT and business process services.
“Chris was transferred to Lafayette for a job that he has since left. Today, we could move anywhere, but why would we? The region is amazing. There are more community events, gatherings and things to do in Lafayette than any place we’ve been. From a career perspective, there are clearly opportunities for growth. CGI Federal provides a world of opportunities for Chris, and I’m confident that the region’s continued growth means more architectural jobs for me. I also have a contractor’s license and am interested in pursuing those opportunities.”