Acadiana Mall isn’t Dead, A Look Inside
Acadiana Mall opened to the public on March 28, 1979. It's been through the oil boom, the oil bust and recently, a pandemic. She's seen a lot, but she's not dead. It's time to head back!
A visit to Acadiana Mall a year ago left one thinking it might be the end of an era for once was an economic magnet for Lafayette. Today, the vibe is very different with much promise for the future. As malls around the country start to fade away, Acadiana Mall could have become a statistic but instead is showing a renewed energy.
The Christmas decorations are up, Christmas songs are playing overhead and stores appear to be ready for the Christmas rush.
Acadiana Mall is spotless inside. A walk through the mall is a very pleasant experience. The air is cool and refreshing. The stores are bright and stocked. It even smells nice. Aside from the absence of the Acadian brick floor, Acadiana Mall is an old friend that still wraps its arms around you.
You can still find old favorites, stores that are familiar and relevant.
Bath & Body Works
In 2015, Sears closed leaving the Sears wing somewhat deserted but not dead by any means. The old Sears wing still has Champs Sports, rue 21, Great American Cookies and more. A new anchor store and the old Sears wing would be as alive as ever.
Old Sears Wing of Acadiana Mall
The bad news is stores located near Macy's have also exited.
Vacant retail space (Macy's Wing)
Restaurants in the food court are also sparse.
Sure there are a few vacant retail spaces, but away from those areas, Acadiana Mall looks amazing and as populated as it did the day it opened. Not too bad post-pandemic!
Now, with total transparency, Acadiana Mall has areas that need attention.
Common Areas are Clean but Have No Retail Appeal
Light Fixtures are Modern but Many Aren't Working
Carpet in Macy's is in Horrible Condition
Maybe the biggest lackluster element about Acadiana Mall is that the outside is super unattractive. The mall is in need of fresh landscaping and landscaping maintenance, paint, repairs and a good cleaning.
Unattractive External areas of Acadiana Mall
Decades of gum stain the sidewalks, at night many of the light fixtures don't illuminate (including signs near surrounding roadways) and mold and mildew stains are abundant on the roof and walls.
The bottom line is, Acadiana Mall's exterior doesn't reflect what's inside. Acadiana Mall is still very nice inside. With a few changes both inside and outside, the once pride and joy of Acadiana could be back to its former glory. (It's not from it now.)
What would secure the life of Acadiana Mall for the next 25 years?
Acadiana Mall could secure its relevance and economic impact for the next quarter of a century if it became an indoor/outdoor mall. Acadiana Mall would be the perfect structure for the new wave of malls.
Imagine a mall with retail stores and restaurants with outdoor seating, sidewalks lined with beautiful landscaping and lighting perfect for a stroll after buying ice cream from an outdoor kiosk, areas to have an adult beverage or two with friends and a stage for outdoor entertainment. Acadiana Mall could be a tiny city within a city. Shopping, restaurants, bars, music, etc.
But for now, Acadiana Mall is still a major player in Lafayette's economy with great offerings. Enjoy her!