Seven Local Hot Spots That Lafayette Residents Would Like to Bring Back
Nostalgia. It seems like the more things change, the more they stay the same. That can be applied to many things within Lafayette and Acadiana.
I grew up in the Hub City off and on since I was 7 and moved here permanently in 2010. I spent many birthdays at the Kart Ranch and too much of my dad's money at the Acadiana Mall. Many of these places cemented in my memory are still here but some are gone, but definitely not forgotten.
I asked Acadiana what places they missed the most in Lafayette (that wasn't a restaurant) -- many places I knew, some I didn't get to experience. Let's see what we can reminisce on.
The Keg (circa 2010 - 2012)
Oh, man. The Keg was a staple in many people's college lives. Yours, your parents, your siblings. The Keg was an infamous bar located a block away from UL's campus. This was a place you went to almost every night of the week. Many of my missed classes are attributed to this place. It was around for generations (my father was a DJ there in the 70s) and it provided endless memories to pass down and laugh about. Don't forget about the keg feet. Ew.
Graham Central Station
Graham Central was before my time. From what people have told me, this place was a food court of nightclubs — four types of nightclubs in one building. If you fancied country, techno, pop, or zydeco music...Graham was your place. I've been told some wild stories from these days, and it seems like this was the place to be on the weekends. I think this kind of place could definitely work in Lafayette now, but I might be too spastic to attend. I'd be running from club to club, manic, and losing all my friends.
Toys R Us
The best babysitting store in all of the land...Toys R Us. I remember going to this store many times in my childhood. Sometimes, my dad didn't want to take my brother and me. Other times, he wanted to go buy random board and card games and would let us run around while he shopped. We begged to go to this place when the video game consoles came out. They had the latest and coolest toys on the planet. I miss this place, even as an adult.
90s arcades were the cream of the crop. Aladdin's Castle, in my opinion, was the COOLEST arcade tiny me had ever seen. It was located in the mall, at the food court entrance, directly across from the old movie theater (another not forgotten place in Lafayette). If you wanted to shop at the mall and didn't want to hear your kids complain the whole time, you dropped them off at Aladdin's and told them to stay put until you were done and came back to get them. They had the best games too. Nothing beats a good arcade.
Discovery Zone (DZ)
This one is probably my most missed with the fondest memories. Discovery Zone was like walking into a room with a million dollars as a kid. The giant jungle gym, the slide with the steel rollers, the huge blocks for stairs. I remember having many of my birthday parties there, as well as my cousins' parties there. I remember it being yellow and blue in the party rooms and we ate hot dogs. I think they should definitely reopen something like this for adults, but with the same decorations.
Acadiana Mall Water Fountain
I don't necessarily remember the water fountain in the mall being that nice and big, but I could have little kid vision looking back on it. The first two videos in the video above showcase the Acadiana Mall in its' prime. The number of pennies I threw into that fountain...I could've paid for at least one semester of college with it. That was the spot to be if you were at the mall. You have to make a wish! They had tables surrounding the fountains to take a little breather from shopping or to eat.
Downtown Alive! (in the streets)
This is a throwback, but also completely attainable in today's times. Downtown Alive has been around forever, but it is now contained to Parc International or Parc Sans Souci. Back in the day, it was held in the streets of downtown Lafayette. It had more of a Festival International feel. I think this is a great idea to do it in the street, but move it down a block or two every weekend...that way downtown businesses can make money from the event with food and drink sales.
What do you miss in Lafayette that is no longer here? There are too many to count, but these are some of the more popular ones, including Lafayette Lanes. It's always nice to walk down memory lane, but some of these can easily come back and succeed. Regardless, these places are forever in our hearts. RIP.