In another sure sign of spring on the horizon, azaleas are beginning to bud in Scenic Lafayette, Louisiana, beckoning locals and visitors alike to enjoy the town’s beauty along its Historic Azalea Trail. The storied flowers generally start blooming in March, usually reaching their glorious peak in the first two weeks of the month.
Lafayette’s Historic Azalea Trail began in the 1930s in the town’s Elmhurst Historic District, on “Million Dollar Road” as a beautification project. Local nurseries began sharing several varieties of the evergreen azaleas that are now so prevalent along the trail, adding to the popularity of the area. From whites and soft pinks to the flower-power fuchsia and lavender, the trail is a floral splendor each spring.
More than just a draw for fans of flowers, the Azalea Trail is deeply intertwined with the town’s history. In 1938, the Mayor declared the Lavender Southern Indica Azalea the town’s official flower, naming it “The General Lafayette” in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette. Honoring this tradition, each spring the town welcomes the annual blooms with a “Floral Mardi Gras” teeming with drives and bike rides.
Scenic America’s affiliate, Scenic Lafayette has taken the lead on extensive revitalization work on the trail in recent years, including the beautification of the Coolidge Boulevards in the Oil Center Cultural District, hosting plant giveaways in the garden districts, and beautifying historic properties as well. The garden neighborhoods along the trail have all embraced this beauty as well. New trail signs were installed last year to provide visual guides to those wanting to tour it. This urban core beautification effort has inspired restoration of historic properties, revitalization of residential yards and is once again a tourist attraction.
While this year’s blooms will no doubt inspire and delight, a real treat is in store for fans of the flower next year: The Louisiana Chapter of the Azalea Society of America is partnering with Azalea Trail to host the Azalea Society of America’s annual convention in Lafayette, LA, in March 2022.
Learn more about Lafayette’s Azalea Trail and this year’s expected bloom dates here.