Service Area - SMILE Community Action Agency
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Service Area

SMILE provides services in the tri-parish region of St. Martin, Iberia and Lafayette. The parishes are located in south central Louisiana, and are blessed with a unique culture that includes gumbo and jambalaya, zydeco and Cajun music, and festivals of every sort. The area is rich in traditions and values, and known across the globe for its spice of life.

St. Martin Parish, which is the home of Longfellow’s Evangeline, has an estimated 2017 population of 54,418 residents. The parish seat is St. Martinville. Other communities include Arnaudville, Breaux Bridge, Cade, Cecilia and Henderson. According to the St. Martin Parish Tourism Commission’s website, St. Martin Parish is “where you can find Cajun or Zydeco music playing every day, great Cajun & Creole food, bed & breakfasts, cabins, campgrounds, hotels and houseboat rentals.”

Iberia Parish, which has an estimated 74,243 residents, is the home of famed jazz musician Bunk Johnson and popular author James Lee Burke. Its parish seat is New Iberia. Other communities include Jeanerette, Loreauville, Lydia and Olivier. According to the Iberia Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website: “The mystical Bayou Teche runs parallel with the gorgeous Main Street where visitors can tour Shadows-on-the-Teche Plantation Home and Gardens, the Gulf South’s only National Trust for Historic Preservation property.”

And Lafayette Parish, which is the largest of the three parishes, has an estimated population of 246,187 residents. Its parish seat is Lafayette. Other communities include Broussard, Carencro, Duson, Ridge, Scott and Youngsville. According to the Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission’s website: “If you’re looking for a unique cultural experience, then Lafayette is where you want to be – real Cajun and Creole cooking – fresh and spicy; just an oyster throw from the bayou; festivals and celebrations – Mardi Gras to a Friday afternoon fais-do-do (street dance); historic antebellum homes; lush tropical gardens; dark and mysterious swamps; and, authentic folklife attractions. You’ll find it all in Lafayette.”

Yet despite the tourist attractions and the unique culture, the tri-parish region is also home to disadvantaged populations. According to the Kids Count 2017 Data Book, the percentages of children under age 18 who are living in poverty are 27 percent in St. Martin Parish, 29 percent in Iberia Parish, and 20 percent in Lafayette Parish. These children and their families are among those that SMILE reaches out to daily, and tries to make a difference in their lives by giving them “a helping hand.”

Smile Community Action