The Episcopal School of Acadiana was established in 1979, with Middle and Upper Schools for grades 6 through 12. ESA’s founders emphasized three main pillars: the best academic program in our geographic area; an institution drawing on the history and traditions of the Christian church; and a solid athletic program with intramural and varsity teams. In August of 1979, eleven teachers and 87 students met in the basement of the First Baptist Church in Lafayette, Louisiana.
In 1980, ESA moved to a new campus in Cade, Louisiana. The seventy-five acre (now one hundred acre) site donated by Mrs. Betty Smedes Jardine had once housed her family’s Oasis Plantation and Sugar Mill, and today the site still remains in the midst of a working sugarcane farm.
The early physical plant included the Old Chapel, which served as the school's Chapel until outgrown in the late 1990s. The building, restored in 2006, now serves as an art studio. The building known as the "barn,” which held classrooms for several years and now serves as the library, was also originally part of the plantation complex. Remnants of the old sugar mill which was destroyed by fire over 50 years ago still sit at the back of the campus.
In 2004, ESA opened a Lower School in Lafayette to serve grades PK3 through 5. Its program is founded on the Schoolwide Enrichment Model, a model developed by Joseph Renzulli of the University of Connecticut, a leader in the field of gifted education, and emphasizes independence, problem-solving, creative thinking and continued progress for every child in the program - priorities that are mirrored in the Middle and Upper Schools.
The Lafayette Campus is on the site of the former home of the LAFCO Boats Company. Clasrooms occupy the building closest to the Vermilion River, while the Enrichment Center at the front of campus houses the library, chapel space, music, art, science, technology, drama, the Learning Center, the Admissions Office and administrative offices.
ESA celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2009. As the school has grown, so have its standards and reputation for academic excellence. It has steadfastly maintained its strong record of college placement, sense of Christian community, Honor Code, and trusting relationship between teachers and students.