The historic Main Campus area originally consisted of only 25 acres, and its boundaries were Johnston Street, University Avenue, what is now Hebrard Blvd and to approximately Lee Hall in the Quad. By the 1930s the campus had more than doubled in size, to 60 acres, reaching to the newly constructed St Mary Street to its south, and McKinley Street to its east. This area includes such buildings/areas as: Martin Hall (Admin building), Girard Hall, Stephens Memorial, the Arcade, the Quadrangle (the Quad), Rose Garden dormitories, Judice-Rickles Halls, and Cypress Lake. Also, the two oldest extant buildings on campus are located in this area: Foster Hall (1902) and DeClouet Hall (1905).
The Quadrangle (Quad), which was completely renovated in 2015 (providing new walkways, landscaping and a fountain containing a 15-foot Fleur de Lis in its center), serves as the ‘heart’ of the university. It is surrounded by Martin Hall/FG Mouton Hall, as well as Moody, OK Allen, Lee, Broussard, Stephens, Mouton, M. Doucet, and Foster Halls. Some of the highlights of the Quad are:Martin Hall: Originally called “the main building” was the first building constructed on campus, and was completed in September 1901. Now sometimes referred to as “Old” Martin Hall, it stood on campus until 1963, when it was demolished and replaced with the current “New” Martin Hall. It is where the university president and administrative staff for the university are located.The Arcade: A covered, brick walkway that both surrounds and defines the quad. Built in 1940, and consisting of 415 brick arches, the Arcade is an iconic and beloved feature of the campus. It also is where the “Walk of Honor” begins.Walk of Honor: This feature honors every one of the undergraduates of the university, from 1903 through 2016, with a paver engraved with their name and year of graduation. Originally contained in the Arcade only, it now extends to the sidewalks within the Quad, continuing outside the Quad along Boucher Ave, and then turning onto McKinley. Future plans are that it will eventually turn onto St. Mary, heading towards Boucher Street.The Fountain: Located in the center of the Quad is a circular fountain, with an aluminum, 15’ three-sided Fleur de Lis sculpture as its centerpiece. Designed by over 100 UL students over a five year period, the sculpture weighs over 3,000 pounds. Surrounded by benches it provides a popular gathering spot for students. Once the landscaping has fully matured, it is hoped that this will further give an oasis type feeling to the area.
Rose Garden Dormitory Complex
Located on the campus block bordered by Hebrard Blvd, University Ave and McKinley St, the original Rose Garden was surrounded Baker-Huger, Randolph, Evangeline, and Bonin Halls, which were all female only dormitories and designed by A. Hays Town and completed in 1950. In 2011 Baker-Huger, Evangeline and Bonin Halls were all demolished and were replaced with expanded/state of the art co-ed dormitories, now known as the Rose Garden complex.
Cypress Lake and Student Union Complex
Main article: Cypress Lake (Lafayette, Louisiana)Cypress Lake and Cypress Lake Plaza: One of the most beloved features on the campus, Cypress Lake is a university landmark that is also a habitat for native irises, alligators, turtles, birds and fish, as well as a hangout for students and a point of interest for tourists visiting Lafayette, Louisiana. Cypress Lake is casually called “The Swamp,” which is also the nickname of the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns football stadium, officially named Cajun Field. This ecosystem, located in the center of a university, it the only one of its kind in the United States. Many school traditions are held on/around the lake, especially during “Lagniappe Day.” Cypress Lake Plaza is a green space that was constructed in 2018-2019, following the removal of the former student union complex located along Hebrard Blvd. The new Plaza allows for more interaction between the students/faculty/alumni/public and Cypress Lake.Student Union Complex: At 128K sq feet and completed in 2015 the new “U” was built to wrap around Cypress Lake, and includes numerous meeting spaces for students, as well several dining options (including the main dining room located on the second floor with floor to ceiling windows offering sweeping views of the lake), SGA offices, a post office, banquet space and a movie theater (the “Bayou Bijou.”)